A toast to my sister’s wedding.

(Note: Not my sister. Not my brother-in-law. Not an actual ninja.)

I don’t write about my family all that often, because they specifically asked me not to and the court order they gave me looks to be pretty solid, but I’m making an exception just this one time. I hope you’ll forgive this momentary detour into reality-based matters. Rest assured, I’m sure I’ll find a funny picture of a squirrel to write about in the very near future.

So my sister Erin and my now brother-in-law Dave got married this last week (which you already knew, if you happen to read this geek’s column). It was in Fargo, which meant a 200-mile drive for my five-months-pregnant wife and me. But things went well, and my wife’s spirits were high the entire weekend, mostly because she was going to a wedding that she didn’t have to spend eight months planning for, which was a refreshing change of pace. For my part, I just like going anywhere with free peanuts. And I was not disappointed.

During the early stages of planning for the wedding, my sister had asked if I expected a role in their wedding, since she had been one of my wife’s bridesmaids, and I had Dave as one of my groomsmen. Yes, I replied, I wanted to be the minister, since I had taken a course online and had almost passed it. Besides, I thought I’d look very dapper in a robe and matching pope hat. So you can imagine my disappointment when instead I ended up being the night’s unofficial videographer, meaning they already had a professional videographer, but my parents had just bought a video camera they couldn’t figure out, so they needed someone else to do it for them. Unable to find someone marginally capable for the job, they asked me to do it instead, and now have a poorly lit video of their daughter’s wedding with many, many awkward transitions from the ceremony to the back of my brother’s big, dumb head as a result.

While I’m on the subject of videos, since the so-called “professional” videographer never came around to do interviews with the wedding guests like a good videographer should, here’s what I was going to say in mine. And yes, I did think this up ahead of time and may have written it down onto note cards, because I am honestly that lame as a human being.

“Do you two happen to remember what you said in our wedding video two years ago? As I recall, you thanked us for getting married and taking the heat off of you for providing Mom with a grandchild. Well, guess what. Grace period’s over. That’s right. See, as you can tell, we’ve lived up to our responsibilities. So tag. You’re it! (laughs maniacally)”

After that, I was going to spend the rest of my allotted time with a little routine I’ve been practicing involving a unicycle, three poodles, fifteen sparklers laced between my fingers and toes and a dinner plate balanced on my forehead. I like to call it “A Tribute to the Boys Abroad.” You should’ve seen it. It was gonna be so sweet.

Anyway, so as I’m videotaping the festivities, silently cursing the pastor out from underneath my breath, I was momentarily struck by the surreality of it all when, as my sister was walking down the aisle, I had a sudden flashback from the look in her eyes to the little girl that I grew up with, who tagged along with my brother and I as we roamed the countryside aimlessly outside of our house during the summers. And suddenly, it’s twenty years later and she’s getting married. And that’s when the “How the hell did this all happen?” moment struck me, and it was all I could do to not drop the video camera and run screaming from the hall into the cold, empty night. Because the last time I did that at my own wedding, everyone refused to stop talking about it, and I’ll be damned if that ever happens again.

So I guess if I can drop the dumbass shtick for just a moment, I just wanted to say that I’m proud of my sister and that I love her very much. I’ve always felt like I was never all that good at doing the things big brother should do, like defending you from a cold, scary world, but that’s always been because it’s never seemed like you needed anyone to do that for you, because you’ve always done that for yourself better than anyone else ever could. But if you ever do need someone for the job, I know that Dave can do it and has done it, so I’m happy to welcome him to the family, despite the fact that he’s been a part of the family for years already. You two are a great couple, and I look forward to that being the case for many, many more years to come.

Congratulations, Erin, and I’m sorry I tried to throw you down the stairs that one time when I was seven.

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