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So, on Saturday night I slipped into my only suit -- which reeked of camphor since it had hung in the back of my closet for a year -- and accompanied my friend to the wedding of two virtual adolescents. Upon arrival at the church we were greeted by a young usher with a goatee and shark skin waist jacket. He grinned a wide grin, displaying two shimmering, gold-capped teeth and said, "Ya friends of da bride or da groom?" My friend, who tends to be a bit long-winded, explained our relationship. As I was being mesmerized by the large, torch-like candles and flower petals tossed generously along the aisle, the usher took hold of my friend by the wrist and elbow like he was handling a pneumatic drill and lead us to a pew. Between his facial hair, thin leather tie and rat-like tail neatly rubber-banded on the back of his head, I couldn't help but think he was leading us onto the set of Dance Party U.S.A. At our seat, I watched as the army of a wedding party, a neat 18 of them not including the bride and groom, assembled on the altar. A jumbo woman with meaty, flapping triceps and eyes as red and irritated as a baboon's behind, shrieked to the tune of Sheep May Safely Graze. I giggled as I imagined her own safe grazing over the buffet table. Finally, The Wedding March began and in ambled a white, veiled bag of sedated bridal being. Lovely she was. Her hair was heavily spritzed and sculptured to sit high like a tumbleweed on her head. As she passed me with that rhythmic bridal two-step, I noticed a deeply stricken aura under her artificial, "This is the happiest day of my life" smile. The stress of this performance had clearly weighed heavily upon her. And then . . . the worst. Just as she approached her beau and was amply blinded by the throng of camera flashes, it was as if someone looped her ankle with a cane and jerked it straight back. She was airborne. Her head went towards Jesus, her tail went towards the congregation, baring to all her lacy undergarments. And for a moment, the parson was the magician, the bride was the levitated assistant. Her poor head bounced off the edge of a wooden pew that resounded in an eerie thud. Amazingly, after a brief intermission the bride managed to shake it off with a few tears of embarrassment. But, in that thud, in that ghastly thump when cranium met pew, I had a revelation. I suddenly realized how utterly ludicrous the entire process of a wedding is and how superfluous and hollow it has become. A wedding is a piece of theater for the attendants, a lavish contest between parents to bury past weddings of relatives in a pile of empty, hedonistic baloney. Similar to the commercialization of Christmas, the meaning of a wedding has been lost in our avaricious society. It has turned the loving union of man and woman into a sub-plot. "It was a lovely ceremony, but my chicken was undercooked," bleated some old goat at my table. We have got to stop doing as the Romans and make a few strides towards the Amish. Yeah, the Amish. Gifts would include cutlery, cookware, canned goods and maybe the occasional rake, shovel or kerosene lamp. No caterers, just people of the community bringing their share. No best man or matron of honor to save hurt feelings. No florist, balloons, limousines or stupid trolleys. No open bar (Okay, maybe this could be an exception). No favors . . . no uncomfortable garb and especially, no seventeen-envelope, calligraphic invitation with instructional R.S.V.P. and relief map to the reception! Unfortunately, I've been invited to another monetary matrimony this weekend. One hundred dollars a plate, I've been told. And if you think I'm going . . . You're freakin' right! Gregg Ventello is a master's student in Liberal Arts from Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Odi Et Amo appears alternate Mondays.

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