Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Wedding Tales

Just discovered a great blog through someone who left a comment on this site. This blog is done by Sheila O’Malley. Reading some of her entries had me laughing out loud in my office. There was one on being a bridesmaid that reminded me of my own experience as a best man. I’ve only been a best man once and it was now nearly 12 years ago, for my oldest and best pal in the world, Rick, and his wife Tami.

Brian, another of the groomsmen, and I arrive together at her parents’ house the day before the wedding for the rehearsal dinner, and we are unfortunately the first to arrive. Being the first to arrive means getting the exclusive attention of Tami’s father. Tami’s father is, quite simply, the world’s most boring man. Stunningly boring. The kind of man who actually reads the instructions that come with a toaster oven or other common appliance and then drops snippets of what he has learned from them into conversation – we’re talking a whole new level of dull. So we arrive, exchange pleasantries with the family, and settle down at the kitchen table with a drink to await the arrival of the rest of the wedding party. We made the mistake of not leaving ourselves a quick exit and her father pounced on the fact that we were essentially cornered to tell us the entire history of his backyard. They’ve lived in this home for several decades, you see, and every lawn tells a story. Those shrubs weren’t always there, you know, there used to be a large oak tree there, but the roots were damaging the basement walls so they removed them back in 1984, but his wife thought it looked too empty, so he moved a few things around and decided on this particular type of shrub because it doesn’t require a lot of sunlight and that other tree over there, see, it blocks the light and….. We were saved when the doorbell rang and a few more people arrived, at which point we quickly got up from the table and spread out a bit so he couldn’t corner both of us at the same time. The new people arrived and Tami’s mother poured them some iced tea. They took our place at the table – oh foolish people! Her father proceeded to have the exact same conversation with these new people – word for word, inflection for inflection, hand gesture for hand gesture. Now repeat this scene with each new group that arrives, over the next hour – it was like Groundhog Day, only the cycle began anew every 10 minutes.

We get through the rehearsal and the dinner with relative ease. This was a Catholic wedding and the priest was fairly laid back and hip. Spent some of the dinner talking theology with him and he’s not even too taken aback by my heretical opinions. One amusing part of a Catholic wedding is when they have the couple turn to the audience and ask the audience to extend their arm and open hand toward the couple. This is apparently some way of blessing the couple, but frankly it resembles a nazi salute.

At some point during the after-dinner chit chat, Rick pulls me aside and says, “You know, this is going to be a serious enough event as it is, so when you do your toast at the reception, make it funny, lighten things up a bit.” Okay, no problem. I can do that. I’d just finished 4 years on the road as a stand up comic – I’ve got wedding jokes. A half hour or so later, as all the groomsmen were getting ready to go back to the hotel for the night, Tami corners me. In a tone of voice reminiscent of Joan Crawford in Mommy Dearest she says, “Ed, if you don’t take your toast seriously – I’ll kill you.” And I think that should tell you all you need to know about how their marriage is today.