Sunday, January 20, 2008
Rehearsal Dinner Toast
Place: Atlanta, GA
The following is the toast I gave for Jessica at our rehearsal dinner. I labored on it for weeks after a number of false starts. Though the speech was about Jessica, I had her read everything I wrote and make suggestions and revisions.
Jessica warned me I might have to say something nice about her. There are many nice things I can say about her, but deciding which one to share with you was a real challenge. I settled on this story.
First, I must warn you that there is nudity in this story. It's not a dirty story. But if we can all accept that fact that Jessica and I are both over 21 and have seen each other without clothes on, then there shouldn't be a problem.
It was a rainy Monday morning. Jessica was facing a really bad day at work. She was tense. She was upset. She was not happy. She had just gotten out of the shower when the toilet stopped up. This happens often.
We keep the toilet plunger just inside the basement door. Wearing only a towel around her waist, Jessica flung open the basement door, grabbed the plunger, then stood outside our bedroom door. She was dripping wet from her shower, and had tears welling up in her eyes, when she proceeded to explain to me why the universe was out to get her.
Now, I make my living writing humor. I understand that humor is tragedy that happens to somebody else. For Jessica, this was tragedy. For me, watching a half naked women waving a plunger and complaining about the injustice of life- this was humor. So I started to laugh.
At that moment, my worldview shifted from humor to tragedy. She glared at me and cried, "Why are you laughing? What the hell is so damn funny to make you laugh?" And then she took the plunger and threw it as hard as she could...down into the basement.
It took me forever to find that plunger, but considering where she wanted to put it, I didn't mind the search.
Once the tragedy passed and the toilet was running again, we had a good laugh. Jessica laughed at herself for throwing the plunger so hard and I laughed at myself for being stupid enough to laugh at her at that particular moment. Most important, we laughed together.
So tomorrow when Jessica is walking down the aisle in her beautiful gown holding her lovely bouquet, imagine for a moment that she's wearing only a towel around her waist and holding a plunger and know that that's the woman I love and want to spend the rest of my life with. To Jessica.
The toast was a big hit, but then I was playing to the home crowd. The next day at the wedding, people were still talking about the story. In fact, two of my father’s friends thought the story was so funny, that they went into the men’s room and found a plunger to shake at Jessica.