Next month my husband is flying to Wisconsin to serve as a groomsman in his friend Jeff's wedding. Jeff, PhD-holding though he may be, most definitely falls into the category of Monkey Friend; he and Kent met when they were in grade school and for better or worse, he's not going anywhere. He was Kent's best man at our wedding, and when my friend Lee - my matron of honor - met Jeff for the first time, she remarked, Huh, you know, if you hadn't told me about his PhD, I kinda would have assumed he was stupid.
Perhaps you are familiar with this particular type, the Academic Idiot, who manages to publish lengthy articles on economic theory but can't master etiquette or common sense or basic conversation skills. They are more common than you think, and I worry that too much time in academic isolation causes the bad manners and misguided social skills to fester. Jeff has never had what you or I would call a "job;" he is currently working as a professor who somehow doesn't have to ever teach classes - at a very prestigious university, mind you! - but I am pretty sure this is his first ever paycheck. "Studying Economics-n-stuff" is apparently a pretty good gig.
And now Jeff is getting married. To someone very young and much, much more attractive than he has any right to be marrying. And that wedding is going to be a CONVENTION of the Monkey Friends.
The best man is my most hated of all the Monkey Friends. His name is Fuzz and no, that is not my secret internet nickname for him, that is what people have called him since he was a kid and it is what he still introduces himself as if you are lucky enough to meet him. He thinks everyone should sleep with a loaded shotgun under their bed, that DUIs are a socialist plot, that fags should stay the hell away from him, and that women should sit down, shut up and get him a beer. He is delightful. Fuzz's roommate (and secret lover, at least in my head) is Kent's Monkey Cousin, Greg. Greg is just like Fuzz, only bigger, slower, and dumber. He is slightly less bitter and bigoted, but makes up for it by being much LOUDER and thinking he is much FUNNIER. By virtue of both always being at the exact same dive bar, every single night, Fuzz and Greg got to be friends, meeting for beers and Cornhole (What? What's that? You don't KNOW what Cornhole is? Ah, then you haven't truly experienced the west side of Cincinnati...Cornhole is basically a bean-bag toss. Yes, that's the whole game, and YES there is a Cornhole station or field or lane or whatever you call it in the back of Miss Kitty's, the dive bar I mentioned. And YES it really is called Cornhole and YES the bar really is called Miss Kitty's and YES it is exactly as it sounds). Then, Fuzz bought a house within walking (staggering) distance of Miss Kitty's and Greg decided 27 was too old to live with his parents who were NOT within staggering distance of Miss Kitty's (and Greg's license has been taken away. Guess why...) and so Greg moved in with Fuzz and they thought it would be cool to nail empty beer cans to their walls and SO THEY DID.
Initially, Fuzz was the best man and Kent was one of the groomsmen and the other groomsmen were either the bride's brothers or Jeff's post-Monkey friends. Then Greg was added as an usher, basically due to proximity and the fact that he and Fuzz are always, always, always together. Greg is a cheap motherfucker and Fuzz is apparently bringing a real live WOMAN date to the wedding, so Greg called Kent and asked if he wanted to share a hotel room. Greg correctly assumed I wasn't going, or maybe just deleted me from his awareness on account of us pretty much hating each other and avoiding circumstances that cause us to share the same breathing space. Kent agreed to share the hotel room, even though he is going to a SMALL TOWN IN WISCONSIN and the hotel fare is not expensive and having your own hotel room is nicer than sharing with your fat, loud, perpetually drunk cousin. Then Greg called back, because one of the peripheral Monkey Friends got a late invite (another one added due to proximity!!!) and was also going to the wedding because it seemed like a fun weekend for all the guys to be together and "get really fucked up." This newest Monkey Friend? Is called Crazy Dan Tanner. Because he is CRAZY. He is a POLICE OFFICER and he thinks it is super fun to show up at bars, get drunk, and then show everyone his gun. I HATE Crazy Dan Tanner. The last time I saw him was at a wedding four years ago, and I had to sit next to him at dinner and watch him get progressively drunker and drunker as the night wore on, until finally, the kegs ran dry and do not even get me started on the kegs because I am apparently a snooty Yankee snob and kegs are totally the appropriate route to go at weddings, and me and my fancy “bottled beer” can just as apparently S-U-C-K I-T.
So Greg calls Kent and says, Dude, is it okay if [Crazy] Dan Tanner stays in our room too, maybe we can get a roll-a-way bed or something? And STILL my husband is agreeing to this, when his very own hotel room which would NOT require anyone to sleep on a roll-a-way bed and would NOT serve as Ground Zero for "getting really fucked up" would only cost about $70. He agrees to share the room with two FAT AND LOUD DRUNKARDS. Kent tells me this, and right as I start to freak the fuck out about the potential drunk driving scenarios in which he will find himself, Greg calls back and says, "Oh, hey man, [Crazy] Dan Tanner said that you and he had some sort of big falling out nine years ago over his girlfriend and he wants to make sure you're cool with sharing a room. As soon as I heard this addition to the story I got all het up because 1) Who does [Crazy] Dan Tanner think he is, calling the shots when he was on the B List of invitees and 2) GAH WHY DOES HUSBAND HAVE THESE PEOPLE IN HIS LIFE STILL WHEN THERE ARE SO MANY OTHER NICE MAN FRIENDS HE COULD HAVE and 3) How on earth was Kent ever remotely involved with any woman who was also involved with [Crazy] Dan Tanner, because EW!!!
This latest bit of drama finally convinced Kent that perhaps getting his own hotel room would be the better option, and as for his explanation of the "falling out" over a girl, he has no idea what [Crazy] Dan Tanner is talking about and simply remembers hanging out a lot with some (in my head) trashy girl named Shannon a lot back in the old days. I asked him why he was hanging out with all these characters nine years ago, since that would have put him in college, and he answered that he went home every other weekend or so and saw all his high school friends and suddenly I wanted to jump up and shout EUREKA because the crux of the problem had been located, which is that when everyone else was moving on and making new friends, Kent was driving two hours to drink Coors Light with all the jackasses who DIDN'T GO ANYWHERE after high school.
(And let me offer a brief aside regarding the jackasses and Coors Light: A year ago, we were in Cincinnati and went to Miss Kitty's to see the Monkey Friends - and do not even get me started on why we ALWAYS have to go there when there are many other fun places and nice bars we could patronize - and Kent bought everyone a round of beers. He set the bottle of Miller Lite in front of Fuzz, who was across the bar. Kent came back to where I was sitting, shortly followed by Fuzz who HANDED BACK the beer and said, Sorry man, I only drink Coors Light, and waited for Kent to buy him a new beer.)
Where was I? Oh right, being the mean snotty shrew wife from the Big City who thinks she’s too good for Kitty’s (if you’ve been enough, the “Miss” in unnecessary). Now, I wasn’t skipping the wedding on account of the Monkey Convention, although it may have been the tipping point. I’m skipping the wedding because it costs a lot of money to fly to a small town in Wisconsin and to board a little black dog, and once in Wisconsin I would be basically on my own as Kent would be busy with all the Monkeying/ groomsman business and also I think he was a little afraid that my scorn might put a damper on the event, even though I promised to be nice. I was wavering over whether or not to go, and then Greg was added as an usher and I thought that staying home would be the sensible thing to do. My mother and father in law – who REFUSE to travel to New York – also were invited to the wedding and decided that a nice, leisurely 15 hour drive sounded great to them, so they are also going to the wedding, and now, not only does my decision to stay home seem sensible, it seems like an effective method of damage control, because if there is one thing worse than being all alone at a wedding with no one to talk to because my date is at the head table with his jackass friends, it’s being all alone at a wedding with only my in-laws to talk to while my date is at the head table with said jackasses.
But! [Crazy] Dan Tanner had pissed me off, first by being an unmitigated asshole, second by crashing my husband’s hotel room, and third by implying that my husband made a move on his skank girlfriend back in 1996. So I told Kent that if he wanted, I would come to the wedding and wear a really hot dress and make [Crazy] Dan Tanner sorry he ever tangled with him. I would even spend the weekend with Kent’s parents, if it meant an opportunity to stick it to [Crazy] Dan Tanner while simultaneously making sure Greg NEVER EVER EVER got behind the wheel of any vehicle containing my husband.
Kent declined my offer, but agreed to book his own hotel room, and I made him promise not to get in a car with Greg, not to get drunk before the ceremony, not to do ANYTHING with Greg or at Greg’s suggestion, and above all, no matter how many times he asks, do not go hunting with Fuzz.
I am a little nervous about the weekend and also incredibly relieved that I do not have to go, because yesterday Kent got his itinerary from the bride, and following the rehearsal dinner is “PARTYING AT McFRATTY O’BEERBONG SPORTS BAR WOOOO!!!!!”
Maybe I am a big fat wet towel. Maybe I’m too judgmental. Maybe Coors Light really IS vastly different from Miller Lite. Maybe a little Monkey business will do Kent good. And maybe we should have had a few kegs at our wedding.