The Undying Topic

Dear Al,

What about groomsmen? You make us sound like jerks. What’s our role?

Signed,

Overlooked and Peevish

Dear Overlooked:

Groomsmen* are the executive officers, the grizzled sergeants, and the ground-pounding grunts to the Best Man’s general. They raise objections to existing plans, propose alternatives, and brainstorm new ideas — until the decision is made by the Best Man. Then the groomsmen are obliged to put a sock in it and execute.

True groomsmen** fit into one of two categories: Nuke or Crash.

Nukes have not previously assumed full duties involved in Standing Up in a wedding. They are apt to be eager to please, fired up to participate, and enthusiastic about the rituals involved. Pros: They are honored to be handed small duties, they are eager to please, and their excitement is infectious. Cons: They can get overexcited, some of them are too young to drink lawfully, and they draw a sharp contrast to the older, fatter groomsmen. Nukes are a critical part of the team, but they require guidance.

A Crash has been a best man, and has the scarred wisdom to prove it. The Crash does not view being a groomsman as a demotion, but as an opportunity to teach. It is his obligation to pass on what he knows not only by word, but by example. He buys the first round, reminds the kids that you have to tip if you sit at the rail, and teaches them the art of greasing a bouncer/hostess/cop. Pros: They’ve been here before, and are good at anticipating need. Cons: They tend to have more in the way of obligations and distractions than Nukes. First time Best Men should lean on these veterans the way a fresh-faced lieutenant leans on his sergeant: One is unquestionably in charge, but a quiet suggestion from the subordinate should not be lightly disregarded.

And when in doubt, apply the groomsman’s maxim: “I am the Best Man’s Best Man.”

Anybody else have questions?

Al

* Despite the terminology used, “groomsmen” do not need to be male. Team Groom should be chosen on merit. Period.

** There is a third category, Faux-groomsmen, composed of either groomsmen of the family-obligated, Class C cousin sort, or those groomsmen too young to fulfill their duties but too important to give a lesser role. (For the latter, a Crash may serve as a regent for the non-ceremonial portions of the role.)

More Advice

More in yesterday’s vein later today, but it has come to my attention that I need to put the brakes on one notion early:

Dear Al,

Was your blog entry directed solely at me, and is it thinly-veiled criticism?

Dear Al,

You’re not talking about me, are you?

Dear Guys:

No. This was a public service. I wouldn’t call anyone out publicly on something of this nature. That would violate the code.

(More on the sempai/kohai dynamic among groomsmen later.)

Al

At Ease

Dear Al:

I have the honor of being the best man at my buddy’s wedding soon. I’ve never been a best man before, and I want to do it right. What are my duties and responsibilities?

-Rooting For Vegas

Dear Rooting:

Miss Manners has a long, insightful list of things the best man is expected to do. That list, like all wedding literature, is written for girls, and bears no real relationship to the actual responsibilities of a best man. Here’s the real list:

1) You are the goddamn GOLD STANDARD for groomsmen. Your boy is marrying a woman. He doesn’t need any shit from the guys. You are the enforcer. You should be the first one measured for your tux, and make sure the others get it done in a timely fashion. You should have your reply card turned around in the blink of an eye, and make sure the others get it done in a timely fashion. You are responsible for keeping their asses in line when it comes to things like tuxedo pickup, church arrival, and generally making sure they are seeing what needs doing before anybody else does.

This is not the time to make friends, General, this is the time to kick ass and keep the unit running right. If they have had your role before, they will understand. If they haven’t, and they don’t, they will, and they will.

2) You are responsible for the bachelor party. This means, first and foremost, that it is your job to figure out what the groom really wants for the blowout. Not what he says he wants, because he has to have plausible deniability, bride-wise. The normal rules don’t apply to bachelor parties, either. Your pal might normally be afraid to talk to a woman wearing shorts, but still want Cristal and Vixen to walk into the party wearing big gift bows. He might be a guy who runs ten miles a day and eats nothing but wheatgrass juice and granola bars; don’t assume he’ll be annoyed when you show up with a box of Cohibas. The normal rules don’t apply to bachelor parties. Everything is on the table.

3) On the big day, you are responsible for transporting the groom around. Contrary to popular belief, it is not your responsibility to “get him to the church on time” unless he has repeatedly stated that that is where he wants to go. If he turns to you in the limo on the way to the ceremony and says “Get me the fuck out of here, man”, he’s going to have the same clarity of thought as a bolted rabbit. This is your moment, and this is why you’re here. Your personal feelings are TOTALLY FUCKING IRRELEVANT. I don’t care if he’s marrying your GODDAMN BELOVED BABY SISTER, he chose you as his second for this exact moment, and you are his eyes, brain, and hands right here and now. He put his future in your hands. That’s a sacred trust. Don’t let him down. If he doesn’t mean it, if he’s just got the heebie-jeebies, talk him down — but if he does mean it, you better have cash in your wallet and an escape route in your head, because you’re running his life for the next few hours while his brain wraps itself around reality, and the hunt for him is gonna be intense.

4) If he does go through with it, you have some simple but crucial duties surrounding the ceremony:

a) You need to have a flask with *his* drop in it on your person. He’s gonna need it before you take The Walk.
b) Make the man laugh before the Show, so’s he doesn’t look like Rodney Dangerfield in all the pictures.
c) It’s important to break the tension. You have two choices when the ring is called for: You can do the Oh-My-God Pocket Pat, or you can do the Dime Drop and Roll. Either one should be carried out just long enough to make him think you’re not joking. (And fun is fun, but if there’s a ring-bearer, you goddamn better have a second ring on your person lest the rugrat lose it. Have a blade to cut it free of the pillow, too, just in case.)
d) The person who starts the clapping after the new Mr. & Mrs. are introduced is you. The longer you wait, the more chance there is for the following uncomfortable silence or one-clap ovation to become legend.
e) Be ready to catch him. The less said about this, the better, but be ready.
f) And, unlikely as it is, have an idea of what the fuck you’re gonna do if the bride bugs out beforehand.

5) If the ball never goes up, and y’all make it to the reception, you are going to be making a toast. There are three simple rules to doing this right:

One: You may not give a ‘traditional’ toast, except as part of a larger toast you have written yourself.
Two: You must have completed a written version of your toast at least two days in advance.
Three: You may not have more than one drink per hour at the reception until after you speak.

Follow those and you’ll be fine.

If I had to reduce all the advice to one bit, it is this: Have a plan. If the groom gets food poisoning at the rehearsal dinner, have a plan. If the reader faints during the Psalm, have a plan. If a fucking ASTEROID hits the reception hall during dinner, HAVE A PLAN. For forty-eight hours, he is Kermit, and you are Jim Henson. You are going to busy thinking for him to think for yourself — so think of everything in advance.

And once he and the bride are away, post-reception, settle back with a cold beverage and a hot bridesmaid. You earned ’em, General.

* * *

Anybody else got questions?

Tip Sheet

Household Hint For The Day:

In the event you are making barbecue sauce because you are going to a party warranting some special-occasion sauce, because you know a guy who’s getting married, who has a friend who desperately wants him to learn to play golf, and you reserve a 10am tee time, and it’s so hot your eyeballs are melting, so you’re a little dehydrated, and then the blonde waitret smiles at you after the round even though you look and smell like you’ve been dipped in a tidepool, following which you get lost on the way to Phase II, and you enjoy Dave & Buster’s even though it is to a casino as Unitarian Universalism is to pre-Vatican II Catholicism, and later you spend a lot of time discussing being blinded by strippers, and you eventually wrap up the evening with most people being too drunk to tie their own shoes, and so you spend the following day dazedly drinking water and snacking on aspirin, then it is best not to have let the molasses that boiled over sit on the stove overnight, because it will be a stone cold nightmare to scour clean.

* * *

Clicking the Morning Line link over there on the right both 1) brought tears of joy to my eyes and 2) caused me to hear a disembodied voice say “We’re putting the league back together.” Open invitation: Who’s up for fantasy football besides Beav, bondgirl, Dr. Badass, and me?

* * *

A left-center double today for College Humor. First, the brilliant caption, and second, the best shock-of-recognition moment I’ve come across in a while. (Caution: These two pages are work-safe, but don’t go poking around the rest of the site if you’ve got a touchy employer.)

* * *

New blog shout-outs (shouts-out?):

Ginger, Kitten (who is known ’round here as bondgirl), Big & Little, who decided to cancel their original blogs in the interest of devoting all their time to ignoring a joint blog, Soulreaper, who is getting back into the game after a layoff so long I remember his AOL site, and Madam President of the More Dangerous Than You Might Think Club, adverb1000. We’re nearing 100% compliance. I’m looking at you, Bruuuuce.

Notes From Detention

Tuesday, June 21

645am: Spring from bed at first note of alarm. Cheerfully go about morning routine, musing on how much it says about my job that I can barely drag my ass out of bed by 8:10 most Tuesdays.

745am: Marcus arrives. Cars are reshuffled. We depart for the Lake Forest Oasis.

845am: Meeting gaveled to order. Coffee and rum poured. Ginger introduced around. Phone calls made to coordinate stragglers.

930: Departure for Hurricane Harbor. Parking paid. Tickets bought. Bag filled with clothes and liquor breezed through security with the help of Honey, who is dressed like a vacationing Lara Croft, which is distracting to security.

10am: Sunblock applied, evidently incorrectly.

1030am: Stuff stowed, we hit the lines. The toilet slide is GREAT. The tube slides are also great. Really, Hurricane Harbor gets full marks for everything except

1245pm: The lousy piece of pizza for which I paid $8 at lunch. Had I chosen to pay a modest upgrade fee, I could have had “Pizza & Wings” or “Pizza & Fries”. I am feeling younger, but not enough for that.

105pm: We blatantly resume swimming less than an hour after eating. Technically, though, we are not swimming, but making large slow circuits of the Lazy River and engaging in horseplay. Among the high points: Two Chinese Fire Drills, numerous stern whistles, a high-pressure hose that blew Marcus’ hairpiece distantly downriver, and the discovery that one could not turtle one’s tube without lube, which is a lot of fun to say but not as dirty as it sounds.

215pm: The demographic ‘Girls Who I Would Have Signed An Affadavit Attesting To My Belief That They Were Without Question Well Into Their Twenties Until They Smiled And Displayed Braces’ now number three. I understand intellectually that orthodontia is no longer just for junior high, but it is still startling.

230pm: General discussion of how Hurricane Harbor is some sort of secret Eye Candy Q School.

237pm: ECQS Theory briefly tabled to pass unanimous motion as to the general horridness of most people’s tattooing.

238pm: Eye Candy discussion resumes. Resolved: Wow, are we sleazy, in a relatively harmless kind of way.

345pm: I note that our carefully detailed and meticulously orchestrated schedule calls for us to begin planning our departure, and the unpredictable Milwaukee traffic has dictated that we begin arranging departure. Plus my skin is beginning to resemble that of a masterfully prepared Peking duck.

437pm: Right on schedule, we roll for Milwaukee.

525pm: We arrive at Speed Queen barbecue. Tim and Ginger have been lost to the extensive and poorly-labelled renovations of the Marquette Interchange. We have, however, gained j.ko, Big Man, Big, and Dana, the last of whom is the only one among them with a normal name because her parents weren’t drug-addled ex-hippie disco freaks in the mid-seventies.

530pm: Speed Queen is out of outside shoulder/burnt ends. Dammit. I must rally.

535pm: Barb calls for directions through the interchange. I misdirect her. Research later shows that my error was in my assumption that the Wisconsin Department of Transportation would assign consecutive numbers to consecutive exits. Lesson learned.

625pm: We depart for the ballpark.

645: We park. I sip deeply from my flask and offer it to Marcus. He reaches for it greedily and is moving it toward his mouth when he pauses, looks at me suspiciously, and says “This isn’t that grog shit, is it?”

647pm: Marcus drops entirely off the wagon.

655: Tickets distributed. Late cancellations and the Miller Park Secret Police have left me with a handful of unnecessary tickets, which I eventually give to a bike cop and tell him to pass them to kids he sees.

730pm: Little, Ren, and Stimpy the Control Monkey arrive. We straggle in. I purchase two beers from a vendor. TWO BEERS! That’s how thirsty and in need of drink I was — I drank BEER. And not just one, mind you.

900pm: The Brewers tie what until that time had been the Fastest Baseball Game In History.

915pm: Old people begin to depart Miller Park, citing long drives, early alarms the next day, imminent parenthood, and an urgent need to drink Metamucil and watch Jay Leno.

950pm: CUBS WIN! CUBS WIN!

10pm: We arrive back at the car, and cleverly take surface roads to avoid the I-94 congestion caused by randomly numbered exits.

1030pm: We are seized by a powerful need for fluid. Jesus sends us an all-night Wendy’s. We expand our needs to include fries and a frosty.

1049pm: I give an Oak Park ETA of 1220am Wednesday.

1145pm: I officially remember none of the drive beyond this point.

1219am (Wednesday): I debate driving around the block for a bit, but instead take the shame of my inaccurate prediction like a man and park.

810am (Wednesday): I call the office, tell them of Honey’s car trouble, and arrange to be in at 1030am.

_______________________________________________________

Damn, it feels good to be me again.

What’s everybody doing August 24th?

Aftermath

My voice is gone. The soles of my feet are shredded. I can’t wear shoes or a shirt comfortably.

I am sunburnt, I am sore, and I am hung over.

I am more or less in detention at work.

But it was worth it.

Full report tomorrow.

“This dream is short. But this dream is happy.”

– Manuel Puig

Why Don't You Just Tell Me Which Movie You'd Like To See?

I don’t often go to the movies anymore. There’re a number of contributing factors to this, which warrants a separate post later this week. Before that, however, I wish to discuss the first movie I have seen in a theater since X2: Revenge of the Sith. Because I know you readers out there vary wildly as pertains to your interest in film, I have written two reviews. (Neither film review deals with the bizarre and tedious entertainment hijacking that claims this movie was a wailing anti-Bush allegory, because that’s a belief that could only be put forth by someone with a political outlook suitable, like the movie, for children aged thirteen.) The first review is for the average moviegoer, the second for the sophisticated film buff. The first is spoiler-free, the second will ruin many surprises.

****

Unsophisticated Average Moviegoer Review: Revenge of the Sith

How great was that movie? The Emperor was evil, finally. Vader has a whole new depth, a resonance, that makes me badly want to see the first trilogy again, now. The parallels were fascinating. They even tied up all the loose ends that bothered me. (I LOVED what Yoda told Obi-Wan to spend his exile years doing.) What more could I ask? I saw everything I’ve wanted to see since 1986.

It was a Star Wars movie. That’s all I asked for. Perfect six for six. I enjoyed them all. I wish there were more.

****

Sophisticated Film Buff Review: Revenge of the Sith

I hated this movie. George Lucas is a bonehead. What a fucking moron jackass. Darth Vader looked like a guy in a rented Darth Vader suit. Yoda looked like Gizmo with shingles. Doesn’t Lucas know anything about Star Wars? The dialogue was terrible. “Little green friend”? “Wild Bantha chase”? Jesus. Why couldn’t a real filmmaker have made this movie? Someone good, like a guy ten seconds out film school? Or me? I should have been consulted on the script. Thank GOD The Idiot FINALLY addressed all the inconsistancies like I’ve been complaining about FOREVER. I used to LOVE Star Wars. And don’t start any of that shit with me about how I’m not eleven anymore, and how I’m all jaded. Fuck you. I am not jaded. I just understand movies better now. George Lucas is a blind pig who found three acorns, once upon a time. In a galaxy far far away, hahaha. Even though if you watch them now, you can apply every complaint about the second trilogy to the first, the first three were great and the second trilogy was MONKEY SHIT FLUNG ON A WALL. ALL OF IT. IF YOU DIDN’T HATE IT, YOU’RE AN UNCULTURED HILLBILLY RETARD WITH NO TASTE.

pant pant pant

And Vader. RUINED! That “Noooooooooooooooooooo” thing totally murdered everything about the character ever. He sounded like SEYMOUR MOTHERFUCKING SKINNER. And now I feel bad for him. What hideous writing. Could he be ANY LESS ONE-DIMENSIONAL? GOD! And the cinematography of space was totally unrealistic. And the aliens all had offensive accents and weirdola faces. THAT’S NOT HOW ALIENS LOOK, MR. FANCY RICH FILMMAKER SELLOUT LUCAS. WHY COULDN’T YOU HAVE HIRED SOMEONE ELSE TO MAKE THESE MOVIES, SO THEY COULD HAVE NOT SUCKED, THE WAY THEY DID BECAUSE YOU MADE THEM AND I’M NOT A CHILD ANYMORE SO THEY STINK STINK STINK!

WAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Push!

I have decided, today, to track the exact nascence of a blog post. I am not making any of this up.

It usually begins at about 10:30am, when I am done with work for the day, I begin musing about throwing something up on the ol’ website.

As always, I start by trying to identify the exact post I can write to get myself laid. 0-297 so far. Hope springs eternal.

Check Open Leaderboard on ESPN.com.

Become distracted by spectacular photo of a triumphantly yowling Supernova. Excitable chicks rule.

IM with Dave regarding the logistics involved in keeping a pet leopard on a houseboat.

Dave reveals that he has a new spanking blog.

I debate strutting around taking credit for Dave’s relaunch, as the effect I had hoped for when I posted our conversation last week — that he’d remember what fun it was to be a semianonymous vile pig bastard — has been achieved.

Wonder what fancy el stop Dave uses, that he can describe the smell of urine as “faint”.

Decide to describe his spanking new blog as his new spanking blog, to see what that does to his traffic and my search terms.

Consider lunch. Postpone. Not bored enough yet.

Relieve self and refill coffee. Not simultaneously.

Resume searching Google Images for a template for my next tattoo, the working example of which I have now being far too obscene, even for me. I need to tone down the graphic sex while maintaining the attitude. Sadly, this is a phrase much too complex for Google Images.

Play with Google Images. Among the search terms: Blood & Thunder, new tattoo, angel/devil, tedium.

Get an unexpected call from an old friend, who’ll be in my place of business this afternoon for a little pub. He’s written a play, and is on the PR tour. Here’s the blurb from me: Go see Leaving Iowa, everybody. I’m told it’s great.

Make a few minor touch-ups to this weekend’s grocery and errand list. Added “scapes”, “Maui Wowie”, “E-tie”, and “bling logo”.

Postpone the same eight or ten Outlook reminders I’ve been postponing for months. Among them:

* “Buy new Alton Brown book”
* “Port Royal Trading Company”
* “Call food allergist”
* 3-4 links to online publications I’d like to write for if I ever write something I’d like to publish.
* “VEGAS?”

Bored enough to have lunch now.

Receive favorite piece of annual junkmail: “Sign up early for Fantasy Football!” Begin to compose “We’re putting the league back together” e-mail.

Noodle around with Southwest.com, thinking about summer vacation and idly wondering how the hell I’m going to go to Vegas this year.

Check to see if Missy still works at Olympic Garden. Yes. Excellent.

Briefly wonder what the fuck I’m going to write about today. Consider slacking and just making the Mandatory Monthly Lyric Post, but cannot decide between “What You Need Is Jesus” and “Beyond the Sea”.

Participate in impromptu meeting as to the color of a coworker’s necktie. The choices have been narrowed to “pink” and “coral”. I contribute my view that the tie is “striped”. I wish that I was dead.

Do a little research on weekend houseboat rentals near Joliet. Daydream about how unbelievably much fun that would be with the right crowd. Decide to poll interest levels.

Look out my window at the beautiful day and decide to go for a walk. Since I stopped eating food, I’ve spent my lunches walking around in the sunshine, ogling girls, making private jokes about various parts of Millennium Park, and wondering how many other drones are as close to violence as I am.

Back.

Things I thought about on my walk: What possessed Bob Marley’s mother to give him the middle name of “Nesta”, how unflattering one’s reflection is in “the bean”, where miniskirts with cowboy boots ranks on the Hottest Normal Daily Outfit Scale (high), what it is about “Got a wife and kids in Baltimore, Jack; I went out for a ride and I never went back” that makes me play that fragment over and over and over and over, what the fuck could “Tinfoil Viking Science” signify other than a way to fuck with Google, and why exactly the Farmer’s Market in Daley Plaza sells soft cheese when their primary demographic is “People who won’t be home to their refrigerators for seven hours”.

Seed of an entry down the road: There is a plaque in Millennium Park that says something like “Millennium Park was presented by Mayor Daley, June Something, Four Years Late, as a gift to the people of Chicago”. My addition would have read “The following day, they were presented with a beautifully engraved silver invoice.” Hey, Mom, look what I bought you! Oh, no, it was nothing. No, really – I took the money for it out of your purse.

Stopped off to visit a favorite semi-former coworker en route back. Why do I never hear any office gossip until after everyone else has? I think “Don’t talk to Al unless it’s boring and you’re mad” is in the employee handbook.

Return and check all blogs in my rundown for updates, because I have no life and nothing to do and I’m so starved for entertainment and stimulation that I think of illicit web-surfing as kind of a thrill.

Determine that Dave’s new spanking blog is also Jon’s new spanking blog. Muse on setting up a betting line as to which couple that’s gonna land in court first.

Coffee.

About a half-hour worth of afternoon work to do. None of it interesting or fun. I could train a pigeon to peck keys and no one would ever notice.

Jesus, I have a lot invested in not having this job improving my life. What if I’m sitting on the couch eight months from now typing a bitchy blog entry about how unchallenging cooking and cleaning and golf are? I don’t know if I could cope with it being me, not this soulsucking day job, that’s the problem. Maybe it isn’t the job that’s boring and pointless.

Egad. That’s bleak.

Nikki’s entry today made me think about Suicidegirls.com – to which I did not link lest any of you drones click it inadvertently and get fired – which always cheers me up. Way up. Mmmmm…nontraditional haircolors.

I’m listening to afternoon talk radio. They’re complaining about some sort of celebrity ballroom dancing show in the outraged tones of devout but closeted fans. This is the best you got? You’re talking about how boring something is? Tell me, if you talk about how boring a thing is, how entertaining do you expect that conversation to be?

Now I’m getting unnerved, ’cause it’s 345 and I still don’t have a post today. Fuck. I have two kinds of posts: The kind that arrive in my head more or less ready to go, and the kind I have to fake and slog through and then hate. Dammit dammit dammit. WHY CAN’T I EVER THINK OF ANYTHING WHEN I NEED TO?

I am told that when we move to the Keys I have to get a cellphone. I have successfully avoided a cellphone to this point. I am of two minds about this. I hate the idea of people calling me for no reason, but I might someday meet girls who will e-mail pictures of themselves in various states of undress to my phone.

Dave is now explaining “invalid reverse lookup addresses” to me via IM. I am quoting “A League Of Their Own” at Becks. de Luca is in the same state of Slow-Forward as I am. What a nice day.

Becks just said something that, for no reason, reminded me that Honey’s parakeet needs another expensive beak trim from a distant vet.

I’m listening to one friend interview another. The poitical and emotional undercurrents in this talk are fascinating.

Aha, here comes the 430pm Thursday “URGENT — PLEASE DO IMMEDIATELY!!!!!!!!!!!!!” e-mail. Right on schedule. Shit. I really wanted to write something today.

Mission Briefing

Fr: Supreme Commander
To: Team Truant
CC: Those who have expressed interest in joining Team Truant but have been
unable to commit
Re: Adult Ditch Day Itinerary

June 21, 2005

845-915am: Breakfast meeting, Lake Forest Oasis over I-94. General briefing & exuberance. In the event of seriously inclement weather, Rain Alternative Committee Chairperson bondgirl will unveil the new itinerary at this time.

915am: Depart for Hurricane Harbor. (Note: Because I cannot front tickets for both Six Flags after doing so for the Brewers/Cubs game, and we do not have enough people to warrant a group rate, you are left to your own devices as to GA/HH ticket obtainment. Dunkin’ Donuts and Bruuuuuuuuuce Gruenwald both have coupons. Other dicounts are fairly easy to scare up. Which one you use is your call. I do recommend having tickets in advance.)

930-415: Unscheduled waterpark merriment. Great America and Hurricane Harbor admission are one and the same, so feel free to cross back and forth between facilities.

415pm: Regroup and depart for Speed Queen BBQ. (http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Writeup.aspx?ReviewID=379&RefID=379)

515pm: Dinner. Everything is good at Speed Queen.

600pm: Depart for Miller Park. Reconvene in seats after stopping by Will Call. ‘Root For The Home Team In An Unfamiliar Park’ rule suspended.

705pm: Chicago Cubs vs Milwaukee Brewers.

930pm (approx): Depart for home.

1140pm: Begin planning September’s Adult Ditch Day.

Younger Than Springtime

Another successful mission Sunday, as not only was a father-to-be rescued from a fleet of women bearing cuteness, but a tertiary save was effected upon his two prospective brothers-in-law. The high point of the day, other than the sentence “Yeah, I can see that now. ‘At your baby shower, your dad had to call Grandma to come get him, and he didn’t know where he was.'” was a moment that perfectly illustrates the place ‘baby shower’ resides on the priority list of most men.

In addition to the shower, Sunday was, previously unbeknownst to anyone involved, the Milwaukee Pride Parade. The shower was held at a restaurant very, very close to Ground Zero. Not paradefront close, but rainbow-bethonged passers-by close. Upon learning this, I and the FTB being rescued began to debate.

As an opening salvo, I reminded my esteemed opponent that, at least in Chicago, Pride is a treasure trove of – among other things – hot drunk girls having a go at a little exhibitionist lesbianism. I then postulated that anyplace with a thousand pastry chefs in attendance had to be worthy of our time, regardless of what the amassed p√ɬĘtissieres were or were not wearing.

While he found my argument technically flawless, he rebutted my arguments with two emotional appeals, both strongly in favor of maintaining the original sports-bar-casino-and-strippers plan. He began with an impassioned plea to the effect that he had been promised a pig sandwich, and that it would be wrong and even sinful to deviate from any plan involving real hickory-smoked barbecue. As the gathered crowd considered this possibility, he – in a deft and possibly somewhat callous effort to win the hearts of his audience – described in extravagant and loving detail how he was possessed of an ‘irresistibly grabbable butt’, and how there were Good and Evil ways to remember your first child’s baby shower, and then something about a bad breakup, but I was distracted then because a girl wearing high heels and housepaint was crossing the street.

So he won, and I agreed to skip the comedy goldmine I suspect Milwaukee Pride to be.

But we hadn’t yet shared this with the father-to-be’s prospective brother-in-law, who arrived just after closing arguments, wearing a necktie and sour expression. He looked visibly cheered when we told him we weren’t staying at the baby shower, which led to the day’s hall of fame moment. (Necessary background: The PBIL in question – while a very nice fellow – is a skosh traditional, in a straitlaced kind of way.)

PBIL: We’re not staying? Nice. Where’re we going instead?

Me: Pride.

(PBIL opens mouth, closes it, looks at shower setup, looks at me, looks outside at peacocklike passers-by, looks back at me, looks at pile of baby presents, peers outside again, then turns back to us)

PBIL: Okay. Now?