Where many friends engage in public conversations with one another over Facebook and Twitter to make sure everyone knows who they are talking to and about what, my BFF Chloë and I are way too mature for all that. We tend to communicate through our blogs with elaborate posts featuring comics, videos, rules for other friendships, friendship business cards and pie charts analyzing each other’s Twitter feeds.
Now for the one year (and 11 day) anniversary of Chloë’s marriage to her husband Robin, I am sharing an illustrated version of the critically acclaimed speech I gave at their wedding. Most of the photos are by Andrew Bassett. I’m not sure if this will work, but actions will be noted in bracketed italics [like so].
Hello everyone. In case you haven’t met me yet, my name is Samuel. As Chloë’s BFF, it came as no surprise that she should ask me to share a few remarks with all of you. Since the whole night everyone has been talking about the wedding, I thought that a few people might be bored of it and interested in talking about something else for a change. As some of you know, I have presented at conferences and public meetings on the subjects of ecology and ethics, but I was thinking that for the occasion I would branch out and try something new. Let’s start.
As we are in Saskatoon, I thought that we could explore this city as a subject. How did it come to be? Why does it persist in being? Why do I only ever come here in January? I’ll try to make this a more relaxed presentation, so please feel free to interrupt me at any time if you have scripted questions.
Let’s first take a look at this unlikely increase of population over time….
[Geoffrey Cameron interrupts presentation with obviously scripted dialogue:] Excuse me, Sam – if it’s alright I would just like to stop you right there with a two-part question.
[Samuel Benoit:] Oh Geoff, it’s so great to see you here – I didn’t know that Chloë had invited you. Please go ahead.
[GC:] Well, the first part has to do with Jean Murray’s 1959 analysis of the contest to host the university of Saskatchewan and how this played into the future development of the city…
[SB:] Actually, I’m planning on getting to that.
[GC:] Oh. Great. The second part of my question is to ask if you plan on covering what is going on right now, namely Chloë and Robin’s wedding.
[SB:] Robin who?
[SB:] …I’m going to need more than that.
[GC:] The dude Chloë just married.
[SB:] Oh yes! THAT dude Chloë just married! I considered doing a presentation on that, but again, figured everyone was more curious about Saskatoon. But if that’s what people are interested in, I do have some notes on the subject.
[GC:] I’d be interested in that.
[SB:] Sounds like fun. As Chloë can tell you, my memory is pretty bad – normally I count on her for how to spell common words, to tell me about things I have done and rude things I have said to people a long time ago – so putting down old stories without Chloë’s help is very challenging without making things up.
People have often been perplexed about our friendship. Chloë and I have always expected that even our respective children would someday be confused by it. “Why is Auntie Chloë so much smarter and funnier than mommy?” my future children will ask me. “Why do we always have the most fun when Uncle Sam is around? Also, why is he always around?” They will ask Chloë. To both sets of children, we will simply say “SHUT UP AND EAT YOUR NAILS.”
I have always been very protective of Chloë, usually opting to give her friends and roommates a hard time to test their worthiness. All of her university roommates had no choice but expect phone calls for Chloë between two and five AM for me to call and sing her Elton John and Coldplay songs after late night assignment writing sessions. [Pause to acknowledge one of Chloë’s former roommates in the audience:] Hello Fiona, good to see you here. You look rested.
I could barely tolerate her friend Goeff, who managed to weasel his way into her life while they both attended Trent University in Peterbourough and my back was turned. To this day we can barely get along and only very recently I forced him to contribute to a wedding speech I was giving with some obviously scripted and poorly written text.
Even Chloë’s father Bruce has been subjected to my tests of worthiness despite the fact that – so he claims – he knew Chloë first.
Somehow these tests of worthiness also explain why I had to shamelessly flirt with Chloë’s old roommate Celeste every time I visited Chloë in Peterborough. [Pause to shamelessly flirt with Celeste:] Hello Celeste. You are looking wonderful tonight. As always.
One of the first things I noticed about Robin was his height. As my mother would have said if she could have made it here tonight, anything over six feet is just showing off – it’s unnecessary. So, by virtue of his genetics - [Pause to acknowledge his towering parents:] Hello Tony and Bernadette – Robin is a show off.
Another so called attribute of Robin’s we all know about is that he’s too smart. Some other things he is too good at include: drawing, beard growing and spouse choosing.
Robin passed my subtle tests of worthiness, showing great strength of character, devotion to Chloë and probably most importantly, wit. Likely through some sort of cheating.
Chloë, I know that over the past few days you have often wished you were just married and not this bride everyone is making you out to be – that it’s been frustrating at the same time as you have had to acknowledge that you can’t control how people express themselves and the extent to which they follow your precise instructions. So just to remind you that you really aren’t in control – after I am finished speaking something is going to happen up here that you didn’t plan. [After my speech Chloë’s sisters sang Timon and Pumba’s part of ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’ from the Lion King.]
But before that, a message to Robin: Even though I couldn’t protect Chloë from you – I am now bound to protect you as well. For that, I congratulate you.