I’ve recently been assigned the task of giving a speech at a friend’s wedding(and by ‘recently’ I mean ‘six months ago’, but in the mind of the aggrieved procrastinator every task has only ever been assigned ‘recently’). Fantastic! I thought, having given a Best Man’s speech before, giving a speech as a random wedding attendee should be a walk in the park! Then came the killer caveat, the ‘almost’ at the end of “Superman is almost invincible”:
“If you do it impromptu, I’ll kill you.”.
And in that second my friend had transformed herself from the supportive friend doing me the honour of wanting me to speak at her wedding, to Lex Luthor cruelly insisting Clark Kent punch through a wall of steel whilst hanging a block of kryptonite over his head. Damn you Lex!
How could I not be impromptu, I wondered. Some of the best things in my life had come about thanks to the virtues of ill-preparedness(not that I’ve ever actually done anything without having been ill-prepared for it of course)! Even the aforementioned Best Man’s speech was formulated at the dinner table a few minutes before I was due to speak.
Panicked, I flicked open The West Australian for inspiration. Not sure why I did this as the West Australian seldom inspires me to do anything other than start a mine, shoot sharks, or solve homicides. Lo and behold though, there was a story of a couple of backpackers who had been found after they’d been wandering the desert for several days. Instantly I felt a degree of empathy for these fellow travellers. THEY probably never realised they had to prepare for things either, and yet there they were, thrust into the desert ill-prepared(admittedly, they had thrust themselves into said desert), and the world had suddenly decided that not carrying a compass or a map just wasn’t good enough.
Of course, discovering that there were people like me starving in the desert, wasn’t really helping matters. I really needed the equivalent of the WA Search & Rescue to help me out. And in the world of the written word, that can only mean one thing: Google.
So I googled ‘wedding speeches’ when I really meant to type ‘google will you please write me my wedding speech’. The links were atrocious. Way up the list was a site featuring speech tips from a group calling themselves ‘Sounz Entertainment’. Wasn’t sure I wanted to get wedding speech tips from a group who couldn’t be bothered typing the last two letters of their first name into the Companies Register.
Disappointingly, Google didn’t actually do what I wanted it to do. It didn’t write my speech for me. Which is a bit of a letdown considering it’s read every email I’ve written, website I’ve surfed, and inane question I’ve pondered.
Instead of writing the speech, it provided links to cliched speeches on YouTube from 2007 and spyware honey pots erected by Nigerian spammers. You know the type, a website, usually designed with Microsoft Word, sporting some hideous fluoro-coloured border(all the rage in Nigeria apparently), featuring content copied from somewhere else on the web, along with lots and lots of banner ads(also all the rage in Nigeria).
This content wasn’t very helpful either(although perhaps that should have been relatively obvious the first time that pink border loaded up). It advised me to ‘be funny’, without providing me any tips on how to do so. Worse still, one of the pages told me to be funny without referring to the ‘Two Ps'(‘poop’ and ‘penis’) in my speech. Which, of course, forced me to cross out the few sentences of the speech that I had already written.
Then again, maybe there isn’t much content on the web about this because nobody has actually produced any original material on the process they went through to write a speech for a wedding. Although how useful would such a log actually be?:
Day One(the only day, SO FAR!)
Lots of groom speeches on the internet. Not particularly helpful as am guessing the families of the bride and groom would not be particularly pleased if I plagiarised one of these speeches and started talking about how much I looked forward to a life together with the bride.
One of the best wedding speeches some guy(or girl, so hard to tell with these internet types) on the internet has ever heard involved some groom commenting on how short the sex with his wife was going to be that night. Not sure sure this would have been the best idea for a groom, and also probably not a great idea for my own speech either.
Decided the internet is not the way to go, and that I am better off following the witticisms of polemicists, then seeking to channel their wit into a wedding speech of some description. Read a couple of articles by Christopher Hitchens to this effect, now thoroughly convinced that God doesn’t exist. Bit of a shame really, as this means there’s one less person available to help me with my speech. Sigh.