A toast to my good health

Stop the Presses column by Chris Graham

“The question that I’ve been getting is, Is the best man still married? Or did his wife end up leaving him after that toast that he made?”

My best friend from college, Jay, got married last month – and given that he was my best friend, and more importantly, that I had forced him to serve as my best man six years ago now – he had me do the honors at the wedding.

Needless to say, I pretty much blundered my way through the experience.

“Do you have that bottle of water that you’ve been talking about?” he asked me as the family was being seated at the wedding.

Backstory: At my wedding in 2000, I was stricken at the worst possible moment with a case of dry throat.

“I could hear it coming, and I knew that there was nothing that I could do about it,” Jay told me later.

People at the wedding thought it was nice to see me get so emotional at the moment that I was about to repeat my vows – but it really wasn’t that at all.

I was struggling for air, and I had nothing to go on except the fact that eventually I was bound to recover, that or I would up and keel over right on the altar.

Fast forward to 2006, and I made mention of this several times in the weeks leading up to Jay’s big day – to no avail.

“No, man, I won’t need anything. I’ll be all right,” he insisted whenever I brought it up.

In the context of this, then, I assumed him to be kidding when he asked me for a bottle of water at his wedding.

“No, I was dying up there,” Jay said afterward.

Gulp.

So then comes time for me to make the first toast – the other main duty of the best man.

Being a writer and television and radio personality, I felt the pressure to do something memorable – so I worked on the toast for months leading up to the big day.

I settled on telling a story about how I was with Jay the day of his first day with his bride-to-be, and how it was great to see how things have worked out since.

As I made my way through this live and in front of 100 people, though, something occurred to me that will forever live in the annals of bad toasts.

“Jay is the luckiest man in the world to have Jen. Even luckier than me to have met my wife.”

It seemed innocuous in my little pea brain as the thought made its way from the tissue up top to the tip of my tongue.

The “oo-o-o-o-o-oh!” from the assemblage made me wonder I had pulled a George Costanza and cursed in the process.

And then I realized – I had insulted the missus. Or at least this was what people had assumed.

“So … Crystal hasn’t left you yet?” Jay asked me last week in our wedding-day debriefing.

“Well … actually …”

For the record, she’s still here by my side. And for the record, I’ve known for a while how Lou Gehrig felt when he made that speech at Yankee Stadium when he announced his retirement.

Like the luckiest man on the face of the earth, that is.

Yeah, I know. I’m still in the doghouse. As long as there’s fresh water …

 

Chris Graham’s Stop the Presses column appears on this blog on Tuesdays and Fridays. For more on Chris Graham’s humor columns and other fiction writing, visit www.authorchrisgraham.com.



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