This is what happened:
Thursday, the car was damp with parental guilt as we made our way to the airport, a feeling that was killed off once we realised we were child-free for three whole days. “Think of all the relaxed sex we’ll have!” I exclaimed gleefully. She’ll deny it, but Linzi couldn’t wait either. She said as much, in between the sobs.
“It’s only for three days, and your sister will look after them like they were her own. If she had any,” says I. “Sure, doesn’t she have a dog and a cat. That must be even tougher than managing a couple of toddlers.”
It’s tougher for women. I’ve been away for days at a time before. You know, on my drug and alcohol binges. Linzi though. She’s been with them every second since they’ve been born. You’d think she’d be glad of the break, but there she was, crying.
I produced my lad in the car while I drove to the airport – it wasn’t easy trying to control two such mighty contraptions at once, but I knew it would make her laugh. Alas, not last Thursday. “Look at how small he is.” “Look at him winking at you.” Nothing worked. I shut my mouth and let her ride it out.
We landed at Shannon and got on the stinky bus. Mam had forgotten she said she’d collect us – she was up in Mayo on holiday. Some people go to Lanzarote. It takes all kinds.
I patted my flattened stomach when I got off the bus in Galway, glad I’d kept up the swimming. My family’s favourite name for me is “Fat (insert hilarious comedy word here)”. Fat bastard. Fat fecker. Fat cunt. Quality Irish humour, usually said while jabbing me semi-aggressively in the
sirloin belly. None of that this time, ye pups! Ha!
It was weird being in Galway. I had to fight through throngs of lovely girls to make it to Woodquay, it being Race Week and all. Ladies’ Day, to be precise. Good old Race Week, when most normal folk can’t even afford to pay attention, never mind the exhorbitant prices for food, drink, and accommodation. On Shop Street a lad tried to charge me €5 when I asked him for the time. As my sister said when she picked us up “What fuckin use are the Races to Galway anyway?”. I rambled on about the enormous benefit to the local economy, just to annoy her, but then she jabbed me in the ribs and called me a fat fucker, so I stopped.
The night before the wedding, we went down to the Róisín Dubh for several pints too many. I also had a pizza in Monroe’s. If you’re ever drunk down the wesht of Galway city, get yourself a pizza in Monroe’s. I’d step over hot smokeless coals for one. And have.
Saturday was a 7.30 rise and I beat back the impending hangover with a swift litre of non-Galway water. I’d have got my hole kicked if I was hungover that day, but it’d have been even worse if I’d got Crypto’d up to my eyeballs. The wedding wasn’t ’til one, but we were going for a hot towel shave, myself, the groom and his groomsmen, hence the early rise. It was great – left my cheeks smoother than Craig David’s singing voice, and it lasted nearly two days. In fact, the second day, my cheeks felt like they’d feel after having a normal shave. Thirty squids though, not cheap. But sure wasn’t it worth it lads, for the day that was in it? It was, they told me.
The wedding was in Galway Cathedral. The cathedral is big, in case you didn’t know. There were 200 people at the ceremony and the place was still no more than a tenth full. Having said that, there were at least another hundred tourists milling around snapping photos during the course of it, which I thought was fucking disgraceful, but that’s Catholics for you.
Someone told me later that night that I was the coolest man they’d ever seen on an altar. Even cooler than Father Fitzcool, who as most people know is the coolest parish priest west of the Shannon, he said to me. Linzi said I looked like I had a poker up my hole standing up there. They were both right.
I did alright, it has to be said. I’ve done both, and the best man’s role is definitely more difficult than the groom’s. All that lad has to do is show up in one piece and he’s guaranteed a ride. I had countless opportunities to cock up, but thankfully missed most of them.
They got their pictures done with maybe half an hour to spare before the coke-and-ice-cream clouds started fizzing rain down hard. We were safe in the hotel by then though, so nobody minded.
My speech is down there, in the comments. This thing is long enough without including it here.
They had them before the meal, thank jeebus. I wouldn’t have been able to eat a thing if I had to wait until after the meal to talk.
Bombshell number one was when I was told I would not only be doing my speech, I would be MC for the rest of the speakers too. Yes, I know this is a common best man duty, but it was the first I’d been told about it people! If I’d known I’d have prepared some jokes.
Bombshell number b was that the microphone didn’t work properly. It was a wireless one. I fucking hate wireless mics. I didn’t used to, but I do now. I lost a couple of moderately amusing punchlines because of the mic cutting out at critical times, but apart from that, the speech went fine. Until I remember that the newly-married couple’s five-year old decided to throw a tantrum halfway through and would not stop until Mammy was cuddling her again. That was a minute and a half I struggled through. When you’re standing up in front of two hundred people, do you know how long a minute and a half lasts? An hour and a half, that’s how long! Bless her though, she was very pretty on the day, and a little angel throughout…apart from those few minutes.
Did I mention the hotel staff decided to start taking food orders while I was giving my speech? People complained afterwards at how ridiculous it was, because the chatter of everyone deciding what they wanted to eat drowned out some of my best work.
Sounds like a disaster, doesn’t it? The odd thing is, it should have been, but it wasn’t. It went really well, and the Bangor joke got a huge laugh. I got a few nice comments afterwards, which made me feel a bit better about things. Kind of like when you do a revealing blog post and you’re in two minds but then someone says they liked it and then you’re okay again.
To tell the truth, I don’t think I could’ve done much more with my bit – I had loads of practice done, but it was just a pile of external things that fucked bits of it up. Sure you’ll have that. The main thing is the day was a resounding success.
If you read the speech, I should point out now that the reason me giving a Liverpool jersey is funny is because the groom is, and always has been, a die-hard Man U fan. If you don’t know anything about football…never mind.
I went to bed at 5.45 the following morning, and was up again at 8. Plane to catch. Home to see babies. Still had the shakes on Monday, but now it’s all over.
Until the next time. On the wedding night, my best friend (I have two, both called Paul. Shut up, I am allowed to have two best friends, and there’s nathin you can do about it so bleaaaaaagh.) asked me to be his best man too. He’s not even engaged though, so I have a bit of breathing space yet.