Monday, September 26, 2011

Toast at Will's wedding

It's been a while between posts. Considering the written word is itself an art form, the following is the best man speech I delivered over the weekend. I'll leave the couple's full names out in case they don't wish to be associated with it when people google them. Cheers to Will and Brooke.


As some of you may suspect, the idea of trying to summarize your thoughts on a dear friend in a mercifully short speech can be a difficult, nerve wracking and even futile endeavor. Regardless, I was quite touched and honored when Will contacted my representatives to float the idea of my saying a few words at his wedding.

For those who don't know me - I'm sorry to hear it - my name's Kip. I grew up not far from here, next to one of those "slow children" signs and met young Willy out on the soccer pitch. He had not long before shunned the potentially high rolling career of a semi-successful pre-tween male model - and the looks that went with it. But despite walking away from catalogue work, he remained a boy with great promise.

As you can imagine it's been a long, colossal effort trying to raise Will - Bill and Susan have been a great help for sure, I thank them. But with I the Jeeves to his Wooster, I managed to steer Will through high school and college fairly successfully, with only minor speakable mishaps.

But all the hard work I put in suddenly seemed threatened a few years back. Will was finally on track to make his long-shunned fortune by working for a large investment bank, when he came to me one day and admitted an addiction. There were many things I thought that a former male model, would be rock and roller and raging capitalist could be drawn to. But I was caught off guard when he said the source of his addiction was porn - and not the kind we go to weekend rallies to protest - this was what he affectionately dubbed "boat porn."

He was spending hours at work trawling websites filled with boats of all shapes and sizes, in all sorts of settings. Graphs depicting large sums of money suddenly failed to capture his imagination, but for these nautical displays he was all hands on deck. Close-hauled cat boats with tantalizing topsides and booby hatches anchored his attention. Images of intrepid interiors produced a cabin fever and I had an inkling his interest in the high flying world of finance was waning.

So I saw Will off to yacht design school, and he commendably drifted away from an industry notorious for leaving people under water, to one invested in keeping people above it. And I knew then that Will was on the right track - that my concerns were unfounded - that, as I always suspected, he is a great friend with an inquisitive nature and the wonderful ability to remain true to himself.

And since leaving design school, he has impressively been expanding his resume with a collection of former employers at a lofty and vigorous pace - a list long enough to make any girl blush.

But I'm sure it wasn't just Will's shunning of the affluent world of finance that drew Brooke to Will's side. Will's abilities as a master shucker, fisherman, guitarist and ukulelist surely rank high. A pioneer of extreme croquette, beach bocce and other leisure activities, he possesses an amazing appreciation for artfully applied alliteration.

And as a dreamer of dreams and a traveling man, he has chalked up many a mile. He's read dozens of books about heroes and crooks, and learned much from both of their styles.

And indeed Will is a hero of mine and a hero to many. He has all along followed his heart, challenged his mind, and made use of his many talents - he did a great job writing this speech.

It's been a long haul raising the lad - and the work is not complete, the struggle must go on - but Bill, Susan and myself are delighted, and relieved, to have Brooke on board to help in our extraordinary efforts - and in a fully realized and legally binding capacity.

So at this point let's raise our glasses to this wonderful couple, and wish them both a long, healthy and happy life together.