James' WeddingToast (18 Nov 2001)
This is a transcript of the toast I delivered at the wedding.
When James first asked me to be his best man, one thing that crept through my mind was, wow what an honor. Another thing that came to mind was how great the food was at weddings; what better way to celebrate the union of friends than by cheering on with my mouth full of food? So of course I said yes. I leave it up to you to decide which reason was more important. But as I was thinking about the times I have known James it occurred to me that we have much more in common than just friendship; it's the love of food. I scanned through my messages from James; and quite disturbingly, most talked about food. An example from the summer of 1998: > [James writes: Hello all:] > > Many notable things happened recently: Michelle earned her degree, > Hongyan had a wonderful trip in Italy, and James [the groom] gained > a few more pounds. These events calls for a celebration. What > about a dinner at my place this Friday? Hongyan would like to try > out her Italian dishes, and I simply want to open the ice-wine I > bought in Canada for the special occasion. Of course, it's not fair to talk about James and only food; of course Phyllis is an oft talked about as well. To demonstrate where his loyalties lies, I quote from another message concerning a small gathering I had planned. In response to my invitation, [James writes:] > Hi Min, > > Where there is food, there is James. :-) Phyllis will be there too. > > -James Where James is the knight errant in search gourmet food, Phyllis, on the other hand, is ever the project manager. Apparently leading eleven different projects at work isn't enough, so she added one called "wedding". To this end, we are all here as milestones: obstacles to the project deadline, to be checked and double-checked, marked when completed. I was so impressed that she had GANTT charts (complete with risk assessments) for the entire wedding process, from start to finish, that I asked her to send me her Microsoft Project files for the wedding to print it and frame on the wall of my office. Of course, James is not only her husband, but a rather recalcitrant milestone that refuses to finish deadlines on time: > [Phyllis writes:] > > James and I got the [engagement] rings but I cannot wear it > until he does his formal proposal [to me]... > > [Phyllis] And of course all of us at Columbia who know the couple had thought that Phyllis had rewritten the play entitled "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" to "I Love You, You're Perfect, now Finish Writing Your Ph.D. Thesis and Graduate". Phyllis is the quintessential manager who hasn't yet met a project that she hasn't been able to finish. What better way to confront the challenge of her life than by marrying him? So an observation for all us still single guys: if you want to attract young, eligible manage-the-household girls, James has some advice for us: be stubborn, be hard-to-manage, be lazy and the women will rise to the occasion. Let us help Phyllis now complete her wedding project tonight. Let us join James in his enjoyment of fine food and wine. Let us then celebrate tonight their marriage together; one of much anticipation, one of enduring friendship and happiness. I propose a toast. To unbounded love; to gourmet food; and, of course, to unfinished projects. Cheers.