This past weekend, my older brother got married. Here's what I had to say about it.
I've been looking forward to giving this toast for several years now, long before Arthur and Joanne had gotten engaged - or met even - and I spent most of a solid hour working on it last night. So, I think you're all going to really enjoy the next 45 minutes.
I've got two stories for you tonight. One of them is mostly true, and the other story is completely made up, and your job is to figure out which one is made up. And if you get it right, I will let you buy me a drink at the open bar later tonight.
So here's the first story. It was early February, 1987. I was about three months old, and I still remember it like it was yesterday. Arthur and I were sitting in the living room, playing chess and drinking iced lattes. And I was dominating, having just taken Arthur's queen with a masterful knight fork. I was a baby at the time, so I stuck the queen in my mouth.
It tasted like victory.
But that victory didn't last long, for soon enough the sky outside our window darkened, and storm clouds rolled across the sky, one of those big summer storms that always comes in early February. The wind howled and the tornado sirens wailed. The lightning flashed and the thunder thundered. We totally ran out of iced lattes. I curled up into a ball, scared and crying, snot running down my face. But Arthur just took me in his arms, wrapped me in his favorite blue blankie, and told me that he loved me, and that everything was going to be OK.
"Hush now, little brother," Arthur said. "Whatever happens, I'll be here with you."
I have no idea where my parents were at the time.
From that day on, I knew that Arthur loved me, and that he always would. No matter how many times I annoyed him, or how closely I followed him around the house. No matter how many fights we got into or toys we stole from one another. No matter how many times I whacked him with a plastic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sword or how many times I curled up in a fetal position on the couch to avoid a well-deserved pummeling. No matter how many times I beat him at a board game, and he flipped the board over in anger in the middle of crowded Subway. And no matter how many of those pieces ended up in strangers' food. I never doubted for a second, that my brother loved me. He was my protector and my hero, the guy I wanted to be like, and the one who inspired me to better myself. He was my older brother, and he was and is everything that an older brother should be.
So here's the second story. This time, it's late May 2001. I'm about to be a freshman in high school; Arthur's about to be a junior. Like the last story, we were in the living room, but this time we were playing the greatest videogame of all time: International Track and Field, on Sega Dreamcast. Right before the start of the 100 meter dash, the doorbell rings, causing me to false start.
So I open the door, and standing on our porch are three young ladies. And not just any young ladies. Three of the best looking young ladies in our entire high school. And Rochester High School, if you don't know, is a massive institution with literally hundreds of students, many of whom are female. So you can imagine how good-looking these young women were.
Now, this is going to be a surprise for you, I know, but they weren't there to see me. They were there to see Arthur. So fast forward forty-five minutes: I'm sitting on the couch by myself, drinking an iced latte, while Arthur is outside, chatting up the young women on the porch.
And I realized something. I realized that my brother was sort-of a good looking dude. Girls were interested in him in a way they weren't quite as interested in me.
But, and here's my point, Arthur has always had a lot of girls interested in him. And like those girls on the porch, he let every single one of them walk away.
Until he met Joanne.
Joanne you are smart, you are obviously beautiful. You're fun. You're kind. You're a good dancer. Not quite as good as me, perhaps, and - let's face it - we all stand in awe of my wife's killer moves. But way better than Arthur anyway.
But of all those amazing qualities, what I like most about you, is that you make my brother happy.
Today, you both stood before God and all these people out here who wish I would shut up and get on with it, and you made a sacred vow to love and serve one another for the rest of your life. And as a married man of two years, I can promise you that nothing is more rewarding than loving and serving your spouse. Unless you have kids, of course, but I don't really know how that whole deal works.
So, we're here to celebrate the start of your new life together, the creation of a new family. And it may be that we don't get to see one another as often as we'd like in the coming years. But I promise I'll be thinking about you every day, and I'll be praying for you at least once every other week. It'd be more, but I'm trying to start a writing career, and I got my own problems. And with everyone else here, I'm excited to watch you guys grow together, and love each other.
So with that, I think I'll just wrap up 40 minutes early, and if you have a glass, please raise it with me. If you don't, just pretend. And let's toast the health, wealth, and happiness of this new family. Arthur and Joanne Jeffers. Cheers.
Jordan Jeffers changed some names in this speech because of privacy is important. Feel free to give him electronic encouragement via the little Facebook and Twitter buttons below. It means more to him than you might think.