On September 1, 2019, my little brother Lawrence was married to the love of his life, Sarah, at Jasper Park Lodge.i Here’s a transcript of the speech I gave as the best man, adnotated for context because y’know you weren’t there :
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It’s probably not a good idea to spend two weeks watching Comedy Central Roasts before writing your speech but… fuck it. If this short speech ends up offending some people, that’ll just be a normal Sunday night for me, ok that’s a joke!ii I’ve made Lawrence’s life hard enough up to this point without twisting the knife on his “Big Day”,iii I was already needling him a bit today about him not sweating the detailsiv – it’s funny to compare the dispositions of siblings because compared to Mila’s and my wedding, let’s just say that Lawrence and Sarah are a great match for each other – so this evening I’ll be the good big brother I never was (just don’t tell anyone).
Now I don’t specifically remember “meeting” Lawrence, but it was likely sometime in the 1988 range. I say “likely” because I’m still not clear on some of the specifics of the large white stork that dropped him off at our home in Parkview.
Our childhood wasn’t typical – even if it was more typical than – those of you remember Austin Powersv will remember Dr. Evil’s “typical” childhood. You remember… Summers in Rangoon, luge lessons. In the spring he’d make meat helmets. When he was insolent I was placed in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds, pretty standard really! So ours was definitely more typical than that, but those of you who know our parents know that they’re still anything but “typical” or “normal”. Some people actually wonder how they’re a couple at all, but I’ve always taken the stance that there’s no such thing as an odd-couple ex post, of course a priori is another story! Not that we were any worse for the wear, our childhood was filled with love, as must obviously have been the case, because love begets love, and you’ve clearly found that with Sarah. (My goodness you’re a mush with her.)vi
In addition to love, our childhood was also filled with travel.vii We definitely grew up with the stereotypical “millennial” lifestyle before it was fashionable, minus, perhaps, the geotags and kitschy photo filters. Our parents eschewed the material for the experiential, taking us to dozens of countries and acculturating us in global histories, languages, and of course the fine arts that hold it all together. They did this for us, selflessly, instead of, y’know, driving G-Wagons like completely unrepentant schmucks…viii We were definitely very lucky ducks to grow up with the parents we did, and while I’ve only known Sarah and her parents Abi and Diana for a few years, they’ve clearly known a wonderfully loving home as well.
I’ll leave it to the bridesmaids to speak more about Sarah, but Larry, Larry, Larry… You know why we love you, right ? You’re a magnetic personality, a born star on any social scene. Always fluid in conversation and well-versed in an incredibly broad scope of topics. And of course by “topics” I mean sports. I don’t think even jai alai or competitive parcheesi are too obscure for your deep-diving intellect into the world of athletics. I’m teasing, of course, because you’re also incredibly well versed in politics, global affairs, and something called “rights.” That’s actually a joke too, because for even amongst the notorious and now surprisingly accomplished “DECA”ix from the Ross Shep graduating class of 2006, you’re really an incredibly bright young man. In fact, now that you’re finishing your law degree and about to start articling, and also now that our world-beating, human bulldozer of a mother received her (honourary) Law Degree from the U of Ax this past spring, you’re about to make me into the only non-lawyer in the family. So who’s the idiot now, huh ?!xi
You really are a talented young man and I’m very honoured to have you as my brother. For all the torture I put you through growing up, you were always there for me, especially in my awkward teenage years when I didn’t have anyone to smoke hookah with in the basement except for you and your friends.xii You’ve always included me and I can never thank you enough for your kindness and generosity. Indeed, you’re kind and generous to the point that I now know why my own heart is so small, black, and cold.xiii You took all the heart for the both of us.
I love you both – Lawrence and Sarah – and wish you many little jew-babies together.
Thank you. God bless.
___ ___ ___
- Wearing a fairly OTT (and not slightly matadorian) Versace neon multicolour print bomber to the cocktail party the day before the wedding, I fancied myself quite the showy little arriviste, but it’s kinda hard to call yourself that when your little brother is getting married at the second poshest resort in the province, and when he’s not exactly “marrying up” in the process. I think I’ve been listening to too many rappers rhyme about “making it from the bottom to the top” that I’ve started to internalise this unrelatable theme. For shame! Now, making it from the upper-middle to the top, that’s something I can appreciate! ↩
- Until very recently, I never post-faced my scything sarcasm with this caveat, but I’ve learned that I unintentionally wound far fewer delicate souls when I play with my cards face-up. Not everything has to be competitive, much less cruel. Certainly not the best man’s speech at your little brother’s wedding! ↩
- “Everything in quotes” aka Virgil is my lawyer. Speaking of which, my Nike x Off-White shoes make quite the commotion when I wore them to play at the JPL golf course the day before the wedding. All thanks to Brooks!
- Just to name a few of the many examples of Lawrence’s and Sarah’s shared disinterest in sweating the small stuff, the groomsmen weren’t asked to give speeches until two weeks before the wedding, we weren’t told about the groomsmen’s prep schedule until the day before the wedding, no food was ordered for the prep, we had clip-on bowties instead of real ones, no contingencies were made in case it rained for the outdoor ceremony, there was only one sign at the ceremony indicating when the cocktail time/reception would start and it blew over in the wind so fully half of the conversations following the ceremony were around the next steps in the event, the “slideshow” was just twenty photos of each of them looping in the background, the speeches were segregated from the eating instead of overlapping, three different pork dishes were served in the buffet (at a Jewish wedding!), and the wedding was booked on one of the most busy, expensive, and yet ironically understaffed weekends of the year.
And yet it was all simply magical. I’m still buzzing and couldn’t be happier with how it all went down. The flowers were gorgeous, the dancing was incredible, there was laughter, there was crying, and all-in-all I’m really very proud of the newlyweds. It was a truly memorable weekend in Jasper. ↩
- My Austin Power review. ↩
- The love, oh the loooove!!! ↩
- Oh, the travel! ↩
- Ahem, sorry Niko and Ari… ↩
- What else are a group of ten wildly popular young men from affluent professional families supposed to call themselves in high school ? What better than “DECA” ? ↩
- University of Alberta, where my mother graduated from her MBA in 1981. ↩
- Clearly, the guy doing law school assignments for sport is the idiot now! ↩
- The poor rugs in our spare bedroom downstairs had more burns than a crackhead’s knuckles. So much hookah! ↩
- My heart may be small, black, and cold, but at least we know that it works! (The five leads recently confirmed what the one lead already told us.) ↩