A while back, my friend Rachel got in touch:
"Am I remembering correctly that you can marry people?"
"We may be in need of your service. I believe we (she and her ex-husband Tom) may get re-married so that we can do a VA loan for a house. I will let you know if we do."
"It will be simple. You basically just have to sign the license. We can do it at Jimbo's."
"How romantic. Right in front of the fresh pickles."
"We can do it over lunch and it will be done, clean and simple. That's all we want."
"I understand exactly what you want. No Santa jacket, no ram's horn, no drummers."
"Right. None of that."
"Yes, but I do have to sing a song. My philisophical doctrine requires it."
"I love you but I don't think Tom would go for that..."
"It doesn't have to be a long song but everybody at Jimbo's must listen to it. Now, does Tom have a favorite Broadway show? I could do something from 'Guys and Dolls' or 'Oliver'."
"Um, I would have to say no. He's not a Broadway kind of guy."
"Ugh. Fine. No song then. It will be fine. Non-traditional and unorthodox but fine. Fine-ish, anyway."
"Can you do Friday at noon?"
"Yes, that will do, my child."
"Now, who will be wearing the helmet? It can be either of you. Your choice."
"Yes, the sacred ceremonial helmet."
"Assuming you're providing it, I guess I could wear it. If it's absolutely necessary."
"Of course it's necessary, especially in lieu of no song and of course I have one. It's very classy."
"All right, If you say so."
"How many bridesmaids will there be and please rank them individually on a scale of 1-10 in terms of loose moral standards. 10 being 'The Best' and 1 being 'unlikely to put out'."
"It's just going to be the three of us so I guess you'll have to pick up a waitress. I have no idea how loose any of them are."
"Ah. No song, no bridesmaids. Not ideal but I can make it work."
I was really excited. Finally, I would get to commit my first real, live wedding! We met at Jimbo's last Friday. I got there early and then Rachel got there. Tom was a few minutes late and after a few runaway bride jokes, he showed up. We ordered lunch and got things underway.
I looked over the paperwork. "Yes, yes, everything here seems to be in order." "It is in order", said Rachel. "It's a one-page document from the county that requires three signatures. All you have to do is add yours." "All in good time", I replied as I arranged my ceremonial paraphernalia. First, I produced a copy of The Good Book. Since it was a non-denominational wedding, I didn't bring a bible and figured I would just use A Good Book. The only book I had with me was A Ridiculously Inconsistent Treasury. Pretty good book, I think. Amazon says so anyway.
And then, with much fanfare, the ceremonial helmet.
"Okay, seriously, what's with the helmet?"
"What? It's ceremonial."
"It's a hard hat."
"Right. In this case, it symbolizes your commitment to hard work, the hard work required to make marriage work. Also your commitment to safety, and that's always important. Plus, it's gold which symbolizes money. That's good, right?"
"It says 'Clark Equipment' on it."
"Yeah, well, it's my helmet."
Then it was time for the legal disclaimer...
"Now, we're all straight here, right?"Having gotten everything established, I began the ceremony...
"Yeah, no gay people are participating in this ceremony in any way, correct?"
"Um, yeah, I guess."
"Good. It's very important that it's stated for the record that any mockery, farce, lampoon or spoof directed in the general direction of narrow-minded people who have made it their solemn duty to defend the sanctity of the sacred rite of marriage is being done in the complete absence of any homosexuals whatsoever. Whatever damage is being done to one myopic and archaic definition of the venerable institution here today is entirely the responsibility of straight people. Agreed?"
We are gathered here today
2 get through this thing called life
Electric word, life
It means forever and that's a mighty long time
But I'm here 2 tell u..."
"Okay, who had the cheeseburger?", the waitress interrupted. "Oh, that's mine!", Tom said. I offered, "I'm not done yet" and Tom said "We know but, hey, food's here and it's gonna get cold, so...". He had a solid point so I pushed on...
"Tom, do you take her to be the woman who will live in your new house?"Suddenly I felt powerful. I felt alive! I had just directly impacted the fates of two human beings. A warm feeling of goodness surged through me. I felt the true meaning of being an ordained minister for the first time, an agent of a higher power, on Earth to go forth and do good works. That, or it might also have been the shredded pork sandwich I'd ordered for lunch, which was excellent and that Rachel and Tom paid for.
"Good. Rachel, do you promise to clean that house and cook the meals and stuff?"
"It's just a wedding vow. It doesn't mean anything. Come on, food is getting cold."
"Okay, sure. I do."
"Then if no one here objects... Rachel, go ask that guy over there if he objects."
"Who? The guy with the banana pudding?"
"I'm not asking him that!"
"Then ask if I can have some of that pudding."
"Would you come on, please?"
"All right then. By the power vested in me by the Universal Life Church via the internet, boom, you're married!"