I’m not sure how many people are in the “I had the fortune of witnessing wedding shtick go awry” club. But I am now a proud member. Let me tell you of my inauguration.
My brother got married last Thursday. (Mazal Tov!). Now, I’m gonna to cut to the chase. I’m sure your not that interested in all the dancing and food and what-have-you, so I won’t bore you with it. I’ll start right after the first dance when all the sweaty people were making their way to their seats. The wedding was a tad behind schedule. I saw people looking ahead to their seats with ravenous eyes in an attempt to confirm that their salad was ready to be devoured. But as people settled in, a loud voice filled the room, ushered in by screeching microphone feedback. It was the father of the bride. He had the mike and he was not ready to eat his salad.
He asked for a brief moment from everyone so he could give a few words to the bride and groom who sat before him. He began with a blessing to his darling daughter and newly acquired son. But he had a master plan. He began to incorporate imagery of fire into his blessing. “A husband and wife are like a flame.” “Love burns like fire.” And then the metaphors ended and the madness began.
Since the hungry crowed could only conjure up fiery images of BBQ’s, and not love, the father of the bride thought a little visual aid might assist. He picked up two thin metal rods from the floor, each with a golf ball sized cotton swab at the end. He pulled something from his pocket and within seconds the balls flamed with fiery…fire. As in real fire, not metaphoric fire.
He held one of the rods high in the air and opened his mouth wide. I could see his uvula. He slowly moved the flame towards his face. I worried about his beard (and his uvula). But he didn’t seem scared. He just kept lowing the flame until it was in his mouth. He then sealed his lips around it, extinguishing the flame. A loud applause broke out, like little firecrackers snapping on the Fourth of July. But he wasn’t done.
He picked up a plastic glass of clear liquid from the floor next to him and took a sip, perhaps water to extinguish the burning sensation in his mouth. But he did not swallow. He then raised up the other flaming rod into the air and ferociously spat at it. A huge ball of fire burst into the air. You could hear it’s low rumble. You could feel the heat on your face. The audience let out a gasp. Then applause. He smiled. And took another sip of the clear liquid. Repeat. Another gasp. A little less applause. The room started to smell of gasoline. A thin cloud of dark smoke spread through the room, hugging the ceiling. Another sip. Another flame. A stronger smell. More smoke. Less applause.
Then the room started flashing. I only remembered one photographer at the wedding so I was very impressed with his master picture taking skills. He must have had a fast thumb. Oh, wait. That’s the fire alarm. It’s flashing to notify us that something dangerous is happening. Perhaps there is a fire. What a smart device. It even had a horn, but the horn was far less impressive than the light show.
By now the father of the bride realized it was time to stop blowing giant flaming bubbles into the air. This is about the time my cousin Keith came over to notify me that we were experiencing a blog-entry in the making. He’s a Physics professor. That means he’s smart. So he was right – a blog entry it was.
After a few minutes of open doors and a freezing breeze, the smoke cleared, the flashing stopped, the horn silenced, and calm was restored. And I was left to eat my salad and wonder what breathing fire has to do with love.