Believe it or not, I've got "writer's block."
Certainly not as it pertains to "Nuts About Southwest," of course–I can always find something to share with you guys–nor does it pertain to my work. Trust me, the Schedule Planning Department is hummin' these days, and the only difficulty I'm having in writing up studies and reports is trying to find at least a little humor to "punch up" the otherwise bone-dry (but interesting!) content.
The problem is that I have the most important speaking engagement in my life coming up. I'm the Best Man in the wedding of my son, Officer Owen, and I am struggling MIGHTILY to write the Best Man's toast. And yes, I'm writing the toast, in advance, treating it as a speech. I do not trust my brain to fully deliver instructions to my mouth before my mouth decides to start speaking on such an important occasion. Don't get me wrong, I usually enjoy speaking extemporaneously, but sometimes words just start flowing before my grey matter has finished delivering instructions, particularly when I'm stressed, emotional, or trying to multi-task.
Take the incident a few years ago, when I was carrying an armload of food into the breakroom that my Department shares with the Revenue Management group. Unbeknownst to me the R.M. folks were having a staff meeting in there, so as I struggled through the door, my arms laden with food containers, 28 startled heads turned my way. I swear, in my head, I remember starting to say "Don't mind me!" and for some reason half way through I switched to "Don't let me bother you!" Unfortunately, what I actually said was a cheery and booming "Don't bother me!" Or, for a more recent example, yesterday I was discussing details of the upcoming nuptials, and the question that I intended to ask was "how many invitations are you sending out for the wedding?" In true form, what actually came out of my mouth was, "how many invitations are you sending out for the funeral?" To make matters worse, I was talking to my future daughter-in-law at the time.
So for the wedding–the toast should be scripted. That's not the problem. The blockage is over what the script will say. I hardly think I'll be holding myself up as a paragon of wedded bliss, as the Officer's mom and I have been divorced for many years now. But there are things I can, and do, want to tell the newlyweds–things I feel intensely and deeply about. Principles that have guided me for years...like the binding power of love. The healing power of laughter. The destructive power of anger. And the redemptive power of forgiveness.
Or, maybe, I should simply toast their future and offer some guidelines for success, many of which my Mom and Dad taught me. Obvious things, like figure out what you like to do, and then find a way to make a living doing it. I certainly have done it–16 years and counting at the best airline in the world!–and I hope they can find similar fulfillment. Or maybe a tip you can only learn from experience, such as never, ever cook a steak more than medium-rare (the Gods weep at brown, dry meat). Or perhaps just some simple "user instructions" for a marriage–like "IF YOU HAVE TO LIFT A LID, PUT IT DOWN WHEN YOU'RE DONE." (This applies both in the bathroom and in the kitchen)
I don't knowÃ¢â‚¬¦maybe I will just speak, extemporaneously, from the heart. Maybe I've said all I need to say over the past 23 years, as has the Officer's mom, and as have the parents of the future Mrs. Officer Owen. Maybe a simple "health, wealth, and happiness" toast will be best. Hopefully, we parental types will have many years to offer gentle reinforcement of previous lessons...and those same future years to learn new lessons, together. Six weeks to go until the wedding--and yes, now I think I know what I'm going to say. And if you have any advice for my toast, or for the kids....please post them as replies. I'll make sure they get them. What a cool, and unexpected, wedding gift that will be!