At some point in the past few years, I apparently convinced a few people that I’m dependable and responsible. I’ve of course always had those traits, but they usually deal with returning rental videos on time or shoving expired milk to the back of the fridge so it’s safely out of reach. But I’m on the verge of embarking on a whole new ballgame. My friend Mike and my brother Paul have both asked me to act as best man at their weddings.

I have never done this before. I always thought the best man just had a handful of duties: 1…plan a bachelor party, 2…get drunk, 3…repeat if desired. Boy was I wrong. There are plenty of things to do as best man, and I was not aware of the commitment when I signed on. It’s like buying a baby Marmoset monkey. Seems innocent and cute at first, and then it grows into a bigger deal than you thought it would. Unfortunately, unlike the monkey, if I mess up as best man, I can’t change things by chopping off somebody’s paw and making a few wishes. (I assume.)

Evidently the best man plays an important role. If you ever looked at a wedding magazine in the past 2,000 years, you’d never guess that a wedding even included a man, much less a best man. But there’s tradition and a standard to uphold. Therefore, the pressure is on.

After doing some research, I have listed a few things that are expected of me as best man.

Must make sure the groom has the marriage license. This is in case he and the bride go to a marriage bar and get carded, I guess.

Must check all men’s boutonnieres at the wedding. I’m not really comfortable playing the role of metrosexual flower coordinator, so I’m probably going to treat this one as I do the “check engine” light in my car. I’m aware that I should check something, but I’m just going to ignore it until something falls off.

Must review with the ring bearer his responsibilities. A boy carries rings to the altar. It’s not rocket science, is it? I bet years ago, some crazy kid ruined this job for future generations, so now my duty list just got longer. Thanks, Gollum.

Must be the first guest at the reception. This will not be a problem at all. If I knew this was a part of the job, then I was actually part-time best man at pretty much every wedding I’ve ever attended anyway. Well, the ones with the open bar.

Must act as host, making introductions throughout the evening. This will be the most difficult part of the job for me. I have a hard time remembering some people in my phone’s contact list, much less strangers and their relationship to the bride or groom. And I won’t even have the luxury of an area code to help make an educated guess. This could take some creativity.

Must make the first toast at the reception. First one to speak? This means that I will either get to do that fork to the glass thing to indicate an impending announcement (a first for any Saturn owner, I think)…or some local DJ will mess up my intro, as usual: “Thanks for coming, wedding party people. You guys ready to have a good time? Oh, come on, you can do better than that. You guys ready to have a good time? Hell yeah, that’s more like it. Here’s some t-shirts from your friends at the Crazy Morning Zoo Crew. Now, please welcome to the stage, a guy from Nashville now living in New York City…New York City?!?!…ha ha, that never gets old. Here’s your first speaker…Keith…Abblerstaff!”

Finally, the best man should dance with the bride, both mothers, and as many as the bridal attendants as possible. I’m not quite sure who wrote this one, but he may have been governor of New York. Dancing isn’t a strong suit of mine. I normally wind up just faking my way through it. A lot of guys do this. It’s pretty easy: act like something is in my eye, then semi-rhythmically shift my weight back and forth in the same spot while nursing a Heineken. Then when the song ends, act like I see an old friend across the room and bail from the dance floor. I got it down to a science, so it should work.

That’s just a sampling of the duties that now lay on my shoulders. I can already feel the pressure. I’m sure it will all be okay, but just in case… is anybody by chance selling a Marmoset?

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