Writer. Warning: opinions. My lawyer advised a disclaimer, but didn't include any jokes to go with. Damned if I can think of any either.

Bob and Emily’s Best Man Speech

PHOTO: San Smith
PHOTO: San Smith

I had the immense pleasure this weekend of serving as Robert Donlan’s best man at his wedding to Emily Dolezal. We had excellent crisp fall weather and lots of good friends. It was great fun, and I even got to give a speech, one of my favorite things.

Here’s the text of said speech, (PDF version at this link).

Hello, good evening. I am your best man, Jim Hodgson. My function in this weekend’s festivities is to add a bit of levity and give you all a close bystander’s insight into the relationship that has strengthened and begun anew today. I’m speaking, of course, about my relationship with an open bar.

When Bob announced to me that Emily would be moving in with him in his old condo in Virginia-Highland, I knew it was love. I knew that, not because Emily would be moving all the way into town from a foreign land known as Kennesaw, but because Bob’s old condo was only 100sqft.

That condo was so small, there’s no way two people could live there without love and a deep respect for one another. Just to shoehorn themselves inside for the night, Emily and Bob each had to wear one of the dogs on their heads like a hat.

Bob has a few strange habits. For one thing, he loves his computer. He watches professional video gaming, a pastime so boring that the competitors chug energy drinks even though they never move. If you’re having trouble sleeping later, just call Bob up and ask him about something called DOTA2. He’ll start talking and you’ll be out like a light.

Actually, on second thought, maybe don’t call him tonight.

As you may know, Bob and our friends and I spend a lot of time riding bikes. We’ve ridden thousands of miles in every kind of weather. We rode on the hottest day in Georgia history. 106 degrees. We’ve ridden in snow, at altitude, through deserts, and even in the streets of Atlanta, where cyclists are about as welcome as political jokes in a best man speech, or a woman’s opinion in the Republican Party.

[Aw, come on, GOPers, I’m a straight white male. You love me!]

I have seen Bob when he’s absolutely exhausted. When every ounce of energy is gone and his blood sugar is so low he can barely move. I can tell you, no matter how rough things get, the man does not complain. I believe this will help him be an excellent husband.

Once, Bob and I rode mountain bikes 30 miles up over the Wasatch Range near Park City, Utah. It snowed that weekend, and neither of us had enough warm gear. Many hours later, we emerged from the woods. We were shivering so hard a passing motorcyclist tossed a couple of bucks at us because he thought it was a dance number.

But as we descended through the foothills and I exited hypothermia, it became apparent I had screwed up. We were meant to take a right hand turn up on that ridge, sending us back down into Park City to join our friends Marc, Chris, Paul, and Jason. I saw the turn, and I thought, is that… naah! Hours later, when we got down the mountain, it became clear that we were not in Park City, but on the far side of the range in Salt Lake.

“Bob,” I said. “I think I screwed up. We were supposed to turn up there on the ridge.” Bob, exhausted, just smiled. “Huh,” he said. “Well, let’s get some pizza.”

So, Emily. If you should see that he’s reaching his breaking point. If he appears cold, tired, near the absolute limit of endurance, just chuck some pizza at him. He’ll be fine.

But, in truth, I shouldn’t presume to tell Emily a single thing about Robert Donlan. She already knows him pretty well. Over dinner one night, I mentioned to her that I’d known she and Bob were going to eventually be married as soon as she’d moved into Virginia-Highland. She gave me a look.

“Aw come on,” she said. “I knew I had him when he moved his computer up to Kennesaw.”