I recently had to give a best man speech at a wedding. Believing that anything worth doing is worth going overboard, it was longer than the actual ceremony. I was also really nervous which is strange for me, but I think it only manifested itself in shaky hands. Despite that, it was fairly well received so I thought I’d share it with the world so that all may bask in my ability to speak words from paper. It’s like 1500 words so I’ll put it below the fold. A quick note, the stuff in parenthesis were not spoken but I added them in because it will makes more sense to the reader who doesn’t have the benefit of seeing my awesome acting ability. It starts:
Good evening ladies and gentlemen. I’ll try to keep this short because I’m at Revolution Brewery and this speech is keeping me away from beer. And speaking of which, Sarah and Jeremy, best wedding venue ever. I like to say Sarah and Jeremy as opposed to Jeremy and Sarah because, in this relationship, it’s the only opportunity that Sarah gets to come first. Kids, be sure to ask your parents why that’s funny later.
For those that don’t know me, my name is Jean-Paul Girod and I have the distinct-ish pleasure of being Jeremy’s best man. I like to think that Jeremy chose me because of our undying friendship which has helped us each survive the trials and tribulations of life, but the reality is our lives are pretty darned easy. No, Jeremy chose me because I am single, anal retentive, and I had ample time to plan a bachelor party. So plan a bachelor party I did! The nominal theme of the bachelor party was “Things Less Stupid Than Getting Married”. So, of course, we went to Vegas. Now, everyone is familiar with the phrase “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” and the assumption behind it is that you do and see things so morally unacceptable that you swear to never tell anyone about it ever. In my experience, the opposite is true. Most people who go to Vegas have so embarrassingly normal of a time that they hide behind “What happens in Vegas” to cover for the fact that they are incapable of living up to the motto. Take us for instance.
Day one. We’re gathered for the first meal and the waitress asks us what we have planned for the bachelor party and the first words out of our friend Jack’s mouth are “We’re going to see Penn and Teller on Saturday” and the waitress snorts in laughter and walks away. This is why we don’t allow Jack to talk to women.
The weekend also featured some fantastically dorky activities such as Jim collecting as many of those “companion” trading cards that they hand out along the strip and all of us trying create a Magic: The Gathering type card game out of them. “I will play Candy and use her nipple star attack which does two damage and causes Brittany to lose her thighs of steel power for one round.”
In keeping with the “Things Less Stupid Than Getting Married” theme, we did get the opportunity to jump off of a perfectly good building which is admittedly pretty epic. Well, except for Jason who actually pulled the “wife” card. “Uhhhh” I can’t imitate Jason very well. His voice is so deep it’s perilously close to the brown note. “Uhhh, my wife would kill me if I died jumping off a building. And they, uhhhhh, won’t tell me that the jump is 100% safe so I, uhhh, won’t be jumping.”
So yeah, we’re all pretty lame. In fact, there is only one tale to tell that even comes close to true “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” style. Pause to admire Jeremy’s deer in headlights look. Oh, that was a stage direction, I wasn’t supposed to read it. On the very last day, as we gathered our things to skulk off to the airport in the early morning hours, we left two women passed out in our hotel rooms. True story. Of course, they were part of the bachelor party and they were just sleeping in until they had to leave for San Diego, but shhhhhh. In fact, one of them, Amy is here with us today. The other, Ha, is not, but she asked me to share some words with the rest of the bachelor party group and what better time than in the middle of a best man speech?
While I might have spent most of my time ignoring all of you, the truth is I love you all. You really made me feel so comfortable during this trip, made me feel accepted exactly as I was with all my water-hating quirks, and I was so honored to be included in a bachelor party (I don’t think that’s going to happen to me again in my life — thank you thank you thank you)! I hope you will give Jeremy and Chris and Jason and Jack and Jim and Joel a kiss on the cheek for me during the wedding, or at least read this message aloud in a very high-pitched voice.
Obviously, I went the high-pitched voice route, but if any of you guys want your kiss, come see me later. I would also like to echo Ha’s sentiments and say that I, too, love you all…for your disposable income.
And now for something completely different.
Once upon a time there was a dog. In many ways, he was your perfectly average dog, a mutt really, with one noticeable exception. His very loud bark. “Ruff ruff ruff woof ruff woof woof ruff” he would often say, startling those around him. Even more disconcerting was his penchant for peppering his speech with quite vulgar “Grrs.” “Ruff grr ruff woof grr grr grr woof ruff” he would exclaim as mothers around him covered their children’s ears.
For the sake of this story, let’s call the dog…Jeremy. Despite Jeremy’s very limited vocabulary of adjectives and a few other quirks of personality, Jeremy was a very good dog. Though he would always be loath to ever admit it. Jeremy spent most of his time running with his pack, doing many of the normal things packs do together, play volleyball, drink, play Dungeons and Dragons, drink, create elaborate dinners for other packs, drink, and of course ogle cats. “Woof WOOF woof” (How YOU doin’), Jeremy would say to no cat whatsoever because when it came to courting he was as smooth as a cat’s tongue. Still, the cats liked him. He had a quick wit and a great sense of humor and was just generally fun to be around.
Now, Jeremy liked cats as much as the next dog, but what really gave this dog a bone were Siamese cats. One might even call it an unhealthy obsession. So it should come as no surprise to anyone that one day, Jeremy met this beautiful Siamese cat through a mutual dog named Chris. “Woof woof ruff woof grr woof ruff woof ruff”, Jeremy said, telling the worst joke ever. “Meow meow meow” (spoken with a laughing lilt), replied the Siamese laughing at said joke for some incomprehensible reason. Needless to say, Sarah, for that was the cat’s name, and Jeremy hit things off very quickly.
That isn’t to say that their relationship was always wine and roses. For instance, Sarah soon discovered that Jeremy had the annoying habit of singing the same song “Woof woof woof ruff ruff woof woof woof.” (We’re up all night to get lucky.) Over “Woof woof woof ruff ruff woof woof woof.” And over “Woof woof woof ruff ruff woof woof woof.” And over “Woof woof woof ruff ruff woof woof woof.” Until she really wanted to hit him with a rolled up newspaper. “Meow meow meow! Meow!” (Bad Jeremy! Bad!)
Jeremy also really seemed to enjoy barking at cars for the minorest of traffic infractions. “Woof grr grr grr grr grr ruff grr grr woof.” “Meow meow meow.” (Oh, Jeremy) So, yeah, Jeremy took some getting used to. But Sarah discovered that behind his, ahem, rough exterior beat a heart of gold and that Jeremy was the most loyal of dogs. Plus, she could always ignore him and take one of her legendary thirteen hour naps. For Jeremy’s part, he realized that he had found in Sarah that unique mix of intelligence, beauty, and willingness to put up with him that he wouldn’t likely find in anyone else. Jeremy also found that Sarah had changed him in subtle ways. Something that Jeremy swore no cat nor dog would ever do. For instance, Jeremy now made a concerted effort to minimize his “Grrs” around children. This was indeed love. So when Jeremy finally popped the question, “Woof woof ruff ruff woof?” (Will you marry me?), Sarah said “Meow” (Yes).
Thus ends chapter one of the tale of Sarah the cat and Jeremy the dog. Sarah and Jeremy, I now pass the story on to you and all of us here will be more than happy to help you make the memories to continue it.
And now, finally for the toast. A quick disclaimer first: None of you have any idea how difficult it is to craft a toast that combines that perfect mesh of sentimentality and incipient violence that Sarah and Jeremy respectively expect. I hope I have succeeded.
Sarah. Jeremy. May you blaze a path of wanton destruction across this all too deserving Earth. May the entire multiverse tremble at the sheer power of your world swallowing love. As you cut through your enemies like cord wood, always remember to keep your friends close by your side because they make really good shields when the knives come out. And in your journeys together both physical and emotional, may you discover all the things under heaven and earth never dreamt of in your philosophies. Prost!