Weddings IIII - Dignified Yeti

[Author's Note: the whole reason I posted the Wedding series again so soon (just ran it 14 months ago) was for this fourth installment. It's the story of the last wedding I went to (or will ever go to), for my friend Ajax. As some of you know, Ajax passed away May 22, and I planned this column to run right before I wrote about him. Obviously, I still haven't managed to put my feelings into words, but for the time being, here is the story of Ajax and Elsa's wedding (back in '03), and how my mere presence almost destroyed an entire town. Back when I wrote it there was some concern that my words would cause offense, but that was allayed when Ajax called me up after reading to proclaim that, "Whales smelling plankton made me choke I was laughing so hard!" I'd bet the house he's still laughing now. -Hyperion]

[Forward to last time I ran these columns, right before Bear got married.]

[I've been running these Wedding columns all week because my friend Bear is getting married on Saturday. (Why he is getting married during the Final Four is beyond me, but hey....)

I was talking to Bear last night about how his week is going. The Bear-ette has six sisters, but so far no real drama. I don't know her family at all, but based on my knowledge of women and weddings, I personally will be shocked if by week's end the seven of them haven't formed two rival gangs and shot up Seattle. This isn't any disrespect to the Bearette Clan, but simple Wedding Reality.

One thing about weddings that no one wants to admit is that women make weddings crazy. You see, the women who were married once want a re-do, and the women who aren't married get even crazier, because it's so close. In fact, years ago a friend told me there is a mathematical formula to understand women and weddings. It's called the WHOA THEOREM:


W = the number of women directly involved in either planning or being in the wedding

H = the % of those women who are unmarried or unhappily married, and thus likely to exhibit "ho-ish" behavior

O = the "OH MY GOD" ugliness factor of the bridesmaid dresses

A = the number of pounds the bride needs to lose to get her Ass in the wedding dress.

The math on this can be tough, but the bottom line: women are to weddings as dictators are to labor camps, the only difference being people in labor camps don't have to go the reception.

Just kidding!
Actually, I love weddings. In fact, I was in another one after yesterday's tale of Koz's wedding, and it makes up the fourth wedding column. As usual, my mere presence almost brought the apocalypse. Enjoy. - H.]

the Hyperion Chronicles
“The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills, but I take the cake”

#118 Weddings IIIB: Dignified Yeti

Hola, Readers. Thought I was done with Weddings, but then came this weekend. I tried to warn Ajax not to include me…

For those of you who don’t read Robert Jordan, Ta’veren is a term that means a person who affects chance around them. It’s not that things happen that could never happen, but maybe that would only happen once in a million years. That’s me: Ta’veren. Things happen to me and around me that just aren’t normal.

For Ajax and Elsa’s wedding, it started the night before, when I took my mother’s car to the rehearsal. Or rather, tried to take the car, as she had neglected to put any gasoline in the vehicle, prompting it to die in an intersection. I was unsure what to do, but I knew my father was waiting on me, and as he was officiating the wedding, he HAD to be there, so I negotiated the car over to a merge lane and set off towards the nearest phone.

About a mile down the road—through mud, grass, and uphill—I found a gas station, called my mother, told her to call my dad and where to come get me. Unfortunately, she had never driven the ’77 Chrysler New Yorker in the driveway, and she couldn’t get the vehicle into reverse (it is tough). Somehow she came upon the idea to put the emergency brake on, and then couldn’t get that off either. Eventually, I talked the wonderful people at the gas station into letting me borrow their gas can, and walked back through the mud and grass—uphill again—to the car, and finally home as I had missed rehearsal. I knew right then in my bones that Ajax should dis-invite me, but I said nothing. Big mistake.

Early Saturday morning it started snowing, a great April tradition, I’m told. No big deal up here, except it never stopped snowing, and it stuck; like well-cooked spaghetti to a wall. By the time my dad and I left for the wedding there was 6 feet of snow on the car.

We got there all right, but the building was on a hill, and we couldn’t get in the parking lot. After fooling around for 20 minutes, I left my dad to go down the hill and park while I went in. Poor Ajax was out in the parking lot shoveling snow so his guests could arrive. I thought if the groom could do that on his wedding day, so could I.

(in retrospect, Jill's frigidity was not really her fault.....)

Unfortunately, I neglected to notice that Ajax—brave as he was—also had jeans, boots, a hooded-parka, and gloves—not to mention clothes to change into—whereas I only had my attire for the wedding. About every 20 minutes I had to go inside to regroup. I guess with snow stuck to my prodigious hair and beard, I was quite the site, because each time I came in someone took my picture. I also developed a fan group who would yell “Yeti! Yeti!” whenever I approached. I’d have appreciated them more, but all I could think of was that these bastards were warm and not helping while Ajax and I were slowly dying.

I also noticed a few people outside under the eaves smoking. I know there is much argument about whether smoking is physically addictive, but seeing those morons out there proved they were either addicted, or brave and stupid. I would have tipped my hat to them but A) I had no hat, and B) my fingers wouldn’t bend.

I was also worried about my father, who hadn’t shown up yet. I imagined him dead in a snowdrift somewhere, and was just about to go look for him (If he was dead I could take his jacket, which had a hood), when he showed up, and thankfully I got his jacket once he was indoors. I remember after I finally went inside to start ushing (I was an usher) that I wished I had a dry tuxedo to put on like Ajax. Who would have thought I’d have missed my Tyrannosaurus Penguin days? I didn’t even have my colored rags to dry off: my mother had told me they would embarrass Ajax if I had them. So, I was a frozen Yeti, but a dignified one.

Ajax was pretty calm the whole time, but everyone else was panicking. I won’t even comment on the color of the bridesmaid dresses, but sweet sassy mollassy you’ve never seen such bitches. My theory is that the unmarried ones sense they are very close to getting married, so they get frenzied. My mother compares it to sharks smelling blood in the water (although if you’d seen some of them I think whales smelling plankton would be more appropriate).

Nothing went right. It wasn’t really anybody’s fault, but the blizzard meant people were late or couldn’t get there. This included the bride, who was still missing at 2:55 (for a 2:00 wedding). It turns out she was staying at the bottom of a hill, and they had to find a four-wheeler to get down and back up again.

That’s how the day went. First nobody could find the unity candles. Then the guy supposed to read the scripture suddenly didn’t have a bible or know his lines. Then the video guy didn’t show, and the new guy didn’t know where to set up. And on and on. Through all of this, my shirt, pants, shoes, socks, underwear, and hair were soaked, but since there was nothing I could do about that, I decided to do the best I could to make the wedding as nice as possible for my friends. I know: my stoicism is an inspiration to you all.

The videotaping was important because Ajax’s mother fell on the ice and dislocated her shoulder. The ambulance came and carted her off; I think she missed the whole thing. In retrospect, it’s probably good that Elsa wasn’t there for most of this too, because she would have flipped out, or killed her bridesmaids. I know Freddy—the other usher—and I considered it.

Eventually we got things under semi-control. The wedding was a flight up, which meant herding the milling crowd upstairs and then getting them seated without too many fights. At some point Freddy and I became bouncers. The bride arrived and the wedding finally started at 3:39 (I won the pool), and Elsa looked great. The bridesmaids…were there too, and we were rolling.

Some things are the same in all weddings. There was still a couple singing that sounded like a dying walrus. You can always tell when it’s family or close friends singing by the number of dogs in the neighborhood who join in (just kidding, Ajax and Koz: I loved all your singers). They sign the marriage license during the ceremony here, instead of later in back room, and I do like that better.

One glitch, though, was this moron couple whose cell phone kept going off. The first time the woman had one of those innocent “Who farted?” looks on her face. The cell phone is in your purse, lady. It rang four times before she could fish it out and hand it to her husband. After his call, I politely but firmly asked him to turn the phone off until the end of the ceremony. He looked abashed, apologized, and said he would.

But five minutes later it rang again. This time, perhaps emboldened by all the command decisions I had to make all day, I went up to the lady, and pulled it out of her hands, turned it off and told her she would get it after the wedding. I had endured snow, chaos, wet underwear, and bridesmaids on the warpath, and I’d be damned if some crazy guests were going to ruin Ajax and Elsa’s wedding now! (And if someone doesn’t give you a gift, now you know why.)

A few minutes later it was all over, and the wedding party walked out. Having done this a year before, Freddy and I decided to block the exit to give all of them a chance to get downstairs to have a minute to just take a deep breath. Then I let the stampeding crowd by, and my job was done. There was still the reception, but by that point all I wanted was a hot shower and some clean clothes, so my dad and I ducked out and we went home.

On the way home, I reflected on the day: the blizzard, the disasters, the wedding, and my impending double ear infection. I am glad that everyone made it. I hope this will make a great story for these two some day (like it already has for me). And through it all I’ve come to believe that marriage can be a beautiful thing.

But not weddings. They are an abomination from the Dark One. At least when I’m involved.

Still single, and vowing to hold my ground,

Hyperion the Dignified Yeti Tyrannosaurus Penguin
April 29, 2003

Thanks to Ajax and Elsa for keeping me in their wedding despite better judgment
Thanks to Koz for helping me crisp up the column

Elsa, I know you won't ever forget this crazy day.
Giant bear hugs to you and the boys.


Anonymous said...

what about after morning

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much Hype! Ajax I am sure is still laughing! Thanks for making me smile again.