LOS ANGELES – Mark Shambaugh has been dating his current girlfriend, Jill Stephenson, for two-and-a-half years now. They’ve never taken a break from being together, rarely fight and have numerous shared interests. Shambaugh can’t imagine spending the rest of his life with anyone else. The only thing preventing him from popping the question is the looming fear that the day he chooses to propose to Stephenson will be the same date as some horrific tragedy.
“I love Jill. She’s the light of my life,” Mark said. “But I couldn’t possibly imagine putting her through the turmoil of having to tell her friends and family that she got engaged the same day as a massive school shooting or terrorist attack.”
Mark has already bought the engagement ring and is waiting patiently for a day when something heartbreakingly devastating will not overshadow the momentous occasion.
“There was one day I got close and was ready to drop down on one knee while we were at a romantic restaurant,” he said. “But then we both got notifications on our phones that a tsunami hit India and killed 800 people. So obviously, I had to rush to the waiter to tell him to hold off on the champagne.”
It’s not just the engagement date that has Mark worried, either.
“Even if the proposal goes flawlessly, there’s still the wedding date we would have to decide on,” he said. “And you have to plan that out like a year in advance. With the global political climate becoming increasingly volatile, it would be like winning the lottery if we picked a date where some atrocity against humanity didn’t occur. And don’t even get me started on our future kids’ birthdays.”
The lack of a proposal has not been lost on Jill. “I guess he’s just afraid of commitment or something,” she said when reached for comment. “I really don’t know why he hasn’t proposed yet. There was one day he took me to Disneyland, and I thought he was finally going to ask me to marry him. I love Disneyland, but he hates amusement parks, so I figured he must have had something special planned. But he never did anything.”
“Probably for the best, anyway. It was the same day a 6.9 magnitude earthquake hit Japan.”