Truth by Alexander – I’ve been listening to this song all year, and I thought I really need to write a WD about this. Whatever random chance goes into the selection of WDs intervened. Then as the end of year approaches I think, you know, that’s really one of the best songs I’ve heard all year, I think I’ll put it in the top 16. Then I felt guilty about neglecting it. So here it is. Alexander is Alex Ebert of the completely awesome hippie commune weirdos Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros. See if you can’t get the whistling out of your head.
That’s what I’m saying about Truth. Below is what I’m saying about The Truth.
Tufts of white hair encircle the preacher’s ears like snowy shrubbery obfuscating flesh-colored satellite dishes. His head is bent into another, his arm around the other’s shoulder dishelving his vestments as they share quiet words. A report is delivered. Solemn heads are nodded. Vestments are straightened with a single tug at the waist. The preacher ascends a makeshift stage.
The music has stopped and there’s a hushed, but drunken silence in the room punctuated by the overbearing whispers of men understanding the need to be quiet but laden with far too much scotch to fully comply.
All eyes are on the preacher as he takes the heretofore unused microphone.
“OK, everyone. Thank you for waiting.” A grandfatherly smile curls his lips.
“A little update I’m told Mr. Ford has been found. Without scaring anyone too much, apparently he was outside sharing a cigarette with his girlfriend and he was abducted by, ahhh, some local youths.”
Gasps, “ohmygods,” quickly scuttled laughter.
“Yes, I know, I know, it’s OK. Apparently the youths said something about the groom, and Ford heard it and went to defend his honor. But was overwhelmed by their numbers and thrown into the drainage culvert on the south end of the property.”
Certain heads in the room circle, looking for other heads to share in complete skepticism.
“The police say he was very brave.”
The room combines with hums of relief.
“Everyone please continue to have good time. We’ll find someone to fulfill Ford’s duties should he not make it back from the hospital.”
Earlier that week, Ford had tripped and fallen, ruining his face and making all group wedding pictures exercises in sadistic torture porn. Then he’d vomited with such unexpected gusto at the rehearsal dinner, for years to come the waitstaff would consider it the lowest point of their employment. However, there was but one duty remaining.
The bald groomsman sat near the front next to the perturbed wife. The rest of the wedding party had forgiven the dancing incident a half hour earlier, but she had not.
At the head of the table, the round-faced groom barked. His beard hid the chuckle those in the room had grown to love. His beautiful bride sat next to him, no longer with the concern that this day might be anything less than perfect, her high cheek-boned smile impenetrable.
“He’s talking to you, dumbass.”
“Melon, we need ya.”
Realization of what’s being asked settles on the bald groomsman. Then panic. He sees the groom across a bar table years before, that same chuckle erupting at him for stuttering. He hears every joke he’s made at the groom’s expense. He then understands that this he might owe.
The bald groomsman scans the room for wedding party mates. Mackey and PK, each two bridesmaids deep, clearly transmit that the last thing in the world they want to do is be on a stage and embarrass themselves. His eyes find Leo, but he’s equally uninterested, preparing to execute blood-vengeance on Ford’s attackers.
“Buddy, nothing elaborate.”
With that, the bald groomsman is ushered to the stage. Without thinking, the microphone is in his hand.
“uhhh, well, I guess I’m gonna say a few words in memory of Ford.”
“He’s not dead, idiot.”
“Ya I know. OK, now when you do these things, they’re supposed to have an anecdote, that shows how long and how well you’ve known the groom, then kind of a sweet platitute about marriage, then some well wishes and then the toast. I’ll do my best to stick to script.”
“There was one time, like, jeez, ten years ago, when Greg, Ford and I decided, for Greg’s birthday, we’d put on shirts and ties and go up to Covergirls in south Oklahoma City -”
Every female eye in the room, owned by a married head or not, jumps to him casting ice-cold needles through the meat of his body. The shock is immediate and well resonated. Wedding memory protectors are taut, poised to strike him down where he stands.
A mist of sweat breaks out glistening his bald head reminding everyone why cue-ball is such an apt metaphor.
“-and we had a really great time.”
“OK, moving on. Uh, Ford, the Truth, er uh Greg and I moved in together when we, Ford and I, were 23 and he was 28. And he was the oldest person I knew, that I still considered my age…and now, ten years later, that’s still pretty much the case.”
“We lived together for three years. And in those three years, everything I learned about being an asshole, a loud drunk irreverant asshole, Greg taught me.”
“But, a lot of what I know about being a man, taking care of your shit, working hard, never feeling entitled, he also taught me. So my wife has both to begrudge him and to love him.”
“His beautiful wife’s gonna do a lot of that too.”
“To both of you, best wishes. It doesn’t get easier, but it does always get better.”
“To my friend, the consummate adventurer, the man who never finds anything he doesn’t know at least something about, The Truth, congratulations.”
“May today be the first of the happiest days of your life.”