I tried to write a couple of different types of speeches for my friend Stephen's wedding. I tried to rewrite John Galt’s Speech from Atlas Shrugged(again) to show how Objectivism could relate counter-intuitively into a marriage, but I’m not smart enough to do that. I tried to write a sappy love song to showcase my musical talents and songwriting skills, but I don’t have those skills either.
The pressure to live up to the speech/PowerPoint presentation that Stephen once did for me was building, so I decided to go with something that was within my wheelhouse.
I was standing outside a bar called In Cahoots on the night of March 8th, 2009 when I overheard a young couple talking. They seemed awkward enough that they were in an early courting phase, but also familiar with one another at the same time. Maybe they had known each other for a while, but were just now coming together in a romantic situation. The girl was much younger (and shorter) than the guy. He was a “fluffy” guy in his late twenties, who was wearing a white Wesley Willis t-shirt. The first thing I noticed is that only one of his armpits was sweating profusely, and his t-shirt showed proof that this was not a common occurrence. He had a full beard, but you could tell that his mustache did not fully connect to the rest of the beard, and that means his trustworthiness was up for discussion. The girl had a polished metal lip ring, and every time she smiled a quick glint would emanate from that side of her mouth. Not in a Frank Poncherello kind of way, but more like a visual representation of the figurative spark their fledgling relationship was creating. They seemed like a nice enough couple, and furthermore, they seemed to really be into one another. Pit stains, lip rings and all.
I was about to extinguish my cigarette and head inside to sing some karaoke, but then I overheard a sweet sentiment misunderstood. As I walked past them toward the entrance, I overheard Fluffy say, “Do you drink coffee?”
Lip Ring replied with a serious attitude, “Excuse me, what did you just say?
I wanted to stay outside to witness the rest of the altercation that was most certainly about to ensue. I tried to imagine how I could take my hand off of the door handle, retreat to my former position and light up another cigarette so I could hear what she thought he said, and also listen into his subsequent explanations and backpedaling. Would he be able to get a chance to explain? Would she believe him? What did she think he actually said? These would be questions that I could never get answered, because I had already opened the door and disappeared into the cloud of smoke that always greets you when you walk into In Cahoots (I hate that place, by the way).
I imagined what Lip Ring had thought she heard him say in lieu of the perfectly harmless line, and what action she took in accordance with that misheard information. Here is a list of the top three I came up with:
Fluffy: "Do you want to get on me?"
Lip Ring: "No, and I don’t think I ever will. Oh, and by the way, men who wear pit-stained t-shirts with a picture of a 350 pound paranoid schizophrenic dead musician on them are not exactly what I am in the market for."
Fluffy: "Did you join the Army?"
Lip Ring: "What kind of question is that? Do I look like I would join the Army? Do you think that the Army is looking for five-foot-nothing recruits to help fight the War on Terror from a lower atmospheric level?"
Fluffy: "Can you just step off me?"
Lip Ring: "I’m sorry, what did you just say? Are you trying to get street with me? Excuse me uber-Caucasian Methodist from Northwest Bradenton, I didn’t know I was steppin’ to you homey. Word up. Oh, for rizzle dizzle?"
Now, I guess there is a distinct possibility that none of the three previously stated interactions occurred. It is more likely that cooler heads prevailed, the comment was repeated, and the two of them ended up at Starbucks talking for a few hours later that evening. Hell, who knows, it is even possible that Fluffy and Lip Ring eventually started dating.
Maybe they had found that person who understands them even when they are misunderstood. It is possible that those two had found their match. You know, that certain someone who complimented the others flaws with their strengths, that motivates them to become a better person, or just supports them in their journey no matter where that might take them. Maybe even become that someone who could convince them to finally throw away that sweat-stained t-shirt or buy a couple of “big boy” collared shirts that didn’t come from his grandfather’s closet or a rack at Goodwill.
Furthermore, maybe they would one day get married, have a reception and listen to a long drawn out speech from some guy with an amazing mustache who really, really likes to hear himself talk.
Rock over London, rock on Chicago. Wheaties… The Breakfast of Champions.