Thursday, September 29, 2016

Best Man Speech

In the spirit of wedding season, I decided to publish this on my blog in case anyone else out there was struggling with a "Best Man speech." I delivered it this past weekend and upon delivery, I have a few tips/thoughts.

1) Practice - out loud - even if you are the Micheal Jordan of public speaking you need to practice to deliver a good speech in front of real people. You need to hear your voice and how things sound out loud.

2) Unless you are a professional comedian and constantly making people laugh naturally, stick to being sincere. Maybe lob a couple light hearted jokes but if you try to hard - it will be noticed. 

3) Keep it under 5minutes. Tops.

So, hear is what I have... feel free to use it, or parts of it, or ideas from it or whatever. It is unedited and typed mostly how I spoke it. Good luck.

  Hello, my name is Billy.  

So - Over the years Eric and I have had well-intention-ed arguments over engineering topics, movies (lots of movies), beers, career paths, and even love. Eric asked me to be in his wedding and be a Best Man a while ago and that made me extremely happy. Not only because he was planning a life together with the woman of his dreams (Sarah you look gorgeous!) buuuuut - he was finally admitting that after all those arguments and debates - I - in fact - was the best man all along.

So yeah - Bookie and I met on Sea Term my freshman, his sophomore year. I know half of the room is nick-named "Bookie" - but I can't seem to bring myself to call him "Eric" was on what "Trash Compactor Watch". For those of you who aren't familiar with Mass Maritime, I will spare you the description but just know that - like a lot of things at Mass Maritime Academy - it was a boring and seemingly pointless task on the ship... (I am still not quite sure what we were supposed to be doing?)

But anyways - I was a freshman on a training ship for the first time and after I walked into the trash compactor room and saw Eric sitting there I think the dialog went something like this:
(dweeby voice) "Oh hey man whatcha doing?"
For those of you who don't know this is the voice that every freshman makes at MMA
"I'm on trash compactor watch, go away."
"Trash compactor watch... what's that? The senior sent me down here to help."
"Oh - you really want to help??"
"Sure Sure - teach me something cool"
"Alright well here we go - thiiiiiiis right here is the trash compactor."
"Sit in thiiiis seat... and watch it."
"OK cool  - 10-4"
Eric started to walk out.
"Hey wait where are you going, bro??"
"You just sit there and watch! OK?!"
Eric then proceeded to go up to the mess deck and make a sandwich.

He took his sweet time too... I am not quite sure how long he was gone for but I was pissed. The thing about Eric is that - - And I am sure everyone in the room can relate - - After giving me, much deserved, grief as a silly freshman at MMA on a ship for the first time - - He came down back to watch with a half sandwich for me too.

And if that's not quintessential Eric Bookmiller in a nutshell - I am not quite sure what is... He is always quick with a joke and to poke fun but this guy cares more about each and every one of you in this room more than life itself.

We didn't really talk or hang out much for the rest of sea term (not intentionally or out of spite - but just because we had other groups of friends) but after we got closer over the years we both still lament about the missed potential of friendship and adventures in ports in the Caribbean we could have had if we had known, at the beginning of the relationship, how great of friends we would turn out to be.

Over the next few years, we became close. Late nights cramming for tests, late nights drinking at POC because we didn't want to cram for tests, early morning engineering labs, early mornings hungover at Leo's. There was a whole lot of movies, and a whole lot of Xbox. All along the one common theme in Eric's head was always Sarah.

Just like Eric and I didn't how good of friends we would turn out to be after the trash compactor episode, I am sure Eric and Sarah (though they made had a good feeling about it) probably didn't know how incredible their relationship would turn out at the very beginning. I think that's how the best things often turn out though. You always be yourself, and you always make an effort. Life has a funny way of taking care of the rest.

Though they were in two different states, and sometimes he was in the middle of the ocean - they carved time out for each other and no matter what the situation was they made each other number one in their lives. When ever Eric would hang up the phone, there was always a "She's the one for me... She's my girl." on the tip of his tongue. I didn't know Sarah at the time but one thing was obvious about their relationship all along. They didn't have to change who they were to make each other smile, and they always put effort in and made it work.

Now, a couple weeks ago I emailed both Eric and Sarah and I asked them not to discuss the email with each other. I asked them, among other things to list qualities that they admire most about one another. Honestly, I thought this was just going to be a way to get some ammo for this speech to poke fun at them but I quickly realized after reading the separate responses why these two are meant to be. So, to wrap this up, I just want to share their responses on the top qualities they each listed.

Number one from Eric: She listens to my rants. (No small feat... as most of you know)
Number one from Sarah: He listens to all my crazy and gory work stories.

Eric's number two: She puts up with my dumb jokes
Sarah's two: He is a goofball with a dry sarcastic sense of humor that makes me smile

Three, Eric: She is smart
Sarah: He is willing to learn something new even if it is just to make me happy

Last but not least...
Eric: She's compassionate
Sarah: He sees the best in life no matter what

Clearly they are on the same page as one another...

So let's raise our glasses to Eric and Sarah... When you combine all the above, let's toast to their new life together... and for God's sake that from now on, no one else will have to listen to Eric's weird rants or Sarah's gory work stories, - but most importantly the most compassionate marriage with the driest sense of humor of them all.

1 comment:

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