The pre-wedding party waiting for the special seating arrangements to be completed in the dockside dining area, the one with the curvy bay view windows and naugahyde banquettes with embedded gold glitter, before they could sit down and enjoy a small pre-meal snack squeezed between lunch, appetizers, and the five course dinner to come, were getting to know each other a little better on the outdoor deck adjacent to the patio, munching on salty roasted peanuts, pork rinds, and authentic ranch Doritos coated with MSG. The groom was front and center receiving well wishes from glad-handers on both sides of the aisle, though of course not the bride, who was busy primping elsewhere, along with his two brothers, one younger, one older, who were getting hammered on Bud Lights, seventeen bottles between them since breakfast, plus his father, his mother, her mother, her mother’s mother, a bunch of cousins, aunts, uncles, most known, some unknown, the usual awkward scene in which strangers are meeting strangers who are about to become family, sort of, sixteen adults in all, weighing in at a grand total of 4214 pounds, or thereabouts, give or take, a couple of tons spread somewhat evenly between fat heads and multiple chins, and down to fat ankles and feet, with plenty of jiggling room to spare in the middle.
The groom was itching to join his brothers and get hammered but decided it would be best to hold off a while longer. There was an expression he remembered hearing, sort of, that sounded smart in that uppity egghead kind of way, about discretion, and valor, one or the other being better, unless it was both, although he wasn’t certain what either of those words exactly meant, but on his wedding day it seemed to fit, sort of.
He said, “I’m so hungry, I could eat a horse.”
The restaurant was famous for its mammoth enchiladas stuffed with three kinds of drippy cheese, American, Mexican, and Canadian, and your personal choice of meats. Plus, sour cream and lard up the wazoo. No disagreements on the use of top of the line quality ingredients there. A sort of pain in the ass cousin who came all the way from Barstow, where he managed the largest power washing operation in the high desert, or low desert for that matter, had heard the good word from all that distance away. You should see the size of those gooey mothers, he had heard. He, for one, could hardly wait.
“OMG, look, there’s a walrus.”
“That’s a seal, you dodo.”
“Is that what that smell I’m smelling is?”
“That’s dead fish, dude. This is the ocean.”
“It’s big enough to be a walrus.”
“Yeah, right. Like your face.”
“Hey, watch it. Today’s the day my brother gets hooked.”
“Don’t you think I know not you?”
“Look, those fish aren’t dead. They’re still swimming.”
When a sextet of humpback whales surfaced so close to the shore that the smell of their breath made the groom come astonishingly close to losing the bulk of his appetite, and began to tootle and trumpet like an unleashed band of crazy-assed Dizzy Gillespie disciples, he said,”Pee-yew.”
“Tell me about it.”
“OMG, look at the size of that hole.”
“Gag me with a spoon.”
“Is that where the blowing comes from?”
“OMG, that’s disgusting.
The disgusting smell of life and life only carried by the highly conscious whales started at the bottom of Montery Canyon, where consciousness such as it is on this dwarf planet began, still begins, and continues, more than a mile below the surface, with the phytoplankton eaten by the crustaceous krill, the most abundant species on Earth, who can emit their own light in the near total darkness of the ocean floor, where they dive each day to get away from it all, the clash and the clamor, before rising each night near the surface to achieve luminescence along with the moon, only to be eaten on the up and down highway by salmon, squid, seals, and by the massive tonnage, whales.
You might ask if that isn’t the same funky smell from which delusional humans with small consciousness and smaller ability to rise higher in a multiverse in which contradictions are among the primary building blocks have not been trying to distance their silly selves for thousands of static years, aided by dictators, religions, sycophants, wars, warriors, politicians, governments, Gestapos? Well, yeah, like…duh.
As the humpback whales came a bit closer to shore, following an oily ball of anchovies containing the density of molten lava, along with pelicans, gulls, terns, coots, loons, all hungry enough to eat a spiny seahorse, a crowd of gawky humans began to gather on the outdoor deck to document their special uniqueness at an ordinary event, utilizing a full array of the usual electronic devices on sale at bargain prices virtually everywhere.
I was following the whales in my boat from a distance that may technically have violated the terms of the restraining order against me, but no documenting occurred, just savoring, and I no longer harbored any major expectations, at least for that one day only, that the humpback whale who appears to be light taupe, unless he more accurately represents dark ecru on the eternal color wheel, was among the pod. I was attempting to achieve multitudinal balance atop an inflated rubber ball as I steered, while practicing my rudimentary figure-eights and deploying my hips to shake it all over, and twist and shout, accompanied between my ears by the rambunctious tune of James Brown, who continued to maintain as he did at all times, “It is what it is.”
So when it turned out later that I was forced to make a statement, sort of, as a witness, to the rude and pushy members of the press, I said, with utmost honesty, “I’m here to testify that when James Brown hooks up with Dizzy Gillespie those salt peanuts pop right up out of the can, and boogie on down. What came next after that turned out to be a jumble akin to a human tornado.”
The groom and his brothers became separated amid the jostling biomass. What a bunch of interlopers. No style, no class. Some lard ass stepped on the toes of his future mother-in-law. She squealed in a way and with an intensity that he hoped he would not have to hear repeated again, and especially not in his own home. Though no punches were thrown, it did get a bit iffy for a spell. Some trouble maker called out for another round of Bud Lights and it didn’t sound innocent. Unless it was the other way around.
When the dock collapsed, as it was designed to do under excess stress, and the groom was tossed into the murk, thrashing for his precious life in the stinky sea, and oddly mulling his future as a groom, sort of, even though the water was not over his head, he decided with quite stunning rapidity under the dire circumstances, that no matter what, he would not have changed a thing. He could hear the voice of his older brother, shrieking like some wussy puss. Though distressing, it was a sound he would never forget.
In the near aftermath, the wedding went off like skyrockets after dark and the hitch was clinched in the honeymoon suite overlooking a Denny’s northeast of Livermore. No harm, no foul, everybody ate cake, and loads of it. The minister of his people said it loud and he said it proud and when there were no objections to or from the bride or the groom, he said, “Amen, brother.”
Invariably, although in the greater aftermath that follows the near and the narrow, accounts of matters diverge, as they must in any convoluted jumble, who was going to stand, be identified, and object? Who was going to assume such great personal risk? Isn’t that what an advanced human brain is so exceptionally good at avoiding?
I continue to feel strongly, however that my take on the issues conformed to a demonstrable, objective reality, sort of.
But then what ordinary observer among us doesn’t?