Zack’s Full Rehearsal Dinner Speech



I hope everyone’s excited. I’m excited. We’re probably excited for different reasons. You’re probably all excited about the whole wedding thing. I’m just excited that I can finally stop pretending to like all of Em’s boyfriends.

Seriously though, I’m just, it’s exhausting. I mean if I could count, on my hands, the number of people Emily has dated and I pretended to like, I would need a lot of fucking hands.

It makes sense though, right? I mean, Em is not an “easy person.” There’s nothing “easy” about this situation for Eric. Like, I don’t think Eric went into that fourth date and bought Em that 27th bottle of sauvignon blanc and thought, “wow, how easy this is!” Or when he wakes up in the morning and sees that shimmering stream of drool, which is consistent as gravity, might I add, seeping from her mouth, I’m sure he doesn’t think, “Yes! This is what I wanted!”

And I could’ve warned Eric about this whole thing early on, because I actually know Em pretty well. Yeah, there’s the whole “shes-my-sister” thing, but there’s actually more to it than that. You see, Em and I are actually on the same team. When we were growing up, it was kind of Me and Em vs. Steph when it came to teaming up to try to manipulate our parents into giving us whatever we wanted. By the way, there was actually another brother, Jeremy, who was also on Steph’s “team” but nobody knows who he is, or where he lives, or what he does for a living, so I just left him out of the story. But needless to say, I’ve gotten to know Em pretty well over the years, and could’ve helped Eric dodge a bullet or two.

But let’s be honest, as we all know, its really just a matter of memorizing her period schedule. By the way, I know that you’re all thinking, how is this guy really talking about Em’s period at her wedding. And this is where I will remind you that there is literally a thread of entries on Em’s blog that reference Em’s period. Nothin’ new here folks.

So speaking of Eric, let’s talk about him for a second. So, before I get into this, I’d just like to say that Eric is not really someone you “know.” He’s more like someone you “experience.” And I just heard a chuckle or two there but I can see that a lot of you have no idea what I’m talking about, so let me explain a little further.

[Take off shirt to reveal tank top, sunglasses, put on bandana, glow necklace, eat hard boiled egg]. This is the Eric experience.

The first time I met Eric was at sibling dinner at Steph and Andrew’s place on the Upper East Side in Manhattan. I’m pretty sure Eric was meeting all of us for the first time that night, including the Boog. Naturally the first thing Em did when they walked through the door was put Tyler in Eric’s hands, perhaps to test his fatherhood skills early on. And Eric just kind of held him out in front of him like Tyler was just one giant wet poopy diaper. Which he is. But my first thought of course was that this guy has no idea what’s coming and god bless his little soul.

But something happened right then that I didn’t really expect – a new lifelong friendship was born. Relax, no, no, not between me and Eric. That was still a long way off. I’m talking about Eric and Andrew. There was a certain twinkle in Andrew’s eye that evening that I had never seen before. It was cute. Just precious.

I think I finally came around with Eric the first time he came to the Lerman family vacation in the outer banks. As I’m sure you all know the Lerman family goes to the outer banks for a few weeks every year. But when we go, we don’t really “do stuff.” For example, Em’s schedule is about as active as any completely inanimate object you’ve ever seen. She rolls down to the beach at 10:30 for 2-3 hours of some intensive sitting, followed by a 2-3 hour nap, accompanied by the stream of drool that I mentioned a bit ago.

And it was during one of these naps that Eric, obviously bored out of his mind, turned to me and asked, “So what do you wanna do?” I was so dumbfounded by the question…I didn’t really know how to react. “What do you mean ‘do?’ This is it man, we’re doing it! You just sit here, it’s great.” So Eric introduced us to ladderball and polish and other fun games to break up the 8 hours of sitting that we Lermans love so much. And that’s when I really realized how well Em and Eric would complement each other. And sure enough Eric would go on to teach Em the virtues of a midweek concert, or beef jerky, or floor tickets to a phish show. And Em would teach Eric how to just sit the fuck still for a while. All of these things are important.

There is one more thing I want to say about Em. I mentioned earlier that Emily and I were always on the same “team.” And what I meant by that, beyond what I described earlier about taking advantage of our parents, is that she has always been there for me. When I think back to my earliest memories of spending time with Em, it really is the simplest ones that make me the happiest. For instance, when she took me “hunting” for leaves in the front yard so mom could make chocolate leaves during thanksgiving. Or when I’d wake up next to a bag of candy that was secretly delivered in the middle of the night by the “Meister Man.”

And my bond with Emily only got stronger as we got older, and, sure, more complex, like when she helped me navigate the dating world in New York City, recently single after a 4-year relationship and zero fucking clue what I was doing. And despite what I said about me hating all of her boyfriends and all the hands I would need to count them, Em always gave the absolute best advice. If you think I could have navigated the careful game of chess that landed me my amazing girlfriend, who is here tonight by the way, right over there, everyone look at her…if you think I could have done that on my own, you’re all sorely mistaken.

Em’s company, her advice, her wisdom, her courage, and most of all, her quick-witted, dark, and often self-deprecating sense of humor, have had a resounding impact on who I am today. In so many ways, she always has been, and continues to be an incredible role model and source of inspiration in my life, and I can’t tell you how proud I am to have her as my sister.

I’ve said this many times before, but I often think of my brother and sisters as more than just my siblings, they are also my best friends. And on rare occasion, I even value their happiness more than my own. That said, Em and Eric, I can’t tell you how happy it makes me that you two found each other, and to see the smiles on your faces tonight. It is something that I am truly thankful for, and I consider it a privilege to have any part in your new life together.

Now, that is CLEARLY not the note I’m going to end on. Before I go, I have a little piece of advice that I want to share with Eric. Really its more of story from my past that came to me as I started writing this speech that I really felt compelled to share with all of you, and Eric in particular, so here it goes:

When I was 16 I started dating this girl in high school named *Sarah [*name changed to protect the innocent]. One weekend night, pretty early on the relationship, she asks me if I want to check out her favorite ice cream place in Georgetown.

So we make our way to this place called Thomas Sweet on Wisconsin Avenue. When we get there Sarah advises me that the best thing to get is the sugar-free fat-free strawberry ice cream. And obviously that sounds completely fucking disgusting to me, but, you know, I’m not about to blow my chances of seeing my first boob so I figure what the hell.

So we eat the ice cream, the ice cream is actually pretty good, and its a fun night. After ice cream we make our way back to Sarah’s parents’ basement for some “alone time.” We walk downstairs, as soon as I cross into the threshold of that basement, a veeeery curious sensation strikes me in the lower abdominal region.

Now, I was pretty young when this all went down, and abdominal pain wasn’t really something I experienced on a daily basis like I do now…So, I didn’t really know what was happening to me, but I had a pretty good idea about how the next 30 minutes of my life were about to unfold.

So we’re hanging out, I’m trying to ignore the grumbles, and sure enough my intestines start doing the old “whale cry.” You know this one — [EEEEEEEEEE!]. And Sarah looks at me and she goes, “What is THAT?” And I try to coolly play it off like its nothing, right? “Oh I think I’m just still hungry.” And I know what’s happening to me, I know that there’s a category 5 storm brewing in my belly. The sea was angry that day my friends.

So, whether or not Sarah believed my lie at that moment is still a mystery, but confusing the sounds coming from my body for anything other than a volcanic fart would have just been silly. But when you’re in that scenario, you know, it’s a brand new relationship, you really don’t wanna blow it, you lie! Sometimes you gotta lie.

So sure enough within a few minutes I pretty much find myself in a complete state of paralysis. And I am freaking out. So the first thing that pops into my head is, “well this is it, I’m gonna die.” You know how sometimes you get that feeling when you’re on an airplane and there’s a little turbulence and you’re like “welp, this is it!” It was like that but about a thousand times worse. So the second thought I had was “okay, I’m not going to die, but how am I going to explain this when I finally, you know, erupt?” And then finally I think to myself, “how I am I going to get the hell out of here without seeming like a total weirdo.”

And I definitely thought to myself, dude just, come clean. Tell the girl you gotta fart, it’s a normal human bodily function, it fine. But I had already lied, and I was committed to, you know, lying my way through this thing.

So I start planning my escape route, and all of a sudden it hits me, like a line straight outta Shakespeare. So I look at her and I go: “I gotta go home and go to bed.”

So I wander upstairs with Sarah like an overfilled balloon ready to pop. By the way, I’ve never feared sneezing so much in my entire life as I did in that moment.

So Sarah walks me to the door, we say our goodnights, and I CAREFULLY penguin my way down her driveway to my car. By the way you know the game “the ground is lava?” Well this was like a less fun version of that game called “everything is needles.” So I get in to my car, close the door, and immediately sink six inches into my chair, as the trumpet of a great ship’s foghorn sirens out of my ass. The power of the explosion was so great that I nearly ripped a hole in my Abercrombie cargo pants.

And as I sat there in the car, I breathed a deep sigh of relief that the episode was over, and I had survived. And it was at that moment that I realized the important lesson that god was trying to teach me, and the lesson is this:

Never lie to your significant other.


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