The Universal

Just got back from a weeklong trip to Boston for Jon Mack’s wedding.  Chapter commentary posts will resume tomorrow, but due to popular demand I’m posting my best man speech below:

Can I have everyone’s attention?

I’d like to take a moment to thank all of you for coming together today to celebrate the marriage of Jon and Kati.  We were a little worried when National Train Day was scheduled for the same date, but it’s great to see everyone here decided to skip that celebration in favor of this one.

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Jacob.  Jon and I have been friends for about 17 years or so, and today I’m his best man.

I’m going to start off by reading what Jon wrote in my yearbook when we graduated high school.  He said:

“Someday when you are a famous sitcom writer you can give a call to your old, poor, homeless, lonely friend Jon that lives as a hermit and you can philosophize about life and love with him again.”

I guess that goes to show that it’s hard to predict the future after you leave high school and move on to college and eventually the real world.  We are getting older, but I’m neither famous nor a sitcom writer, and from what I can tell Jon is neither poor nor homeless.  And now that Kati is in his life he’s certainly not  lonely.  The hermit piece — that’s still debatable.  But Jon was right about something.   As the best man I suppose I am being asked to philosophize about life and love with him again, this time in a more public setting.

With 17 years of material to draw from, I thought this would be a pretty easy speech to write.  But then Jon gave me this list of topics I’m NOT allowed to talk about today.  It was a pretty long list.

There were two rules:  Don’t reference anything on “the list,” and make sure the speech is about both he and Kati and not just him.

That was a pretty tall order, especially considering the fact that the first time I ever met Kati in person was just a few days ago.  But then I remembered that that wasn’t the first time we had spoken.  So today I’m going to tell the story of the first conversation I ever had with Kati.

I was sitting at home one night in LA when the phone rang.  The caller ID said it was Jon, so I answered expecting to slip into a random debate about a band or a concert or the Red Sox.  But instead Jon immediately said “Kati wants to ask you something” and handed the phone over.  I don’t remember the exact time frame of this, but it was fairly early in their relationship, probably in the first few months.  I knew of her existence, but like I said this was the very first time we had a firsthand interaction.

So we chatted for a few minutes, and then she brought up the reason for the call.

“Jacob, I have an important question for you.”


“When was the last time Jon washed his hair?”

(Laughs?) Based on the reaction I’m hearing, I bet a lot of you know where this is heading.  But if you don’t, I’ll just say that the secret to Jon’s good looks is his dedication to quote “letting the natural oils do their thing.”

(Jon:  Did you wash your hair today?  Mrs. Mack: Did you ask him to?)

Ok, back to the Kati’s question.  At that moment I knew that the future fate of this relationship could be riding on my answer.  What was I supposed to say?

I thought about if for a few seconds, then decided that Jon would have to earn this one.  So I told the truth.

“Kati, I cannot tell a lie.  It’s been years.  Not since his sister Lauren’s wedding, and that was only because his mom made him.”

And here we are today.  She still married him despite his questionable hygiene.  So we know it must be love.

In closing, a love of music has always been one of the strong connections between Jon and I in our friendship, so I’d be remiss in ending this without giving him credit for the excellent choice of “The Universal” by Blur for the traditional “first dance” as a married couple.  As the last line of the second verse goes:  “Well, here’s your lucky day.”

Here’s to Jon & Kati on their lucky day.  Congratulations!

Cheers!  Gezuar!

Thank you

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