Hey, Where Ya From?



Looking back on the most humiliating moments in a life full of them, I have come to realize that about 80% weren’t even my fault. They had nothing to do with me, and yet, I have borne witness to things so embarrassing that I felt mortified just by being there. This is what I mean, and this is by no means an isolated incident, just one of the most memorable.

My ex’s Uncle Billy was married to his Aunt Rose for 40+ years. Remember Aunt Rose of cake stand fame? Well, she died, and not long after that, Uncle Billy took himself a new bride, a very large lady named Evelyn. The wedding was one of the most cringe-inducing experiences of my life.

This one even tops the time at a NY wedding where the lights dimmed, guests were told to take their seats, and a quartet of the world’s most untalented women took to the stage and sang, “It’s Raining Men”, complete with slickers and twirling umbrellas. One of them fell on the fake rain and broke her leg. It was awful.

It didn’t stop the revelry. The DJ kept the tunes coming, and people were dancing amid the EMTs and stretchers. It was a free-for-all in Great Neck, but that’s another story.

Ok – back to the Uncle Billy nuptials. The MC/singer/band leader was a real piece of work. Did you ever see the Johnny Venture character on “Rhoda” or Bill Murray on SNL? That is exactly what he was like, so we’ll call him Johnny.

Johnny was the star of the day, not the bride and groom. He started his schtick by making continual jokes on all that could go wrong on the wedding night. The happy couple being in their late 60’s, so let’s just say that none of the jokes was a testament to Uncle Billy’s ability to perform. This carried us through the soup course.

During salad service, Johnny undid his tie ala Sinatra, and said, “I’d like to do a song by a young lady out of The Windy City, a place I like to call Chicago. She went on to become a superstar.” Now, I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t call Minnie Riperton a superstar, but whatever. The point is that he not only sang “Loving You” in that high, high falsetto voice, but roamed the tables accosting guests to sing with him. At one point, about 80% of the room was in line for the restrooms, whether they had to go or not.

Johnny practiced what he preached (“It’s all about the love, people!”) and tried to referee a little tiff between the bride and her daughter. The problem seems to have been the daughter’s choice of outfit – a long white lace dress, The bride took umbrage at this breach of fashion etiquette, and heated words were exchanged.

Long story, short – Johnny intervened and made the unfortunate choice of having a live microphone to document his attempts at detente. His involvement ended when the daughter told him to back off or she would shove the mic “up his ass so far it would knock out his dental caps.” Back to the bandstand.

Johnny probably felt the time was right to get warm and fuzzy. So – Toast Time! Given by the best man? No. Anyone related to the couple? No. It seems that Johnny had appointed himself as toastmaster.

I’ve already told you that Evelyn was a very large woman, and in no way would I make fun of her for that. As a formerly obese person myself, I know how hurtful and destructive those comments can be. I am just telling you what he said, just when you thought he couldn’t get any worse. Toast time is usually heralded by someone clinking a glass with a spoon. Not this time.

“QUIET!” At this time I would like for you all to raise your glasses and join me in wishing a long (how long could it be? yuk yuk yuk) and happy life to Billy…..and Elephant!”

All I can remember is staring at my champagne so intently, I could have melted the glass. Then, I felt pins and needles in my head. I didn’t dare look up because I have never – NEVER – wanted to laugh so hard in my life. It was painful, it was awful. I had to leave the room because I was crying with suppressed hysteria.

Sometimes I tell a story that sounds so crazy, it is unimaginable. I don’t make this stuff up, folks. If I could, I would be a successful novelist. I just chronicle actual events, because some of them are so bizarre, they defy belief.

Anyway, we all breathed a sigh of relief when Johnny mopped his brow like James Brown. I’m surprised he didn’t have someone come out and drape a cape over his shoulders after his virtuoso performance, and have his depleted self escorted offstage. I have truly never witnessed anything like it, and although I had no hand in it, I have rarely been more humiliated in my life. See what I mean?





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