Recollections In Speech Writing

On a particular day in a few months time, I’ll be all dressed up in a tux and standing in front of quite the large gathering of people. In the moments before I am to give a speech at my sister’s wedding, I imagine a hush will fall over the crowd as I take the stand, all eyes on my terribly introverted and wallflower self. It’s a moment I’m both super nervous about, and incredibly honored to partake in. I hope I’ll be able to deliver something special.

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately coming up with ideas for what I’m going to say. While I’ve deeply considered the idea of my opening line being “DJ, drop the beat” before breaking out into an exuberant rap, I’ve decided to shut that idea down in favor of opening things with a simple joke. Both as a way to gauge it’s humor, and also to see if my idea looks even dumber down in writing, I’ve shared that joke for you below.

“Hello everyone! Welcome to my sister’s wedding! This is quite an emotional day for us all, even the cake is in tiers!… I’m here all week!”

If no one laughs at that joke after a few moments, I’ll probably burst out crying and you can all expect a followup post the day after titled, “How I Ruined My Sister’s Wedding.” You have been warned. I’m still not quite sure if that’ll be the actual line I’ll use, but it’s definitely between that and the plan B of, “I’m sure you’re all wondering why I gathered you here today…” Eh, maybe it’ll just come down to a last minute decision.

It’s really strange though that this is actually happening. It seem like just yesterday that my sister and I were spending our childhoods trying to come up with convoluted plans to try and break my parent’s strict “no television on weekdays” rule. We were quite the rambunctious pair back in the day, and we seemed to have a gift to always be able to talk our way out of trouble. In the time before my brother came along and was cognitive enough to contribute to our schemes, or at the very least hold his head up on his own, my sister and I were an inseparable pair. We did everything together, and I’m happy to say that that closeness is still going strong today.

Both of my siblings mean the world to me, and a connection of unyielding sarcastic humor and witty optimism are the ties that bind us together and keep us grounded. Fiercely protective of one another, no amount of joking, bickering, or fighting would ever stop us coming to the other’s aid when we were at a low point or needed someone to talk to. I wouldn’t trade them for all the money in the world, or at least twenty dollars a piece.

In the spirit of all this mushy sibling retrospection that I’m doing in preparation for putting together my speech, I’d like to share a short story from when the three of us were still little children and had yet to discover the wonders of high-speed internet and YouTube. This story came back to me while I was putting down some thoughts for my speech, and I think it’s worth a share to highlight the relationship between my sister and I. Just as a disclaimer: I like to think I’m a lot smarter now then when I was at the time of this story.

When I was around 4 or 5 I was quite the little terror, as my family’s home videos can attest to. My father has often joked (at least I think/hope he’s joking) that he could fill a book with stories of my escapades during these early stages of my development, and my sister fittingly gave me the nickname of “Troubie.” Her 8-year-old variation of the word “trouble,” no nickname has ever so perfectly represented an age bracket in my life. I embraced my role and nickname however, as at that age I took anything as a challenge. My early years were marked by my headstrong and bold personality, and I was not one to be easily deterred.

On one particular day in the summer around this era, I found myself with an inordinate amount of free time to explore my house. With my parents out with my infant brother, the only ones in the house were the family housekeeper and my sister, who was off in her room minding her own business. As I strolled through the halls, a seeping boredom pierced my veins and I found myself longing for entertainment. As television on the weekdays was still a no-go due to the rules, well that and the fact that I was only equipped with the ingenuity of my 5-year-old self, I saw my options as limited to either reading a Dr. Seuss book or banging my head loudly against the wall until the housekeeper would yell at me to stop. Neither of those seemed that appealing; things were pretty boring back then when you don’t have an IPhone screen to stare at all the time.

Meandering my way through the house, I found myself struck with the sudden inspiration of a great idea. My hair had been growing pretty long lately, so why couldn’t I save my parents the $15 Supercuts charge and cut it myself? I’d always wanted to give cutting my own hair a try, so why not do that today? My impulse control had yet to develop to a useful state, so this seemed like a brilliant idea! I figured my parents would be so proud when they saw my perfect new do.

Climbing up the stairs with a smirk on my face, I made my way to the bathroom where we kept scissors and began to cut my hair with a certain glee and gusto. In the end, my untrained cosmetology skills amounted to the removal of my bangs and a little bit of hair off the top. I was having a jolly old time until I began to realize that I was making a horrible mistake. By that time though, things had already progressed to far beyond salvageable.

I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and immediately did what I imagine any child in my situation would do: I began to uncontrollably bawl. After a few minutes of my sobering pity party though, I began to calm down and immediately started to come up with a plan to cover up what I had done. I washed the scissors and put them back in the drawer, then meticulously picked up my cut curls and hid them in a hiding place where I knew they would never be found. Now all that was left to do was figure out a way to explain to my parents what on earth had happened to my hair. I began to run through my options, which I have listed from memory below.

1- Blame The Housekeeper And Claim That She Somehow Had Vacuumed The Hair Off My Head

2- Find A Way To Pin This On My Little Brother Who Wasn’t Even Home

3- Confess What I Had Done

4- Deny, Deny, Deny

I decided after a few moments of thoughtful, rational thinking that I’d go with the 4 option, though I only managed to commit to it for about 30 seconds because I brilliantly realized there was no way that I’d get away with it when my parents saw me. And so I went back to crying. In my terrified state, I realized that there was only one thing I could do now to try and save myself. I knocked on my sister’s room door, and herein lies the true message I’m trying to say with this story.

My sister was my saving grace; no matter how badly I managed to mess up, I always knew that she was one person I could always count on to be in my corner. She was my hero and my idol, and even at my most frightened moments she was always there for me with a comforting word and a brilliant solution to any problem. Granted this situation isn’t the best example because she was 8 and had yet to achieve my admired brilliance, but you get the point.

Now back to the story…

By the time she managed to calm down and stop laughing at me, together we concluded that there was no way I could save myself, so at this point the best option for me was to retreat and go into hiding. When we started thinking of places to hide, we somehow managed to skip over leaving the country or burrowing underground, and instead settled on a corner under a table in our dining room. Together, we rushed down the stairs to the spot, my eyes continually on the windows to check for signs of my parents and brother returning. Once we got there, I crouched down and scooted under the table as my sister reassured me that everything would be alright. I believed her, and for the first time since I cut my hair, I started to smile.

A few minutes later my parents came home. My father walked in first and went straight upstairs, while my mother and brother stayed outside doing something I don’t quite remember. For a couple of moments things were silent in the house and I began to cautiously believe that somehow, someway, I was going to get away with the whole thing. All that was shattered though a few minutes later when my father came racing back downstairs, his tone nothing short of lividness.

“Who the hell put hair in my office desk drawer!?”

Yes, it’s true. At the end of the day it wasn’t my sister’s questionable hiding skills that did me in. Nope, it was my brilliant idea to hide the evidence in none other than my father’s desk drawer. While it was my own arrogant belief that my father would never again open that drawer that caused my undoing, I did learn a valuable lesson that day: don’t hide things in your father’s office desk drawer because he will find them and everything will be ruined.

From there, everything came crashing down as I and my hiding spot were quickly compromised. Hanging my head low in shame, I stood in the center hallway of my house as my mother came in from outside with my brother and gaped at the abomination I had created. As she rightfully chastised me, my savior was none other than my sister, who immediately stood by my side and starting putting in work to ensure that I escaped this debacle unpunished. As I watched her work her magic, I slowly felt a fire start to warm my body and I worked up the courage to start contributing to my defense. As I mentioned earlier, together our abilities to talk our way out of grim situations were unmatched, and I’m happy to say that I managed to get out of the situation unscathed and unpunished. Later I would come to the realization that my true punishment would come in the fact that I’d now have to walk around with my ridiculous new haircut (a well trained barber could only do so much with what I had done), but hey, even at such a young age I did always want to stand out, so there was that.

What I really learned on that day, aside from the whole bit about hiding things in my father’s desk drawers, is that my sister truly would always have my back. Beforehand we were just kids, but from that point on we were partners in crime. That was the first showing of our combined skills and a telling sign of the elaborate scenarios that we would later be able to pull off. Together we made for an unstoppable duo, and now we only had to wait a few more years until my little brother could make that a trio. Nowadays we settle for simpler things, but the one thing that has stayed constant all the while is the fact that I love the two of them with all my heart.

And with that, I’m back to writing my speech. Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed this short recollection!

-Adam

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