[Originally written 2005; originally posted here as a rerun last year.]
This Saturday night I sat stupefied by that question.
You see, I couldn't drink myself to death, because I had to drive home. And clearly I couldn't live any longer. Because the wedding singer had just belted out the Titanic song like Ethyl Merman with a cattle prod up her ass, and just when I dared hope, just when it seemed that it was over, she started belting it out again. In fucking Farsi. Because it was a Persian wedding. So every she she sang, say, "Say You'll Love Me" from Phantom of the Opera, she had to repeat the whole thing in another fucking language.
So I was about to kill myself with the fork. Or at least stab it into my leg to distract myself. But there were four fucking forks at the place setting. I couldn't figure out which one to use. And I didn't want to embarass myself.
It wasn't always like this.
I found myself at this Persian wedding in a damned hot resort town because of Ex Parte. My Ex Parte client, the most litigious motherfucker on the face of the planet, was throwing a wedding for his cousin. This man does not do things small. This man does not do things medium.
This man does things with more cowbell. If this man throws a wedding for a family member, it is essential that he invite every business associate — including people he has sued, or will imminently be suing — and spend a not-small fortune on it.
That's how I found myself at an outdoor midafternoon black tie wedding in California in August. I was wearing my rented tux. I had seriously considered the cumberbund, which is as close to a girdle as I can get without people snickering. But fortunately I had gotten a vest instead, which conceals for about another seven minutes that you have sweated through your ruffled shirt like Albert Brooks in that scene from Broadcast News.
The midafternoon August California black tie wedding, as I have just pointed out, was outdoors, on an unshaded slope overlooking the sea. There were some roses. All of them, I think. Roses on the seats. Roses on the trellises that arched over the aisle. Roses climbing up the side of the gazebo. And an amount I believe horticulturalists refer to as a huge motherfucking shitload pile of roses on the top of the gazebo.
The wedding itself, which started after we had waited in our tuxes in midafternoon in August in California in the direct sun for approximately 45 minutes, was relatively short. There was a nice part when they released two doves to commemorate departed family and friends. The bride and groom each released one. That seemed nice and not over the top. Then the minister says "now they will release the rest," and I looked over to the left and there were three big cages. These are not cages from which you expect to release doves. These are cages from which you expect to release the hounds. Many, many hounds.
They opened the cages and doves boiled forth, doves beyond counting, doves beyond caring, their fell wings making a mighty flapping like a great ship's sail in a storm. This was a Hitchcock of doves. They whitened the sky and headed for the sea. How beautiful, I thought, they are banking to the right. Then they banked more. And more. And more. Now they were heading back for us again. Straight at us. The ladies raised their pink parasols — thoughtfully provided to female guests — a little higher, and gentlemen squared their tuxedoed shoulders grimly, like soldiers marching gamely to battle against an opponent likely to shit on them.
The doves cirlcled overhead three times. I don't know why. Why do huge flocks of birds do such things? Magnetic forces? Issues to work out? I know not. I only know that by the grace of God, a grace noticably absent during the entire chain of events that resulted in my attending a sociopathic client's counsin's black tie midafternoon August outdoor wedding in the first place, I was not beshitted.
The wedding ended. The bride and groom were borne away in a 18th-century horse-drawn carriage, complete with driver and footmen in eighteenth-century costumes — white wigs, brocaded jackets, tri-cornered hats. I was not sure of the Persian connection.
The resort transported us in stretch golf carts to the reception area, about half a mile away. There were open bars and passed appetizers. For approximately two hours. I wanted to drink, but could not, because I had to drive home and because I was surrounded by clients, people I had sued, and people that I would be suing as soon as this week.
They opened the banquet hall at about 530 after the 2:00 wedding. The banquet hall was hung with chandeliers made of roses. It had a large Persian-themed band. It had a hill – no, a mountain — a mountain range — of shrimp, each the size of Uma Thurman's thumb. It had 60 tables with triple-layered floral centerpieces taller than dbt. And everything was a shade of violet. Because all of the lights had been replaced or covered with violet, so the entire place took on a purplish hue, as if Barney had a opium den or harem or something.
Then began the one-hour wait for the first course. I drank some. An apple martini — a chick drink, but they were pushing them and the red wine looked somehow too menacing under the violet light. The appetizer. A one-hour wait until the salad. The salad. The one-hour wait until the main course.
I had the filet mignon for the main course. It was delicious. But it was lavender. I don't expect my cuts of meat to be lavender, unless I am in a prison camp and have traded my last cigarrettes for a piece of meat someone has stolen from the slowest guard dog.
Throughout this process the singer was belting out songs as bad as the Titanic song in English then Farsi. My seatmate to my right was getting steadily drunker and more talkative about everthing wrong with his life. My seatmate to my left, the septagenurian wife of another client, dressed in what appeared to be a full Victorian mourning dress, was getting steadily drunker and slobering on me and kissing my hand. The other people at the table were people I had sued, or anticipated suing.
Hence the question about which fork.
I carried the drunk guy on my right — actually a very decent chap, in the wrong place mentally to be a wedding this week — back to his room and forced him to drink a liter of water. I danced aside like Astaire when he puked into an immaculately cultivated flower bed, avoiding the splatter on my shoes.
When I returned, about two hours after the main course, there was no sign of the cake being cut. My client was screaming at the ice sculpture guy. Fearing he was grab me and make me go EX PARTE on him, I dodged into the ballroom. People were pounding drinks and dancing to the Farsi repeat of "I will survive." I felt the pounding, the pounding, the pounding, behind my right eye, and raised my hands gently to my face to make sure that the lavender shade the world had taken on was not blood streaming from my brow. (No.)
I waited until my client had calmed down, made my apologies, and returned to the valet to retrieve my car for the two hour ride home.
The valet had fucked up my radio presets to some station of the damned.
The first song that came on was the Titanic song.
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