Every so often I pick up an odd writing job or two, and one of the places I go looking for opportunities is Craig’s List. It’s always a sort of a hit-or-miss proposition, and some of the “opportunities” aren’t really all that appealing, but I have have made a little money.
The oddest sort of jobs offered are from the Left Behind type folks who don’t actually want to pay you, but expect you to work with them and reap the financial benefits of the finished product afterwards, Plus, of course, you must share the exact same beliefs of those seeking help.
About a month ago I happened upon the most fascinating offer I have ever seen on Craig’s List - a couple were looking for someone to “marry” them.” The ad stated that an “actor” might apply for the job if they liked.
It wasn’t writing, but it was intriguing enough (what kind of wedding was this?) that I determined to go for it. It sounded sort of fun, after all.
The only stipulation was that the person performing the “wedding” should be five feet, nine inches tall.
I answered back with the subject heading, “Well, I’m not five feet, nine.”
Luckily for me, there was a time factor involved. The person who was going to officiate had to pull out at the last minute, hence the Craig’s List ad.
After some email and phone conversations, the groom and I met for coffee and probably the best club sandwich in Northwest Arkansas at Fayetteville’s Gaylord’s restaurant.
Seems - despite all of my wild (and some of it was really wild) speculation, that the matter was entirely straightforward. They were already married while one of the partners was laid up in hospital, and this was just sort of an official/unofficial one so their friends could attend.
Did I have experience speaking before groups of people, he asked.
Well, a little, I admitted.
After we took each other’s measure, we decided it was a good fit, even though he was surprised I knew some of the music he had picked for the wedding. Boy, I must look really old sometimes!
We met that Friday evening for a run-through, and it went pretty well. He had a script he had written for me - no memorization, thank god - and we were all set for the next day.
That night, I realized I didn’t own a white dress shirt, so it off to the Northwest Arkansas Mall at the break of dawn, where I bought a shirt and new tie (and a new pair of shoes, what the hell) all within fifteen minutes.
In the meantime, I was practicing the wedding like a crazy backwoods preacher, on the bus, walking on the sidewalk, in the bathroom, and even marrying my dogs to each other a couple of times.
By the time of the wedding I was ready, baby. I could almost have done this in my sleep - some ominous foreshadowing here.
Before the wedding I spent some time talking to the VJ and learned a lot about his end of the wedding business, which is always interesting for me.
Both the bride and groom were in a state of extreme nervousness.
I, on the other hand, was as cool as a cucumber. After all, hadn’t I spoken in front of groups large and small for a couple of decades now? They were in good hands.
The time came for the groom and I to walk out and take our places before the folks gathered for the wedding.
We stood there and waited while his young daughter threw flowers along the path for his bride to walk along. And, finally, here she came, accompanied by her father. He kissed her on the cheek and she took her place next to her beloved, the man who had worked so hard on the script I was about to recite.
And then, for the first time in my life, I was struck with stage fright.
I opened my mouth and what came out was not only not was in the script, I’m not actually sure it was anything in the English language. I froze in terror, but the groom smiled and nodded his head and we picked up again.
And actually, except for my trip to the Bizarro World, the rest of the ceremony went off without a hitch. Though there was a part of me that expected a SWAT team to come bursting in when I uttered the lines. “By the power vested in me by the State of Arkansas . . .”
Later, he told me that his wife had appreciated it, because she was filled with fright, and it made her smile (snicker?) so all’s well that ends well.
Still and all, I will be forever grateful that they chose not to videotape their wedding, and that most, if not all, of their guests were from out of town.
So, anyone need a good eulogy?
Quote of the Day
The person who has had a bull by the tail once has learned 60 or 70 times as much as a person who hasn’t. - Mark Twain