Ryan and the Technicolor Wardrobe
Short Stories and Essays

Sometimes, I’m glad that my best friend and I don’t share the same circle of friends.  While it occasionally causes his head to spin in his feeble attempts to keep track of who is who in my life when I share with him my adventures here in California, I still think it’s best that most of his friends have no idea who I am, and I have no idea who most of his friends are.  Perhaps, if his friends knew of my writing aspirations, they’d probably expect to hear a really great best man’s speech at Bruce’s wedding.  Instead, their expectations will probably be in line with those of most people at a wedding:  a hope that the speeches will be short and painless.

This will be my first best man’s speech, so I am in no way experienced at this.  While, some may expect this to be a relatively easy task for a writer, they don’t realize how different it is to write a speech opposed to a story, or an essay, or anything for that matter.  I might as well be writing in a 2nd language.  Sure, I’ve been to weddings before and I’ve seen other people give speeches, but most of them have been awful, and that is being rather generous.

I understand that nerves are often part of it, and that may excuse why one best man I know, accidentally muttered that the groom “settled” for his wife instead of “setting his sights” on her.  I’ve seen another best man make jokes in poor taste towards the bride, to the point where the bride’s family confronted him privately later during the reception.  I also experienced the longest best man’s speech in the history of the world, when a friend of mine decided to tell a story about the groom from his elementary school days, then his middle school days, then his high school days, then his college days, and then finally a story about when the groom started dating his bride to be.

These best men, all whom I know personally, are intelligent, creative, respectable men, so I don’t bring up their speeches just to ridicule them.  I look at them as potential warning signs.  Perhaps, their downfall could be attributed to some lofty expectations that they’ve set for themselves.  Not that I think any of these men were thinking that they could bring down the house with laughs, or that they could make the groom cry like a child, but perhaps they just flat out underestimated the intricacies of giving a speech, weighing every word, keeping it personal without making strangers feel excluded, and most importantly, keeping things short and organized.

I am happy to have a history of keeping my writings brief.  So brief, that in college, if a professor asked for a 5 page paper, they would get a 4 and a half page paper with a slightly larger than 12 point font, so brevity will not be an issue for me.  Organization, on the other hand, could be my downfall.  Typically, I know how a story is going to start.  Often times, I have no idea how a story is going to end. I’m know that it’s best to try to keep things focussed, because rambling and awkward pauses will probably doom me to the point of no return.

I’m trying to keep my expectations in check.  Yes, it’s a great honor to deliver a best man’s speech.  I want to knock this speech out of the park, but I know that I’m not the main attraction at this event and tt’s better to give a speech that barely registers on anyone’s radar, than to be the most memorable part of the reception.  While my best friend isn’t demanding, this is not the time to rest on my laurels and settle for giving it a good try.  I need to prepare for it professionally, as if this were for a job, not because I feel like I need to prove that I’m the right man for this, but because I want to do a good job for my friend.

I have no delusions of grandeur.  This speech will not be up there with the likes of The Gettysburg Address, but this speech will be one where I bear no regrets, and hopefully, especially in the internet age, it will not bear anything that is Youtube worthy.  I know there is a great amount of irony that I’m writing about writing the speech,  instead of actually writing it, but there’s a great amount of catharsis in one last disorganized writing binge before I buckle down and write the real thing.  Hopefully when I come back to this blog, this speech won’t be a story in itself.


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