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I keep trying to picture what it would be like if I were the intended recipient of one of those very public — often called “romantic” — proposals of marriage. You know the ones I mean: the “Will You Marry Me, [insert name here]?” that shows up on the jumbotron at a major sports event or pulled along by a small airplane at an airshow or, most recently, on the bow of a P.E.I.-bound ferry.

I can hear myself, upon noticing a sign that says, “Will you marry me, Sharon?”, saying, “Thank God” — as emphatically as I can possibly say it — “Thank God that message isn’t intended for me!”

And then, I turn around and see the proposer, possibly on one knee, and I say . . . nah, forget it. You’re better to say nothing, at that point.

Of course, somehow, if the proposal is directed at me, it has to be turned down. Does that ever happen? We only hear about the ones where the bride-to-be says an ecstatic “yes” and the groom-to-be fishes a ring out of his pocket and they live happily ever after.

Or for all we know, maybe the proposee is just being kind when she accepts the public proposal. Maybe it’s a different story once they’re in private, alone together.

As for me, I’d say, “Not a chance, honey.” It’s my essential crankiness. I’d be glad though that I caught a glimpse of this side of his personality before the wedding and not after.

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