The (1990) Wedding from Hell
by Raman Pfaff and John Johnson
Reprinted from V4N2, October 1990
It was a cool 65 degrees at 02:00 when I began my fateful trip back to the Winter Wonderland; The Great Lake State that I affectionately call my home. The purpose of this journey, however, was not to be a relaxed vaccation. I would do no boating or water skiing. I was on a mission. I had been invited to attend "the wedding from Hell".
It is official. Pete Markowitz is now legally bound to Judy Koscelniak in holy matrimony... for ever and ever and ever.... The wedding took place, innocently enough, on a hot September 1st in Birmingham, Michigan. The service was of the typical Catholic nature: long, with lots of mention of how they should concieve multitudes of little Markowitzes. It was a nice cerimony, nonetheless; the priest did a good job of working the audience. His line, "This must be an important day, Pete even wore socks", was received with rauacous laughter. Pete (the male lead) was off to a shaky start but Judy (the female lead) had impeccible timing and kept the audience rivited to their seats (except when Raman and Erin went to the bathroom in the second act). Accolades to Tari Schwartz (a bit player) who had everyone rolling with her portrayal of the maid of honor/town lush. She grabbed the sacramental wine with such conviction that you would have thought that she really needed a drink.
The audience included family and friends of both the bride and the groom (the half that was balding and wearing boat shoes were Pete's family). More importantly, the wedding was attended by an elite group of top PPSA officials; for this wedding was not your ordinary nuptuals. This was a PPSA road trip!
Present for the wedding (and making a brief appearance at the reception immediately afterward) were: John, Raman, Erin, Steve Langer, Paul Rutt and some friends of Paul's from William and Mary. Of course, the story doesn't start here... it begins as John and Raman prepare for the event. These preparations began months in advance, searching for the perfect wedding gift. But, as usual, since John can never make up his mind, the wedding gift was bought the day before. But I'm jumping the gun.
John mounted his Beretta Beast and hit the trail early Thursday morning. Winding down through the mountains (without a radar detector), with only Mel Torme' to keep him company (well, at least his velvet voice). He passed through Santa Fe and continued onward North to Denver, where he was just in time to buy his pilot a pitcher of Meyers and Diet-Coke before bording Northwest #1226 bound for the Motor City. In motown he picked up the wedding vehicle, a new grey Grand Am, and proceeded to break land-speed records as he speeded North to East Lansing; home of Sparty, skateboarding and Slim (a.k.a. Raman Pfaff).
John was in a hury because: 1) he was tired as all get out, and 2) he thought he might still have a date. His goal is to have one each decade and Raman suggested that a certain attractive Physics major might take the time to par le vous a little Francois while he was in town. Upon arival at the MSU PPSA HQ, John quickly brushed his teeth (for the benefit of those who had NOT been on the road for 15 hours and could tell that he HAD been), and prepared for party-time. Party-time consisted of helping move Dave Bartley out and Carl Nelson in. As fun as that was he wanted more. By the end of the night, after dinner at La Seniorita and a couple of margaritas at Chi Chi's he felt much better.
Friday, being as close to the last minute as possible, seemed the ideal time to shop for a wedding gift. What to get that would be unique? Raman and John looked high and low, and settled on low. Actually the idea of giving a body massager (vibrator), and a very nice one at that, as a gift seemed to be the gift that could really represent their personalities as "unique".
That night the local chapter met at a local watering hole for a bit of free food a couple of pitchers of LIIT's and a little entertainment. The entertainment consisted of introducing themselves to some women who were foolish enough to sit down next to their booth at America's Cup, and watching one of PPSA's new members, Paul "Rooster" McConville do Rooster-wheels. They followed happy hour with a visit to USA Cafe for a little dancing. The bar was painfully smoke-filled and after allowing Erin to play "engine" on a conga-line, they called it a night... tomorrow would be a big day.
Saturday morning, about an hour before the wedding and 90 minutes from the church, it was discovered that Raman's flackid body didn't fit into his high school dress shirt any more. A quick stop at the mall took care of that. Able to now miss the most boring part of the wedding service they were off to Birmingham.
Once we hit the highway to hell, I-96, it was a game of coyote and the road runner. John's speed records are legendary even with many State Police posts and of course the Subaru machine does not like to exceed the posted speed limit (John just uses the speed of sound as his personal limit). The cat and mouse game continued all the way to the exit at which I found John crouched and ready to spring in the breakdown lane. We proceded to find the hotel which claimed it was located right on the highway, but it turned out to be hidden behind an expensive looking mall and a large Vic Tanny. Ten minutes later we had managed to leave my car there and set out over hill and dale for the church. We went over the river and through the woods to the place where the grandmothers were on the hill observing the Catholic wedding (missing the first 20 minutes of that Catholic mumbo jumbo really made me sick to my stomach).
Walking in as late as we did, we were forced to seat ourselves. Deciding which was the brides side and which was the grooms was fairly easy. Needless to say, we sat on the bride's side due to the fact that certain genes may run in Pete's family. As John described, the wedding was an enjoyable experience but soon we were off to the hotel to relax for a bit before the evening excursion to oblivion. The hotel swimming pool was our first stop. Other than the 35 screaming kids in the 5 feet of water and the strange brownish little things floating on the surface it was kind of nice and just what we needed. Group showering then took place afterwards and we dressed on up for the reception....
The first thing one does at an open bar wedding is obvious. Ask for a long island iced tea (LIIT). Myself, John, Erin, and Steve mossied on up to the bar, looked at the teenagers working there and I said, "I'll have a LIIT",and I heard a chant develop behind me..."make it two,make it three, make it four!" The response was really depressing.."We have no iced tea" says the teenager. The recipe was quickly given to them and they tried but failed miserably to make anything that tasted like a LIIT. All evening was a drinking panorama of new,creative, and disgusting drink combinations.
Once we'd had a few of these drink concoctions we were all feeling fairly loopy and the hijinks began. Erin caught the boquet, and I was that close to catching the garter but one of Judy's pre-pubescent nephews out-wrestled me for the thing. The kid was then afraid to get near a woman that looked as hot as Erin so his father relinqueshed the garter to me. John then decided to have an all out war with all the kids at the wedding [Hard to believe, isn't it?] He started by telling little Jimmy that Erin wanted to tango with him. At one point he had about 8 little munchkins biting his arms. Eventually we went back to the hotel and crashed for the evening.
The next morning dawned and the breakfast was a fabulous assortment of lost keys and rasberries. Erin and myself returned to Spartan country and left John with no shampoo and a large credit card debt, as well as lingering doubts of his ability to deal with children. We knew that John could handle the debt, he would just have to take out another student loan. The ride home was as smooth as a Michigan highway can be.
The trip back to New Mexico was a little quicker than the trip there... (maybe because it was all downhill?) There is a well traveled piece of road between Denver and Santa Fe that has recently been named the second most deadly stretch of road in the USA. It was my final gauntlet; the last hurdle before I could put this adventure to rest. I pulled out of Raton, New Mexico with a large cup of scalding hot coffee at about 1 am. How did I know it was scalding hot coffee? Curious you should ask. I tried to lift the cup by the top and the coffee (filled to the rim) exploded onto my lap. Remember: these little plastic lids are not meant to be used to hold 48 ounces of any liquid, let alone flesh-rending scalding hot coffee. I calmly pulled over, leaped from the car and stripped off my clothes. Luck was with me and I did not become the next fatality on Interstate 25. Luckier yet were the passing motorists, of which there were none. I can only imagine the pileup that could have occurred if a passing female truck driver had seen in all of it's glory.
Last Updated 04/13/95.© 1996 PPSA