Friday, August 10, 2007

So Many Milestones, So Little Time

Ask Mr. Long IslandBy Michael Watt

Okay, so we’re in the homestretch of what I affectionately refer to as my mini-milestone-marathon.

Last weekend (on Friday), you’ll recall, my niece Nadya got married. This Saturday it’s my sister Annie’s turn. That’s a lot of excitement in an eight-day span. Throw in the birthdays of my two sons (Alex, 17 and Max, 13), the premier of “The Simpsons Movie,” a night out for a rock concert (Todd Rundgren and “The New Cars”), more than a handful of baseball and softball games and – oh yeah, that damn day job - and you have a whirlwind couple of weeks on your hands. Did I mention that we are having the house painted this week? Right now the fumes have me higher than a Rastafarian at a Reggae concert After Party.

Whew! As my favorite rappers like to say, “It’s all good.” But is it amusing? Let’s find out.

As I predicted, at my niece’s wedding my wife Sharon and I found ourselves situated so far removed from the action you could have used a golf cart to get from our table to the dance floor. Not to worry – we were that much closer to the Viennese table at night’s end. Of course being closer to the desserts than to the dance floor probably resulted in my adding a couple of pounds to the mid-section by night’s end, but it was just as well. The DJ, believe it or not, did not have a copy of “Love Shack” to play.

Can you imagine that?

It’s times like these that I wish I could be governor of Long Island. If I were and I became aware of a “Love Shack”-less DJ I would decree – right there on the spot – that all DJs plying their craft on the Island had to be licensed and in order to secure that license they had to demonstrate a willingness and ability to spin the greatest song ever written about a shanty with a rusted tin roof. Being a DJ at a party and not spinning “Love Shack” is like opening an ice cream store and not offering chocolate. Stupid DJs. Oh, and for the record it’s not as if I was the only one asking for the song, either. A hip, vivacious, pretty young lady - in other words, everything I am not – asked repeatedly for the song to be played, too. When she wasn’t tugging on her strapless gown, that is, to make sure the situation didn’t deteriorate from a "Love Shack" request to Love Rack display, if you know what I mean.

Because I like to think of myself as a pro-active, pre-emptive, let’s-make-lemonade-out-of-a-lemon kind of guy, I have commissioned my son Alex to burn a copy of “Love Shack” onto a blank CD and will keep that CD in the glove compartment of my car go forward, so that this tragic situation will never again have to be endured.

Other than the Shack-less blemish the wedding was a blast. The DJs did, for instance, play “Shout.” “The Worm” was performed to perfection by yours truly with many, many others accompanying me. They might not have realized they were accompanying me, of course, but trust me – they were. I bow to no one – with the possible exception of my brothers Eddie and Raymond – when it comes to declaring myself “King of The Worm.”

Perhaps the most impressive thing about Nadya’s wedding was the fact that it started on time. It seems the bride has a thing about punctuality and even the priest was caught off guard. He started his sermon by commenting that in his many years of marrying couples this ceremony marked the first time one had started when it was supposed to.

The priest marrying my sister Ann and her fiancé Mark will not be making such comments. Ann’s just as organized and on top of things as Nadya, mind you, but punctuality has never been a big priority at the Watt household. When my brother Ray got married, for instance, he asked all his brothers to be ushers and as a result we were there, in the back, when the Wedding Mass started. “So this is what the beginning of Mass looks like,” cracked one of my other brothers.

Ann’s getting married in St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre, the same church where my parents got married back in 1952 and almost 33 years to the day that my older sister Margaret became the first in our family to marry. In between there have been eight other Watt wedding days. (If you’re keeping score at home, that leaves three brothers yet to be married. Don’t hold your breath; as far as I can tell each is quite happy with their single status. All the more power to them.)

The reception afterward will serve as a family reunion as much as anything else, with brothers, sisters, cousins, nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles coming in from all over the country. Those are always fun, too, especially with every one all dressed up and on their best behavior. I know I plan to don the same pair of red argyle socks I wore to my wedding 22 years ago and to every wedding since (including Nadya’s). I also know that while wearing those red socks I will be the first one (okay, maybe the second or third) out to the dance floor to do “The Worm.”

Hey – you celebrate your milestones your way, I’ll celebrate them with mine.

Thank you for reading this column.

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