"What is a wedding? Webster's dictionary defines a wedding as 'the process of removing weeds from one's garden.'" -- Homer Simpson
So, my friends Kyle and Carrie got married. As a tribute, since Kyle is basically the Listmaster General with all of the bloody top 10s, 15s, 20s, etc. on his blog, here's LISTAMANIA XI: Wedding Edition. In no particular order, here's a rundown of C & K's big day.
1. The ceremony. The wedding was held at FireRock golf club in London, with the actual service taking place outdoors. Sadly, my idea to have the entire thing take place on a fleet of golf carts driving around the course was shouted down. I still think that's a great idea. Perhaps Hal Sutton can use it after his next divorce. Anyway, everyone looked dapper in their finest attire....well, not the 'finest' in my case. I realized to my horror on the night before the ceremony that I had left most of my prime dress clothes in Toronto since I had attended a business-themed birthday party the week prior. Some might ask why I don't own more than one set of really nice clothes, and the answer to that is SHUT UP THAT'S WHY. However, I was able to cobble together a nice ensemble of jacket-shirt-shoes-pants, including finding a pair of pants in my closet that I have no recollection whatsoever of buying. Isn't that nice? To find pants? Anyway (this is my second anyway already, pull it together Mark), the ceremony was lovely, what with C&K reciting their vows, some lovely poetry recitations and a truly glorious day as the backdrop. The horn of a passing train provided some levity, and yet not enough levity to break my streak of tearing up at every single wedding I've ever attended. Dang, I'm a softie. Fortunately, my manly tears were hidden behind my ridiculous sunglasses, which were about a 0.7 on the Bono scale of sunglass obsequiousness.
2. Jacko on his backo. I once mentioned my friend Misha's son Jack in a post a few months back. Young Jack is now 17 months old, which makes me feel old as hell. He served as the ring bearer in the ceremony and spent the rest of the evening displaying his odd tendency to lie down flat on his back at a moment's notice. It was odd --- Jack would be running around the room and then he'd just stop and hit the ground. I was going to ask Misha and Jess why he does this, but then I remembered Radiohead's "Just" video. If they told me, I might have to lie down too.
3. The movie theme. In a manner befitting two people who have seen more movies than Richard Roeper and Zombie Siskel combined, C&K gave each table a movie title as its theme. One was the 'Vertigo' table, for example. Another was a 'Back to the Future' table. There wasn't apparently any rhyme nor reason to the themes, other than they were some of C&K's favorite films. It's not like everyone at the Vertigo table was a dangerous obsessive or anything. I ended up at the 'Hoosiers' table, which was a little ironic given that --- deep breath --- I've never actually seen Hoosiers before. I feel like I have, given how often Bill Simmons mentions it in his columns, but yeah, I've remained blissfully ignorant about the true story of Coach Dale, Jimmy Chitwood and whatever Dennis Hopper's drunken character's name is. I'm just glad I didn't end up at the 40-Year-Old Virgin table. That would've been a real insult to lay on a single guy at a wedding. There would've been violence. Oh, speaking of violence....
4. No slaps. Longtime blog readers will remember Kyle as the guy I lost the slap bet to, and I was a little worried that Slap #2 (Slap #1 took place months ago) might take place at the wedding. Now, in the original slap bet agreement, there was a clause that neither of us could slap the other at the other's wedding, just to avoid any ruination of a special day. However, it occurred to me that there was never any discussion about whether or not the GROOM would deliver a slap on the wedding day. Frankly, a slap might be the perfect end to a perfect day. My worries were compounded by the personal notes that C&K left at each guest's table place, since mine (written by Kyle) actually warned that I should be on the lookout for a slap. Thankfully, nothing happened, so my cheek remained handprint-free for the course of the evening. I chalk this up to two factors. One, given the number of people at the wedding, Kyle probably didn't feel like answering the "Why did you slap that poor man?" question a hundred times. Two, Carrie is the slap bet commissioner, and thus she sure as hell had veto power any of Kyle's slap proposals on her wedding day.
5. The table. Back to the aforementioned 'Hoosiers' table, heretofore known as the Chitwood Seven. We were the only table of seven at the wedding, due to the fact that it was three couples and (raises hand) one sad loser who went stag. It was quite a good group, comprised of the Expat himself, his girlfriend, local London tennis celebrity John Hatch and his wife, C&K's friend Rob who was also teaching in Korea when C&K met, so that's sort of like going to Bonnie & Clyde's funeral and sitting in the pew over from the owner of the first gas station they robbed (what a horrible analogy), and Rob's fiancee Liz, who was actually excited to see my name since she remembered it from the school paper during her undergrad days at Western. And Mark's small ego grew three sizes that day! Just kidding, my ego is hardly small.
6. Gifts. Now, C&K, since I'm sure you're reading this, you can clear this up for me --- the table marked 'gifts' was for gifts, right? This sounds like an incredibly dumb question, especially in print, but I placed my present down the table when I first arrived, then 20 minutes later was back in the front room and mine was still the only bag there, in spite of the large number of people who had shown up. About 20 minutes later I looked again, and still no other gifts. I was freaking out. The next time I checked, my bag was gone. Hopefully there isn't some vagrant on Oxbow Road currently relieving himself in the tumbler glasses I bought you. (Oh, spoiler alert, I ended up getting the tumbler glasses. Gift registries are fun!)
7. The compilation CD. In an effort to outshine every single wedding from now until the end of time, C&K provided each guest with a mix CD of classic wedding songs and tunes that had a personal meaning to the two of them. It was quite a mix, with everything from Imogen Heap and Sheryl Crow to Journey and Flight Of The Conchords. I was personally mentioned in the liner notes because Kyle anticipated my objection to including the Counting Crows' cover of "Atlantic City" over the Bruce Springsteen original. To quote Peter Frampton after the inflatable pig flew away, you're damn right I'm going to be pissed off! Nothing the Crows could ever do could top Bruce Springsteen. The Crowd were nominated for an Oscar? Oh, that's nice, the Boss WON one. Suck it. Oh wait, what's that? Courteney Cox was in your 'Long December' video? Big deal, she was Dancing in the Dark over a decade beforehand. Adam Duritz may think he has the upper hand because he dated her, but let's be honest --- you know the Boss got himself a piece. C'mon, biggest rock star in the world, good-looking chick in his video, that's a no-brainer.
8. Irish people. Carrie is from Ireland, and thus approximately half the population of Waterford traveled to London for the ceremony. I had the pleasure of meeting several of her friends and family at Kyle's bachelor party, where we all played poker and --- in spite of the fact that several of the Irishmen claimed to be beginners at the game --- a few of them ended up in the money. I was proud of myself for never once saying, "Oh, you're from Ireland? U2 are my favorite band!" This might be the best time to interject a crazy theory. Hear me out, but it's possible that C&K are actually my biological parents. You see, I'm half-Ukrainian (just like Kyle), and if you go back far enough on my mother's side of the family, I'm Irish (like Carrie). Ergo, I'm Iranian....no, wait....Ukrish? Anyway, through some warp in the space-time continuum, C&K's future son may somehow end up transported back in time, whereupon that child would grow up to be me. Does this make any sense, or am I watching too much Lost?
9. The dancing kid. The dancing portion of the wedding was not spoiled, but certainly annoying interrupted by not one, but two blown fuses when the sound system overloaded the circuit. Things were saved, however, by the presence of a young lad named Max (I believe he was one of the Irish) who proceeded to dance literally from start to finish to every song that came on the PA system. His mother said, according to some bystanders, that she had never seen him dance before. She was then seen placing a collect call to Juilliard.
10. Misha's speech. Everyone, it should be noted, delivered a nice and moving speech --- Carrie's maid of honor, her friend Katie who was Kyle's roommate in Korea and thus the one who introduced the couple, both sets of parents, Kyle's brother Taylor, C&K themselves, Jim Valvano, etc. But the capper had to be the best man speech delivered by Misha. Now, for those of you who don't know the Meesh, he is one of the legit funniest people walking the face of the earth. He and Kyle together are a comedy duo on par with Lemmon & Matthau at their finest, except with more f-bombs. Misha's speech steered clear of any of the big swears, but it was still full of wonderful anecdotes.
My favorite, which I will paraphrase here, involved how Misha first knew that Kyle would be a lawyer. The two of them were on a hockey trip at age twelve, and the team wanted to watch Basic Instinct on the hotel's pay-per-view channel. Kyle and Misha were given the task of trying to talk the parents into allowing this. Kyle told Misha to let him do the talking, and then proceeded to deliver an oration that was part Atticus Finch, part Ben Matlock, part young Michael Bluth ("You're a crook, Captain Hook!") and part Peter Griffin questioning the ghost that never lies. Kyle brought up the fact that he had been allowed to watch Silence of the Lambs two years earlier, and time had proven that he and Misha were capable of watching an adult film without any after-effects, so by denying Basic Instinct, the parents would be admitting that their children had somehow grown less mature, and thus subtly hinted that they had failed as parents. Kyle left by giving the parents a 45-minute window to make their decision before the next airing took place, and when Misha worriedly noted that they had left without actually getting an answer, Kyle said (in Misha's words, "with as much arrogance as anyone has ever said anything,") that the only thing they had to worry about was in which room they'd watch the movie. And sure enough, that night the hockey team watched Basic Instinct.
The moral of the story is, if that guy who decapitated that other guy on the bus in Manitoba needs a lawyer, he should give Kyle a call. If Kyle can convince a roomful of parents that a group of 12-year-old boys should get a look at Sharon Stone's vagina, surely he could....well, maybe not, that decapitation case is pretty fucked up. Anyway, Misha's speech was quite spectacular and without fear of hyperbole, I can say that it made JFK's "Ask not what your country..." speech sound like a hobo coughing.
(And, once again, Kyle, your best man speech at Misha's wedding as hilarious in its own right. Maybe the problem was just in the delivery. I told you doing the whole thing in a mock Italian accent was a poor idea. What a mistake-a to make-a!)
11. The food. Oh my lord, the food. I had a piece of meat the size of a manila envelope. It was glorious. And, C&K even planned ahead for later in the evening when everyone was drunk. What's better food for the buzzed than KFC chicken and pizza from my old workplace, Byron Pizza? Forget about my ego, I think my belt notches grew three sizes that day.
I seem to have hit my limit of 11 items in this 11th Listamania entry, so let me conclude with a bit of actual seriousness into this otherwise hilarious (your opinion may differ) post. The best part of the evening was seeing an old friend and a new friend celebrate their love. If there was a common theme in everyone's speech it was amazement at just how perfect C&K are for each other. I admit, when I first heard that Kyle had gotten engaged while off in Seoul, I was a bit surprised and didn't know quite what to expect. After meeting Carrie, however, my focus then turned to making sure she knew what she was getting into. ("You know about the video games, right? And that visor? That's not just a Korea thing, he wears them everywhere!"). They might not be the perfect couple, given Carrie's propensity for wanting to leave no-hitters early and Kyle's irrational love of the Michigan Wolverines, but they're pretty close to perfect. Congratulations on a great wedding and here's to a lifetime of happiness.
(Addendum: you may have noticed my several links to Kyle's blog in this post. That's because Kyle himself mentioned his blog no less than three different times during he and Carrie's speech. Such flagrant self-promotion hasn't been seen since the days of P.T. Barnum. That may also explain the banner hanging over the doorway reading Kyle & Carrie's Wedding Presented By Blogger.)