Album cover with werewolf and orange and yellow background

Weddings, over the years, have been something of a pain in the ass. From time to time I’ve done everything from a Catholic Church to a cornfield, and it’s all sort of a frontal assault on those of us who suffer from ADD. While my Keynesian philosophy appreciates weddings as an important economic driver, my inner tightwad estimates the expense of and shivers at the sight of a horse drawn carriage.

I can’t even deal with the invitations -- being commanded by people I barely know to “save the date” feels like being ordered around by a cop, which is my least favorite kind of being ordered around. Although I don’t know if I’ll even be alive in July of 2020, I now know for damned certain I’ll be spending at least one day that month eating rubber chicken with people named Todd and Andy.

But this time was different. When I walked into my office on one fine Monday in early April, I spied an envelope with “Ed” written on it carefully placed on my keyboard. Opening it, I found an invitation to the Smith-Jones Wedding, to take place on 4/20/19 at precisely 4:20 PM. There was no address, just some vague directions to a road near Legend Valley and a dubious promise of signs.

So one of the guys in the shop is tying the knot with about 9 days of notice, bring your own lawn chairs, BYOB, and a suggested attire of tie-dye. This is the sort of thing you need to attend without a stone-cold critical excuse as a matter of weird honor. With weird being the operative term.

My business partner, also an invitee, reached out to see if the event was appropriate for a family friendly campout. Because he does things like that. The response was that children were welcome up to, but not after, 7:00 PM. There was one additional caveat -- instead of rings, the bride and groom would be exchanging “doobies.” While I don’t necessarily have a problem with it myself, I was disinclined to have that discussion with the kids. So the decision was made to fly solo, or jointly solo, or duo. Or whatever – the point was that he would drive. The signs existed, and we found our way.

Please understand that this was not some hippie bullshit. This was country folk ignoring intermittent cold rain in all their strange ugly substance fueled glory. The groom was drinking Jack Daniels out of a plastic bottle at the alter (he was kind enough to give me some) and announcing his intention to drop five hits of acid that night. My feeble joke about why not four or six was treated with disdain, as were the tall boys of PBR I had brought. Somebody gave me a Budweiser, so I shut the fuck up and drank Budweiser.

There was a DJ involved. Meaning somebody strapped two blown out PA speakers to the back of a car. The DJ was supposed to play “Highway to Hell” when the bride walked down the aisle, but dropped the ball. The groom was irritated and said so, but the show went on. Vows were exchanged, doobies were presented, and doobies were smoked. There was a small stuffed tiger involved, which nobody explained.

And then everybody proceeded to get tore up and build large fires. And shit totally got out of hand.

The DJ resurfaced. I’m not sure what his operating system was, but there was at least a 30 second lag time between songs. No matter – he began with a crazy loud and distorted spin of Disturbed’s cover of Paul Simon’s “Sound of Silence.” And people were feeling it man, for real. The follow up was Kid Rock’s “All Summer Long,” a mashup of Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London” and Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama.” And then some Collective Soul, and what possibly was Creed. And then CCR’s Bad Moon Rising. And so on and so forth, with no rhyme or reason.

It was great. And looking around I felt embarrassed that we spend our time mocking this music. We forget that it means something to a lot of people and helps them through what can be a pretty hard life. Oh god we think we’re cool, don’t we? But we sure as hell don’t throw parties like that one.

Hipsters ruin everything. They commit despicable acts, such as forcing a bluegrass revival upon a country that neither needed nor wanted it. But perhaps their greatest crime has been to dull our appreciation for the truly weird and crazy. Unlike Dylan’s Ophelia, you can’t spend your time peeking into Desolation Row when you are pretending you live there. We’re wearing hats in the Derby grandstands when we ought to be drinking with the frat boys in the infield.

And it we’re not careful, our stories are going to get boring.

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