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Wedding Zinger

It's tough to wake up at 10:45 on a Sunday morning after only five hours of sleep. It's particularly tough to get up and make it to a noon wedding. In fact, I'm hoping I can just get there without vomiting or shitting my pants (time will tell). Thank God...
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It's tough to wake up at 10:45 on a Sunday morning after only five hours of sleep. It's particularly tough to get up and make it to a noon wedding. In fact, I'm hoping I can just get there without vomiting or shitting my pants (time will tell).

Thank God Lisa and Mike arrive to help me along. Thank God I'm not driving (I don't remember these pants being so tight). I'm free to concentrate on my coffee and this gorgeous fall day, but the truth is, this coffee will be the last beverage I'll drink today that's devoid of alcohol. My head is raging and I'm dizzy. Might be the new medication I'm on for my acid reflux.

Or it might be something else. Like the voice mail I just listened to.

Let me say that I don't want to go to this wedding. I don't want to be in this car — let alone in this jacket and nice pants. Though I look great (considering), I'm only masquerading as a normal, functioning person. The jacket hides my bloated carcass of misguided health.

This morning, the first thing I need is a bathroom and the last thing I need is a message from a medical professional, particularly this message. In disbelief (or shock), I hand the phone to Lisa in the back seat so she can replay the voice mail the nurse left me about "the blood test results" — just to make sure I didn't miss anything. I soon hear laughing.

The message goes something like this: "Mr. Redding, you need to get into our office for an appointment ASAP to discuss your condition. Mr. Redding, your triglycerides are high. Your blood pressure is high. And coupled with your high cholesterol, well, you need to speak to Dr. Motherfucker about getting your fat, lazy, alcohol-soaked underwear back here so we can discuss treatment. And your obesity."

She actually says "obesity." I'm sure that nurse is a fat piece of shit and goddammit, I'd better get in as much drinking as I can before the doc tells me to stop. Oh, and I forgot to mention: Even my good cholesterol is bad. And last but not least (drum roll, please), here's the kicker: I have "elevated liver enzymes"! WTF? The only good thing from the report is that all my STD screening came back negative, so at least one little thing is healthy (but maybe I can tarnish that later — hey, let a pig have his fantasy).

Now that I'm really feeling depressed, it's time to see a happy, grinning couple exchange vows under some contract of love for the rest of their lives. Weddings are depressing enough, but usually you deal with it because it's family or stupid friends, but shit, I'm just a guest. Better yet, I'm a guzzling guest and Lisa knows this chick only through work. So I am strapped with just one stipulation, "Don't get me fired."

We pull up to the well-manicured grounds of the Gainey Ranch Golf Club. A high-end golf resort isn't Booze Pig territory, but who am I too pass up an opportunity to hit an open bar for four hours, particularly when my days (of drinking, at least) may be numbered?

We find our way to some seats and wait for the others to arrive. There must be 75 of us sitting on preschool-size white folding chairs underneath a tree near a water feature and what must be the 18th hole. As the wedding gets under way, I look at the man-made waterfalls. I am mesmerized by the crashing water as I watch a guy sink a sweet 12-foot putt.

I'm hardly aware of anything about the ceremony — not even the bride or groom. All I know is that it's moving quickly and painlessly with not too much God stuff when I notice someone is kissing the bride. My pulse quickens and I get excited. I must be hallucinating because the "someone" kissing the bride is wearing a kilt! He is tall and has bright red hair, and — oh, yes! — he must be Scottish or Irish. ( Hell, it doesn't matter to me; both cultures are famous for heavy drinking.)

Wait, all the men standing up are wearing kilts! I nudge Lisa in excitement, but she doesn't notice because the newlyweds are sauntering by and everyone is cheering.

Finally, it's over, so I spread the good news: "Better strap it on, we're all going to get smashed!" An Irish wedding with an open bar . . . This is going to be trouble, but I have two things going for me — I'm with two lawyers and I'm horribly hung-over. That might slow me down.

Still, I figure we'd better get to the bar now. We walk up the golf path to the cozy clubhouse, where the festivities are being held. It's a big entrance with a large fountain and greenery everywhere. Caddyshack can kiss my ass.

We enter the massive front door and see the crowd off to the right side of the place; there's a receiving line where the groom's father is greeting people. And there's a bar without a fucking bartender — bad planning (or safe planning). Lisa takes a left, and Mike and I follow her toward the golf shop — weird time to look for naked lady golf tees, but as usual, Lisa leads us right to a hidden bar, a perfect escape from the masses.

This nook has four barstools and half a dozen tables, and it even has a balcony with some outdoor seating — score! We sit down and once again: no bartender. Son of a bitch. We notice a nicely dressed lady, and as we are about to ask her about a barkeep, she asks in a snotty tone, "Are you members?"

Um, no. She kicks us out as if we we're storm-drain vagrants.

Feeling rejected (and pissed), we walk to the crowded bar, now chock-full of wedding madness. I make some feeble lawyer joke and am ignored as I have been most of the morning. Lisa shuts my hole by bringing us a round of drinks for breakfast. A bourbon press to top off the coffee for me, Jack and Diet for Lisa, and a beer for Mike (he's driving).

We power through three quick rounds and make small talk. When they finally arrive, the barkeeps are eager to accommodate, and they're pouring 'em strong. And why shouldn't they? It's an open bar.

Our server is awesome. He insists, "Take as many mini beef Wellingtons as you like, and don't forget the coconut shrimp." Believe me, I'm trying to kill this hangover (and myself) and phyllo-wrapped beef is just the ticket.

So I'm swilling a cocktail when I see a tacky old guy walk through the reception area wearing a hat and some stupid golf shirt. "F.U., man" is what I have to say to this audacious intruder, but I keep it under my breath. I almost blurt out, "Hey, are you with the wedding? Get out, you proletariat scum bastard!" I mean, they kicked us out of the bar, why can't we kick them out of the wedding area? I'm all fired up, and Lisa baits me and tells me to find that manager bitch from the small bar. I try, but she's nowhere to be found. Probably huffing whipped cream canisters in the pantry.

All right. It's not my wedding, so I try to calm down (because, hell, I probably have a bad heart, too). I'm sweating a lot and I decide to hide from people instead of stirring the pot.

I end up getting stuck in a conversation with a cop (does he smell like bacon or was it me?) who is trying to tell me about "reconstructing car accidents." Despite the dull conversation with random wedding guests, the place is tops — good service and great drinks. Shit: free drinks. Pig heaven.

With five drinks in me, I finally manage to get to the dining room for the Big Meal. The hangover is not there, but something else is — might be the doctor's message, might be all the happy people. Who fucking knows?

We're greeted by the overzealous DJ, who is tacky as hell and loud. I half expect a monster truck spiel, and I mimic him for the benefit of my table: "Love, love, love . . . two souls of fire-breathing passion!" Half the table laughs (a ratio I'll take any day).

After the food and speeches and smoke breaks and a good hang with the wedding party, I mistakenly call one of the Irish guys (the groom, oops, I guess it does matter) "Scottish." He's pissed, so I tell him to mellow out — "I just watched Braveheart last night." I avoid a fight and even do a shot with him while he announces to the bartender, "One for my new best friend."

Close call, time to flee . . .

Lisa and Mike say their goodbyes. Mike had switched to water after the third beer, and he's ready to drink at home. I'm finally feeling good, so it's time to hit up a bar close to home and really tie one on. Hell, it's not even 4 p.m. yet and I might as well blow it out. Maybe if I feel like shit tomorrow, I'll actually heed the doctor's advice. Or I'll just be dead.

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