Sunday, July 6, 2008

Wedding Wonderland

The day of Carl and Bonnie's wedding, all of the guys (me, Carl, Ted, Bart and John) went to breakfast at the Hampton Diner. By the way, if you're naming a Chinese restaurant, do not call it Ho Ho. Please. This must be the fifth Ho Ho. I guess nobody told the owner that the name Ho Ho is too suggestive or silly for Americans. Anyway, that's probably why most Chinese restaurants have Golden, Dragon, Moon, Palace or Pagoda in their names. It's a workable theory, anyway...

In 1995, Carl introduced me to the Illuminatus trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson, and I became hooked on goofy conspiracy theories and governmental coverups as plot devices in fiction. So on the day of his wedding, Carl gives me an eye-in-the-pyramid Illuminati lapel pin to wear when I'm doing the reading. Carl also wore an Illuminati pin on his vest under his tuxedo jacket. Little subliminal details like this really matter. Fnord.

Onto the ceremony itself. A very tasteful wedding ceremony in a historic Episcopal Church in Newton. The reading went off without a hitch. They gave me the non-pornographic part of the Song of Solomon to read - you know, the part that doesn't compare breasts to baby deer. I think the Song of Solomon is more poetic and beautiful than 1 Corinthians 13.

"Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If you were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned."

Powerful and lyrical stuff, that Song of Solomon.

Incidentally, Carl and Bonnie wed on X-Day (July 5), a holiday celebrated by the Church of the SubGenius. Praise Bob!

After the wedding ceremony, everyone went to the reception, held at the Farmstead Golf and Country Club in Lafayette. One of the most quizzical things I've experienced is why wedding photographers act like the paparazzi. Unless they're hopping a flight to Buenos Aires, the newly-married couple aren't going anywhere. So why do wedding photographers feel they should outflank loved ones and friends who want to snap a few shots? I had to crouch down to get pictures of Carl and Bonnie by the gazebo because the two wedding photographers positioned themselves in such a way that it made a straightforward shot impossible. I'm trying to shoot a photo of my friends at their wedding. Yeah, thanks for stepping in my shot, Ansel Adams.

Besides making off-color jokes about sex and seeing how many canapes one can shove in their mouths, the wedding reception is a time to catch up with old friends. I hadn't seen both Ted or Bart in nearly nine years. Ted, Bart, Russell and I are all Carl's friends. We would hang out together, swap work stories and discuss science fiction and other subjects too devious or diabolical to mention here. Everyone had a chance to update each other at the reception.

I'm not a dancer. Correction: I'm not a good dancer. Last year I went to these big band dances and attempted to do the tango, Charleston and other dances people haven't done since 1955, but only ended up embarrassing myself on the dance floor. That's why I don't really dance. I watch other people dance, then I make mental notes on how they moved, them promptly forget and awkwardly trip myself. So I don't dance at weddings.
Another thing I don't do is drink. It would seem peculiar that a journalist doesn't drink. After all, aren't the best sotting drunks in the world journalists? Wasn't H.L. Mencken soused every time he furiously wrote a column? Wasn't Ambrose Bierce tipsy when he penned his war correspondence? Weren't Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein totally shitfaced when they met Deep Throat in that parking garage? For me, alcohol isn't a big priority. I guess I'd like to remember most conversations after I have them.

Carl introduces me as "the journalist."
"Remember when I told you I have a friend who's a journalist?" he asks one of his friends as he introduces me. "Well, this is him."
The person I shake hands with is usually impressed for about six nanoseconds and then heads away towards the open bar.
The problem about being a reporter in America today is that those who can't read hate you and those who are literate hate you more after they read you. It's really a double-edged sword: working for no money but your name is always in the paper and you receive special access the public doesn't get. I'd like to see some quality in reporting lately. I'd like to rescue the profession from its cable TV crushing doldrums and inspire a new generation of writers to not sell out or be mediocre. To use their brains and to do good. To forge out of raw words the stories that not only inform, but change people's perceptions for the better.

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