Up in Aspen for Labor Day, I realized that it had been nearly a year since I was almost killed by a 70-year-old man.
It was the wedding of one of my best friends. He's asked that I don't use his real name or the real name of his now wife out of fear that when she reads this, it will be the final nail in the coffin of our friendship because, like she almost did nearly a year ago, she'll forbid him from ever speaking to me again. So, I'll refer to them as Neff Lass and Molie Borsen Lass (not their real names).
On with the story...Neff is a journalist. He used to pal around with Hunter S. Thompson and his crew. We got along due to our shared appreciation for irreverent writing. He's also a short Jew like me. We would drink a lot together. Molie is wonderful woman, befitting of a man like Neff. Unfortunately, she comes from a family of fundamental Christians.
Neff and Molie had a small ceremony in Woody Creek, right outside of Aspen. I was honored just to be invited. Then, Neff asked me to prepare a speech. Now, as a seasoned raconteur and a lover of hearing my own voice, I'm always up for giving a speech. However, I don't prepare anything. So, I decided I'd wing it.
The ceremony was performed by a whiskey distiller. As you can imagine, the liquor flowed bountifully. By the time it was my turn to speak, I was two sheets to the wind (not quite three sheets, but getting there). Given Neff's pedigree, I knew my speech had to be insightful and sentimental, while also witty and a bit profane. I'm not quite sure all the guests had the same interpretation of those characteristics as I did, especially not Molie's 70-year-old father.
Holding my glass, I stumbled toward the podium. My bow tie hung from around my neck like Jerry Lewis's during the last few hours of the MDA Telethon. Channeling Lenny Bruce, I began by polarizing the crowd. I welcomed the token Asian, Black, and Mexican, who I conjectured were only invited to display Neff and Molie's liberal and accepting ways. I proceeded to point out the obvious differences between Jews and fundamental Christians and the difficulties that a mixed marriage poses.
Then, I commemorated Neff's former life by referring to him as a recovering cocksman (a little known term meaning one who's skilled at giving women pleasure with his penis) and regaling the crowd with a tale involving Neff, 4 hits of mescaline, a trout, and a developmentally disabled young lady. I was just getting started!
I discussed how much taller Molie is than Neff and referred to Neff as lilliputian and microscopic. I said he's like a normal person, only smaller. I asked if Molie was worried that, if they had a child, it would be mistaken for a monkey. I questioned Molie's fertility. I asked how they would raise a family on a writer's salary. I pointed out the large gap between their ages and estimated the length of time Molie would be widowed after Neff died.
I returned to the Jew thing again, this time with holocaust references. I praised Obama. I cursed Jesus Christ. And I drove it all home with a joke about a certain sex act that's illegal in some states. Then, I said, "Mazel Tov!" A few of the drunken guests applauded. Most everybody else just sat there uncomfortably stirring.
The speeches were over and I went to pay my respects to the family. Neff's mother and father, fellow Jews, gave me a hug and said they had expected a speech like this from one of Neff's friends and, actually, they found it pretty funny. I soon learned that Molie's parents didn't share the same sentiments.
Molie's father was nearby. I assumed he'd want to compliment me on my eloquence and mastery of the English language. So, I walked over with a big smile. He wasn't smiling. His wife was beside him sobbing. I offered the old man my hand to shake. He wasn't having it. In fact, I soon realized that two of the guests were holding him back from attacking me.
Now, this was a big man. He was wearing a bolo tie. Everyone knows you don't fuck with a guy wearing a bolo tie. Yes, he was 70-years-old, but he was tough as hell. And, I've had my ass kicked by women much older and much frailer than him. So, I was scared.
Soon, the old guy broke free. He had a look of murder in his eyes. As he leapt at me, all hell broke lose. The groomsmen stepped in, then the maid of honor and the ring bearer and Molie's 100-year-old grandmother. It was pandemonium. The madness in the room just egged on the patron of the family, my new nemesis. He took a champagne bottle and slammed it on the table, gangsta-style. Now, he had a lethal weapon. Would this be the end for our silver-tongued anti-hero?
Somehow, I knocked the bottle out the old man's hand, tossed wedding rice in his eyes, and pushed my way through the crowd with the rolling cake table. Then, I slyly escaped through the service entrance and ended up unscathed at a nearby bar. I was bummed because I wanted to catch the bouquet. No such luck, not even a shot. At the bar, I wondered whether or not I gave the right speech. I concluded that I did. Weddings are usually uneventful and forgettable. I singlehandedly made this one more than memorable.
Yes, Neff's new father-in-law later told him that he wasn't fit to be married to his daughter because he has a friend like me. But, discord with in-laws is inevitable. And in the end, the old man was wrong. Despite me, Neff and Molie stayed married. And, Neff and I remain friends. Molie's even pregnant. That Neff - he's still a cocksman after all!