Subject A toast by Jerry Scarfman
DateCreated 1/23/2007 6:21:00 AM
PostedDate 1/23/2007 6:07:00 AM
Body Jerry walks to the center of the dance floor, slowly, and with a shaking hand takes the mic from H.  He looks out at the crowd.  His left eye is quivering and his face is as white as the bride's gown.  Haltingly, he begins:
    "Walt," he says.  He pauses to blow his nose.  "Walt Cunningham."  A small cough, and a look back to his table for moral support.  His wife gestures encouragingly, and he continues:
    "If any other man were seated there, today, with a new wife?  It's not just who you are, or what you are, although the who and the what are so tied up in the why of it all that no one even asks where it all began!"  Several people in the puzzled crowd scratch their heads.  A sudden steely gaze takes the place of his emotional blurriness. "But I can answer the how."
    "It was thirteen years ago.  That's the when, but when is not the important part.  You and I were in Jamestown, standing on the rocks at Beavertail, watching the water splash higher and higher; so high in fact, that we didn't at first notice the rain.  We thought it was the splashes reaching heaven.  We had just finished our first semester at URI - you as a Drama major, and me a Chem major with a minor in Archery.  And you turned to me, and said the thing that has carried me through my adulthood.  MY ADULTHOOD, Walt.  Words that I have repeated to myself every time life has thrown me a curveball, or fastball, or... knuckleball..."  Here his wife walks up and takes his hand, mouthing the words "you can do it, Jerry, you can do it."
    "'When all is said and done,' you told me, 'It won't be hard to walk away.  I'll move on to the next place, the next job, the next set of friends, and start my new life.  But Jerry, don't forget:  wherever I am and whomever I'm with, there will always be a clove cigarette and single-malt scotch waiting for you.  Friends forever, man.'"  Here Jerry breaks down completely, sobbing "you KNOW I'm a crier.  YOU KNOW I'M A CRIER!  In case anyone out there was wondering, I AM A CRIER!"
    "Can you imagine how I felt?", he groaned.  "Knowing that I have a friend so true, so pure?  I remember talking to his first wife, Amanda, the day before he left her, and how she lovingly described how he had just quit his job.  He just walked in and said to his boss, 'Thanks.  It's been great.'  Then he packed up his stuff and left with his head held high.  He even kissed his secretary, Janine, on the way out.  What class!  What strength!  He was in Hawaii with Janine when little Walt Jr. went in for spinal surgery, but he had the amazing willpower to stay out there while his son was in Intensive Care.  What better way to show how certain he was that everything would be all right in the end!  And how about the time that I was arrested for insider trading?  He sent flowers to the trial!  Flowers..."  Here Jerry doubles over in grief as his wife rubs his shoulders and the clearly-horrified crowd looks at the band, desperate for someone to stop him.  C starts to move to the center of the dance floor to cut him off but Jerry comes up for air like a tuna flopping on the deck of a trawler.
    "AND WHAT ABOUT ANNIE?  REMEMBER ANNIE?  God, I loved her so much,  it was like being in heaven when I was around her.  We would go out on the East Side, drink martinis and talk about you for hours.  I remember how I told you I was going to ask her to marry me and you were so sure that it was a bad idea that you seduced her!  I walked in on the two of you, on my couch, in my apartment, even though you both had your own places, that was ok, it just showed me how important you thought it was that I know, that, she, was, the ..."
    With this Jerry collapses.  The Function Coordinator sends two busboys over to hoist him off of the dance floor, and Walt and his bride go to cut the cake.