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Ladies and gentlemen, thanks Gary for those kind words. It has been a pleasure for all us attendants to play a small part in your big day. Before I say a word or two about the groom, what about that dress Jeanie is wearing? It has attracted so much favorable comment from the guests here that I have to give it a special mention. You look stunning Jeanie!
When Gary asked me to be his best man I immediately thought of the speech. I saw it as an opportunity to talk about a great hero of mine… a wonderful, handsome, kind-hearted man who is admired by many. But then I showed it to my wife and she ripped it up saying, ‘For once in your life Jason, talk about someone other than yourself!’
But unlike many of the best men you’ve probably encountered over the years – who were either old school friends or childhood friends of the groom – Gary and I actually met about six years ago. So not knowing an awful lot about his past, I made enquiries – at his local police station. I thought that would be a good place to start digging for dirt. But they had nothing to say… except that he was the perfect guest whenever he stayed over.
Next, I sought advice from his parents as to what he was like. ‘A model son driven by the ambition to succeed,’ was the answer from his mum. ‘A gentleman, a scholar and a sportsman,’ said his dad. Now, I know what you're all thinking - is this the same Gary? Well, all of this was indeed contradicted by his brother Stewart, who informed me that as a child, Gary was cheeky, naughty and the loudest kid on the estate. And as you may have judged from his earlier speech, not a lot has changed.
To get a different perspective on the star of the day I contacted Gary’s school friends. Unfortunately, none of them volunteered any information – except one, who said his nickname ‘PlayByYourselfGary’ should provide some indication of his popularity with the other pupils.
In the end I visited his old school to speak to some of his former teachers in the hope they could provide me with an amusing story to tell. The first person I got hold of was his math’s teacher of five years.
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Nevertheless, on leaving school Gary was invited to attend the local college. Where, apparently, he was a gifted student and excelled in everything he did, and he claimed the reason he left college was because ‘they couldn’t teach him any more’. Now, initially, I put that down to an inflated ego. But, curiously enough, when I contacted the Principal of the College at the time and asked him about Gary’s leaving his words were exactly the same, ‘we simply couldn’t teach him any more’.
So as you can see, it’s been extremely challenging coming up with anything of real substance to tell you today. I wanted to dish the dirt on Gary but my investigations have revealed that there really is very little dirt to dish. I even approached Gary’s grandfather for some inside information to see if I could at least fathom any deep-seated reason for the erratic behavior which he’s renowned for. He told me that Gary was born an Everton fan, which I must admit was some help.
In desperation, I finally asked Jeanie for advice. She said, ‘All you need to do is point out that Gary is the luckiest man alive for marrying me!’ She also reminded me that Gary is a PROUD Welshman, and that on no account should I say anything disrespectful about Wales or the Welsh. Now this came as something of a blow, because anti-Welsh banter at that point accounted for 90% of my speech. Jeanie went on to list other taboo subjects that I should also avoid and specifically asked me to refrain from mentioning any of Gary’s past girlfriends. Sadly, that cut the speech short by a good 15 seconds, but it’s her day and I’ve respected her wishes.
Finally, I’d like to give the newlyweds the traditional best man’s wish for good luck, good health and happiness, and may all their troubles be little ones! I’m sure you’ll all agree that Jeanie and Gary are a marvelous, well-suited couple, and they thoroughly deserve all the happiness they’re going to share together.
Ladies and gentlemen, thanks for listening, and could you please all stand and raise your glasses to Gary and Jeanie.
The bride and groom.