June 28th, 2009



My friend Kelley is a Bad Advice Columnist for the local paper. People write in with their questions and problems, and he gives them bad advice. I'm not sure I approve of his vocation, but we've been friends since high school and I figure it's not exactly my place.

"I feel kind of uncomfortable with it too," he's told me several times over the years, "but sometimes people just really badly want some bad advice."

Anyway, I went to his wedding this weekend. His bride Maryana (well, now his wife) is a mysterious international jewel thief. Again, I'm not so sure I approve, but he's my friend and I want him to be happy.

The wedding started out wonderful. The ceremony was beautiful, the reception had a lively string jazz trio, there were stolen precious gemstones everywhere as party favors and decorations, and the country club was just lovely. It was one of those fancy overpriced weddings. Say what you will, but they both looked so happy!

You know that wedding tradition where the guests clink their forks against their wine glasses with increasing intensity until the bride and groom kiss, much to the applause of their celebrating friends and family?

Well, Kelley and Maryana didn't know it. We started clinking glasses and they didn't notice for a while, distracted by the month of June and the swelling in their hearts. Then they looked around, confused, and wondering why. Eventually they clinked their glasses as well, and when that didn't work, they quietly asked us to stop and we couldn't hear them.

We kept it up, clinking in a rising crescendo of expectation. At first we were all excited, then insistent, and finally bitter and resentful. We kept banging the stupid wine glasses. Our wrists were tired and our ears hurt but nobody was willing to back down. Even when someone stopped, someone else would pick up the pace. We had invested too much and didn't want to admit failure and so we kept stubbornly banging, even breaking a few wine glasses.

We kept it up for a little over an hour, until finally we gave up. The bride and groom were horrified and puzzled. The guests left with awkward apologies, crunching across broken glass. We never did get to eat the wonderful dinner they had presumably made.

Congratulations, Kelley and Maryana! Sorry for ruining your wedding. I wish we knew how to stop.