Dear Susan,

Fifteen weeks living in a full body cast has naturally given me some time to reflect on what transpired at your wedding. In retrospect, I finally accept what you were screaming at me that fateful evening. How I quote-unquote “ruined your dream night” by “attempting an ill-advised Headspin” which resulted in me “breaking my neck” and “profusely spraying blood on your great-grandmother’s heirloom wedding dress” in front of “all your horrified friends and family members.” I get that now. But, please, let me share my side of the story.

Despite my recent catastrophic performance, B-boying is not just some new hobby of mine. As a child, I was considered somewhat of a breakdancing phenom in my small hometown of Spencer, Iowa. Skeptical? Call my parents. There’s a little trophy in their attic you might be interested in seeing, which reads BENJAMIN BERNSTEIN: WORLD’S MOST ADORABLE DANCER (AGES 9-14 CATEGORY). Granted, I won that cheap plastic award at my own Bar Mitzvah, mostly due to a lack of attendance, and 27-long-hard-years have passed since I last attempted anything remotely resembling physical exercise, but I think the point still holds: I am the master of breakin’. The kids of Spencer even went so far as to nickname me “J Rat,” which, come to think of it, was probably an anti-Semitic slur. My town was pretty racist.

Cut to your wedding. Here’s the scene I hazily remember: I’ve ingested a dozen or so stiff cocktails, kissed three of five bridesmaids, and told your Uncle Charlie to go fuck himself. I’m having a great time. And that’s the moment when the DJ began pumping out some fresh beats over the loud speakers (thank god he stopped playing all that old-timey Jazz crap, am I right?) I mean, I start hearing all the legends: Usher, Chumbawamba, T-Pain, Ray J, Black Eyed Peas, Fergie’s solo stuff. The gauntlet had been thrown. The mood was set.

So I tuck my rented taupe Men’s Warehouse suit jacket under an unoccupied table, bundle my flowing hair into a ponytail, stumble out to the dance floor and shove the crowd back, single handily creating the all-important dance circle. I actually heard an audible gasp from the elderly folk. They clearly sensed the fucking fire was coming.

Now, a lot of B-boys might try warming up the muscles a bit before going into the power moves; you know, toss out some Six-Stepping, Pop-and-Lock maneuvers, Jester Kicks, maybe a Flare or two. Not me. I unleash the best shit first. That’s my motto. So I decide to go big: a Suicide Dive landing directly on my head without using my hands, which would quickly turn into a clean Headspin, a bunch of Air Flares, then a Coin Drop, some Baby Windmills and, to top it all off, a Dead Freeze. Awesome, right? Well, as you may recall, I shattered my spine immediately on the initial dive and was unfortunately unable to showcase the depth of my repertoire. Luckily, your gigantic wedding cake was there to brace my brutal fall. Friendly advice: next wedding, don’t get another anise-flavored cake. Even my limp, numb body was repulsed by that smell and taste.

When I regained consciousness, I remember you howling, “Who is this guy?! Who the hell is this guy?!” I’m your husband’s college roommate’s bi-curious “+1”. How many times do I have to tell you that? Yeesh. I bought you a fairly nice (although, most likely irregular) discounted China set. The least you could do in return for the free gift is remember my entire life story.

The next few hours could best be described as a blur. I believe I moaned “MOVE ME!” repeatedly, which, for some fucked-up reason, you people opted to do. Why, I’ll never know. I mean, honestly, who takes orders from a shell-shocked trauma victim convulsing uncontrollably in a pool of his own blood, tears and accidentally discharged feces? Which reminds me: please assure the Hilton’s ballroom staff that I am willing to partially subsidize the cost of refinishing their elegant wooden floors. Truly a lovely venue when not covered in human excrement.

Some people might hold a grudge over the whole “lifting my body caused my quadriplegia” situation, but that’s just not my outlook. In fact, I feel quite the opposite. I checked a major life goal off the ol’ bucket list: get medevac’d away from a large social gathering. Talk about leaving in style! Totally put that 1959 white Rolls-Royce you and your husband rented to shame. Question: Did the DJ blast the Jurassic Park theme song as my helicopter flew off into the skyline? I whispered that musical instruction to the paramedic, but wasn’t sure he relayed the message. I hope it happened. How fucking epic would that have been?

Point is, I apologize for “wasting one year of difficult wedding planning” in “one second” with my “bullshit performance.” In my defense, it was more like 15 seconds.

Benjamin Bernstein

P.S. I truly hope you didn’t burn this letter before fully reading. I have literally spent months blinking this apology to a translator.