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Musing on the Runaway Bride

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Musing on the Runaway Bride

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Musing on the Runaway Bride

Musing on the Runaway Bride

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New York author and performance artist Mike Daisey comments on Jennifer Wilbanks, the so-called "runaway bride", who staged her disappearance shortly before her wedding in Georgia. Wilbanks initially claimed to have been kidnapped, but actually had cold feet.

ALEX CHADWICK, host:

This is DAY TO DAY from NPR News. I'm Alex Chadwick.

The so-called runaway bride, Jennifer Wilbanks, has apologized now for her disappearing act in the days before her wedding, the massive search near her Georgia home and the nationwide media coverage last weekend. In a written statement yesterday, Jennifer said she had `issues which seemed out of control' and that she `couldn't explain fully what happened.' Writer Mike Daisey has seen this happen a few times and has his own explanation.

MIKE DAISEY reporting:

Jennifer Wilbanks is the story of the week. Even the Greek waiter at my diner in Brooklyn--even he has an opinion. He points down at her picture in the paper and says, `What? She couldn't say no?'

Jennifer is the runaway bride. I'm sure you've heard by now. She escaped a 600-person guest list, eight bridal showers and a lifetime of commitment for Las Vegas. And who hasn't considered doing that at one time or another? And this would be a very old story and not even worthy of comment except for the fact that she pretended she'd been kidnapped.

And now, I've known a couple of runaway brides in my time, and I'll tell you, the story is always the same. There's always some sort of crazy loss of control. Christy(ph), my oldest friend, she had an elaborate wedding ceremony planned. I mean, they'd been working on this thing for a year, a year and a half. And one week out she's talking with her caterers--she has a team of caterers--and they're talking about the pussy willow centerpieces and how they have to be just so. And it's right then, she says, that she just snapped. She got up, she went--got in her car and started driving. And she ended up calling off the wedding from a Denny's just over the state line.

Lisa. Lisa's body revolted at her wedding. Yeah, the wedding week was wearing on, and in every event she got sicker and sicker and no one knew what it was. Does she have a stomach virus? Is it the shellfish? No one knows. She's always sick. And as the wedding day gets closer, realized, oh, my God, she's too sick to get married. How can you be too sick to get married? But she is. She's throwing up. She's not going to be able to get married. And so they delay the wedding. And when she has a chance to think about it, she realizes, `Oh, my God. I don't want to get married. I don't want to get married.' And as soon as she has that realization and calls it off, her stomach has been rock-solid ever since.

I don't know what there is in this for us all to take away, but perhaps it's just a cautionary tale that when you're reinventing your life, you're taking some enormous and ridiculous leap. Lie if you must, but try not to commit any felonies along the way.

CHADWICK: Mike Daisey is a writer and performer in New York City.

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