Randy, we have gathered here in Cleveland to celebrate you and your new bride Chelsea’s entrance into this blessed union. I know that, as an industrial-cleaning-supplies salesman, I spent a lot of time on the road and missed a lot of your formative years, but, Son, there was no way I was going to miss this. Even with all that godforsaken road construction on I-80, I just had to come.
Last night, when I was driving here from Des Moines, on what my other family thinks is yet another “unavoidable sales call,” it brought me back to that day when you were born. So long ago. I know I’ve told you that story a thousand times, but I thought I would share it with everyone here tonight.
Back in the days before cell phones, it was so much more difficult to have a secret family. I see some of the men in the crowd nodding. Am I right, guys, or am I right? Nowadays, any doofus with a calling plan can have a secret family. Randy, look at your half-wit uncle, David—even he can handle a secret family. He can hardly cut his meat by himself, but he’s got over nine children in three different states and two in one U.S. Commonwealth and all of them think they are part of his “real” family. Kudos to him. Back then, though, when you were born, Randy, wow. You really had to be on your toes when there were only land lines.
For instance, that magical day you were born. I walked down to Manny’s Good Time, this place down the street from my other house, and pretended I was calling your mother from a hotel room. It worked, but let me tell you, it is damn hard to shush a roomful of union electricians hopped up on Old Crow. Everyone was still getting used to this idea of a secret family; they weren’t as sympathetic as today. Today, you walk in anywhere and hold up the international sign for “I’m placing a call to my secret family” and everyone shuts the hell up. People then were just not as understanding. We really owe a lot to Steve Garvey for that; we really, really do.
Anyway, when your mother told me about you, Randy, I could hardly contain myself. I remember I was so excited that I walked back home to my other family and ate a turkey sandwich. Then, I read my other kids a bedtime story and then kissed them good night. Then I screwed my other wife. What a night! I was so proud. And when I finally got to hold you on my sales route two weeks later—you know how everyone says that nothing can compare to the first time you hold your secret baby—well, Randy, I couldn’t agree more.
I give you this advice, my son, because someday soon you’ll be driving down some road somewhere and you’ll suddenly realize that one family is definitely not enough for you. You’ll suddenly realize that you are only spending 50 percent of your familial energy and that you have at least 75-80 percent more to give. Where will it be? Detroit? Boise? Clay Center, Nebraska? What I am trying to say is that if I hadn’t pulled over when I had that feeling, if I hadn’t stopped at that diner your mother worked at, if I hadn’t told your mother I was allergic to latex and couldn’t wear a condom without getting an awful rash, if I hadn’t pretended that your mother was the only woman in my life and that I loved her and her alone, none of this would have happened. No you, no wedding, no toast. None of us would be enjoying these lovely pork medallions right now.
Now, a secret family isn’t to be entered into lightly. You’ve got to really make a commitment. Sure, sure, you’re saying—I hear you, Dad, I hear you, I’m a smart guy, I know what I’m getting into here. But there’s a lot of talk in the news lately about these absentee secret fathers, men who didn’t listen to the advice of their elders, men who thought they could figure it out by themselves. Don’t let that happen to you, Son. You are the future. Don’t become another statistic.
OK, I see I am getting the international sign to wrap it up here from your mom, so I will. It’s OK, I’ve had my say, and honestly, I’ve got a phone call to make back to Des Moines where I have to pretend I’m not drunk. My youngest, Travis, had an AAU soccer game tonight, which I missed to come here. Let’s just hope his game went as well as this night is going for Randy and Chelsea! What a great night! Can I thank everyone here in advance for keeping it down for a couple minutes while I make that call to Des Moines? Thanks, thanks in advance.
So, yes, everyone, raise your glasses, a toast to the lovely couple, Randy and Chelsea! May they stride forth with long, intrepid steps and give my secret wife and me many secret grandchildren to love and spoil. Salud!