So I went to a wedding last weekend, the wedding of my cousin Ben, hard-of-hearing Ben, oft mentioned in the early days of this blog as his sister Becky once had plans to make some kind of Oscar winning film about the implants (uh, yo?). The wedding was a beautiful shindig at a restaurant on the East River across from Manhattan. The food was plentiful, the band was loud, the bridesmaids all wore a lovely, early spring shade of green.
“At my wedding,” said Sam, “You’re wearing a tux.”
“Powder blue?” I asked.
“Powder blue. And for the band…Mini Kiss.”
“It’s a Kiss tribute band made out of midgets.”
“You’re joking aren’t you?”
Alison, Sam’s fiancée, leaned over: “Yes, he is.”
Ben doesn’t have an implant as his hearing loss is not great enough to qualify for one. Instead he wears, and has always worn, hearing aids, through which he has pursued, among many other things, a lifelong interest in the televised cultural medium. He grew up watching the tube and now knows more about it than anyone I know. I probably would have turned out the same way had I had the choice, but captions weren’t available back in the day. I had to read books, which unfortunately don’t have explosions, laugh tracks or chain-sawing Central American coke lords that look like Al Pacino.
Sam gave a nice speech at the rehearsal dinner the night before the ceremony:
“This is the guy I could always beat the crap out of when my three older brothers were beating the crap out of me. I needed that. Then he went to college and ate his roommate. Came back like a hundred pounds heavier, pure muscle. I went from beating him up to being his best friend.”
He then went onto describe the alternate history of how Ben and Veda met: a long story involving the internet, bookstores, my parents' recent 40th anniversary (props) and penile reduction (I don’t make this stuff up, I just report it).
I was sitting near my father.
“That was a nice speech, wasn’t it?” I said to him when it was over.
“Yes,” he agreed. “Makes me wish I had more grandchildren.”
He nodded. “You try the steak? It’s good. Makes me wish I had more grandchildren.”
“Ok,” I said. “Got it.”
After the dinner, me, my brothers, our significant others, and some cousins headed to a bar on the 36th floor of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in the new Time Warner Don’t Ever Call Us AOL tower. There we toasted cousin Adam’s birthday with rounds of vodka sodas and tequila shots.
It was dark in the bar, music blared at a volume that was making the mirrors crack and we may have been a couple sheets to the breeze. Sam and I had a conversation after the Tequila that seems silly in retrospect.
“Josh,” he said. “I don’t think I’m hearing as well as I was a few weeks ago.”
“You know what, me neither,” I said.
“I must need a mapping.”
The next morning at the wedding, we arrived late and sat in the back row, and for the ceremony I had to turn my implant low and keep my sunglasses on or else I rued that I had ever been born. The Rabbi spoke in Hebrew in a low and un-amplified voice; unsurprisingly Sam and I had trouble hearing him.
“Damn implants,” I said.
“Definitely,” Sam agreed.
Then Ben stomped the glass with a satisfying crunch and hustled Veda, his lovely bride, out of the room for some private time. Downstairs were cocktails and appetizers, and Jack standing next to the bar holding a vodka. The sun was shining and people were kayaking in the East River, right where the Gottis tossed the bodies – they were hotties.
“This ain’t bush league,” said Jack, taking in the scene. “Feel my stomach.”
Then we danced:
And I thought: Oh you shining world! Oh you beauty! I should have no complaints. People love honestly. Miracles happen, and sometimes are even stuffed underneath your eardrum like mini-jack in the box. The drinks are free. They carved out little bowls in the potatoes for caviar. And yet: a voice says, but what? but what?
The band struck a new number, a loud rap – I’d never heard a rap at a wedding before. From across the room, Sam caught my eye and shook his head. “Mini-kiss is better,” he mouthed.