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If anything can go wrong, it will.

- Murphy’s Law


When my good friend Phil asked me to stand up in his wedding in Scotland on May 22, 2010, I was both honored and thrilled.  Not only would I get to see Phil, after whom one of my dogs was named and whom I had not seen in four years, but I was finally going to Scotland.

And the kicker?  I’d be wearing a kilt.  The ceremony was to be so traditionally Scottish that I decided to pack some blue face paint just in case we had to defend my friend’s land from Scottish knights loyal to the Queen, a la Braveheart.

Welcome to Stokedville, Population: Me.

Our friend Timmy was flying out from Chicago and would also be standing up in the ceremony.  The plan was to arrive in Glasgow and then spend a day in the Highlands at Phil’s parents’ bed and breakfast before heading down to the wedding.  There, we would be kicking it Glasgow-style with Phil’s immediate and extended family- a colorful assortment of saints and rogues who were sure to make the event one for the ages.

As it turned out, an event for the ages it surely was.  But for reasons much different than any of us could have ever reasonably anticipated.

I have come to understand that the most important life lessons always seem to come with a price tag.  By that I mean you don’t grow as a person when Fate kisses you on the cheek and makes all of your dreams and wishes come true.  No, in those moments, the only growth is usually you turning into an insufferable jack-off.

The price of stronger character is ego-splitting humiliation.  You learn who you really are when Fate sneaks up behind you, whispers, “It’s go time, Cupcake,” and punches you in the kidney.

***

The ash cloud over Iceland had resumed a new round of spewing approximately a week before Timmy and I  were to fly out from Chicago and San Diego, respectively.  Flights were re-routed first, then delayed, and then canceled.  As our dates of departure neared, Timmy and I faced the very real possibility of not making the wedding.

He would be leaving Chicago on Sunday, and his odds of departing were growing slimmer by the hour.  I was not leaving until Tuesday, so my chances of avoiding the volcano spooge looked significantly better, although nothing was certain.

Then my itinerary took its own turn for the complex with news that British Airways, who would be ferrying me from London to Glasgow, was canceling scores of flights in response to work stoppages by the cabin crews.  I soon learned that my flight was one of the casualties in the fight for better working conditions.  Acting quickly, I managed to secure a tolerable, though not ideal solution- I would land at Heathrow and shuttle over to London’s other airport, Gatwick, where I would catch a flight to Glasgow.

Compared to Timmy’s situation, I was golden.

Timmy made it to Philadelphia before finding out that his flight to London was canceled.  Through quick and persuasive phonecalls to the airline, he caught the last flight from the US to London for the next day. Unfortunately, once in London, he had no way of getting to Glasgow due to the ash cloud and flight cancellations.  With no other options, Phil’s brother Gordon (you’ll meet him shortly), had to drive eighteen hours roundtrip to collect Timmy in London and get him back to Scotland.

Timmy’s luggage was the next on the block, as the airline lost both his luggage and their copy of the claim form that he filled out at their direction and in their presence.

Things were getting hairy.  Meanwhile, I was en route to London, about to endure my own descent into in-flight Hell.

***

The food poisoning kicked in at a cruising altitude of 37,000 feet, approximately five hours after polishing off the special vegetarian meal that I had requested for myself.  I will now allow my carnivorous friends a moment to laugh at my expense.

As I sat in my little business class cocoon getting ready to catch a snooze, the first wave of nausea hit me like a two by four across the face.  I barely made it to the lavatory before collapsing onto the disgusting, urine-varnished floor and sweating as badly as any hot yoga class I had ever taken.  I managed to keep it together somehow, staggering back to my seat and trying to ride out the sickness that was overtaking me with a vengeance.

We landed in London, where I survived both Customs and the one hour ride to Gatwick before catching that lovin’ feeling as I entered the second airport.  I barely made it into a men’s room stall before I began yelling my specially-ordered, fancy pants vegetarian meal into a dirty English toilet.

I checked into my new flight and ducked into the British Airways lounge, where I spent the better part of an hour kneeling in another putrid, urine-soaked stall, while my abs squeezed the last drops of food and drink from my stomach.

But I eventually made it into Glasgow.

***

Gordon hit the sheep just around the time my pasty, sweaty, shivering ass was landing in Scotland.

He was driving along a country road, minding his own business, when a sheep, in a sudden act of Hari Kari, ran out in front of his car, reducing by one both the number of bumpers on Gordon’s car and the number of sheep on the planet.  Police and insurance would need to be involved.

***

The next twenty four hours were relatively calamity-free.   We spent the day at the bed and breakfast, where we rode out our jet lag, stress, and for yours truly, the final pangs of food poisoning.  Phil however, was understandably getting a bit nervous about the wedding.  He wasn’t getting cold feet but simply bracing himself for more snafus after the lost luggage, canceled flights, food poisoning, and sheepslaughter.

Timmy and I eagerly assured Phil that everything would be fine and that we had nothing more to do but chill out and let everything fall into place.

We could not have been more wrong had we told him that they would be using Kim Kardashian’s extra  collagen to plug the BP oil leak.

***

Phil and Nicola, his bride-to-be, had secured a fantastic location for their impending nuptials.  The wedding and reception were being held at the New Lanark Mill, a historical preservation site in a particularly picturesque part of Scotland that served as part landmark, part hotel, and part function site.

All we needed to do was to be there for the wedding rehearsal at four o’clock on Friday afternoon.

Phil, Timmy and I were late getting on the road that day.  With Friday rush hour traffic starting, it appeared that we would make it to the rehearsal with little or no time to spare.

We were discussing how lucky we were to have made it out ahead of rush hour traffic when the rattling started.

The loud, rhythmic knocking began suddenly as we cruised down the highway.  It sounded like someone was under the car, smashing a hammer into the axle.  As it rattled progressively louder, Phil finally pulled over into the breakdown lane to see what it could be.

It is important to note that the breakdown lane in the UK is on the left.

Timmy walked around the left side of the car (the side furthest from the highway), and examined the underside of the car.  Nothing looked out of place, and so, being guys, we wrote the sound off to that whipping boy of all unexplained automotive rattling- the exhaust pipe.

We were perilously close to being late and had no idea whether the noise was malignant or benign.  What else could we do?

Phil pulled back onto the highway and the rattling resumed, even louder.  We pulled back into the breakdown lane.  Phil’s stress was now manifesting in a slight shake in his hands and that look that guys get when they realize that things are slowly spiraling out of control, and they are powerless to intervene.

I said that I was sure the noise was coming from somewhere right under me- the right rear part of the car.  But with my side abutting traffic, I couldn’t safely get out to see.

Now here’s some free insight for the ladies- when we guys encounter a problem that we are entirely incapable of assessing, we will always do something.  No matter how patently absurd our solution, we would rather change something- anything, than sit there and wait for help.

And so, faced with a loud, unnatural rattling that we could not explain, and compounded with our need to get our asses to the wedding rehearsal, we found something to do.

“Hey, maybe it’s the luggage in the trunk?” I offered.

“You think maybe it’s rubbing against the exhaust?” Timmy asked.

“I dunno, but maybe we should move it and see.”

“OK.”

So we moved my suitcase from the trunk to the back seat next to me.

I kid you not- the solution to the loud, nerve-grating, metallic clanging beneath my seat was to move a suitcase from one part of the car to another.  None of us had any problem with this solution.

We then buckled in and Phil pulled back out onto the highway.

More rattling.  We pulled over again and then this conversation took place:

“What the fuck is that?” asked Phil.

“Dude, I have no idea.  I checked everything I could, and I couldn’t see anything wrong” said Timmy.

“We’re never going to make it by four,” Phil said.

Fuck it- let’s just go,” I declared.

“Yeah, what can we do?  Just turn up the radio and we’ll figure it out when we get there,” added Timmy, without a trace of irony.

“Alright,” said Phil, and he pulled the car out onto the highway.

Then the rattling stopped.

What relief we might have felt at the end of the rattling was obliterated by the sight of the right rear wheel leaving the car and rolling down the highway into rush hour traffic.

With the groom and two ushers standing on the side of a scorching hot, rubbish-strewn Glaswegian highway and a team of highway workers assembling, it was apparent that the wedding rehearsal was officially off.


***

It was at the tire repair shop a couple hours later that we received the news that the Nicola’s grandmother had just fallen and broken her hand.

As four o’clock arrived, the groom and two ushers were sitting in a garage an hour away from the rehearsal, hoping the right parts could be found to fix the car, while the bride made her way to the hospital to visit her grandmother.


***

We eventually reached the hotel a few hours after the busload of thirsty Irish cousins arrived from their own nine bus, thirty hour travel ordeal.  As the families gathered in the hotel pub that evening, the bar staff were put to the sort of mental and physical testing generally reserved for SWAT and SEAL teams.

But finally everyone was in one place.  All we needed to do was stay put and get to the wedding.

***

The next morning, when Phil realized that the jacket that he brought to the hotel was not the right one for his kilt, the wedding was just over two hours away.

The options were either wear the wrong jacket, which did not match, or drive back to his apartment to see if the right one was there.

In deference to Nicola’s wedding day serenity, it was decided to conceal this detail from her.   Threats of violent kickings were uttered against anyone foolish enough to break this confidence and share this information with her.

After a thirty second pow wow among the ushers, Phil decided that he needed to wear the right jacket.  As he would be the only one who would know where to look for it in his apartment, it was down to him and his dad to make the trip and off they went with the clock ticking louder by the second.

Ten minutes after Phil and his dad drove off, we were all sitting in the hotel lobby when a guest arrived and said:

“Was that Phil in the car?  I hope he’s not driving back to [his apartment] because traffic is as bad as I’ve ever seen it.  Between the good weather and the parades, the highways are backed up for miles.”

With all that we had endured, we simply met this gentleman with a thousand yard stare and responded with a collective, resigned grunt.


***

Somehow, Phil made it back to the hotel with less than a half hour to spare.  It takes a minimum of thirty minutes to put on a kilt and all its accoutrements.  Phil had not even shaved, let alone showered, for the past day.  We would be racing to the very last second.

And so as a final push, the groom and ushers all met in my room and fumbled through the kilts, belts, dress shoelaces, sporrans, brogues, shoes, shirts, vests, ties, jackets, boutonnieres, and the cool little knives you wear in your socks.  As the Dropkick Murphys blasted from my laptop, very little was said in the final minutes.

***

The two o’clock wedding began at 3:40 p.m. and ended approximately twenty minutes later without incident.

***

After confetti was thrown at the world’s newest marriage, pictures were taken on a sunny grass hill outside the mill, where guests and family gathered to congratulate the couple.  A sumptuous feast ensued with great speeches, delicious food, and lots of fantastic banter at the tables.  Dance-offs were challenged, the superiority of sports were hotly debated, music was enthusiastically discussed, and of course, wild stories and colorful jokes were exchanged between people who only hours before had been complete strangers.

When the dancing began, the floor shook under covers of Kings of Leon, The Killers, and other booty-shaking anthems.  Flower girls stole extra wedding cake on the staircase and the parents of the bride and groom were completely incapable of hiding their immense pride, as evidenced by their loch-wide smiles. A thousand pictures were taken and a thousand promises were made to visit, call, write, and stay in touch.

To close the wedding, the entire reception gathered in a gigantic circle around the bride and groom while the band led a thunderous rendition of “Loch Lomond.”

As Phil and Nicola smiled into each other’s eyes and shared a kiss to bring the reception to a close, I realized that the wedding had been perfect in every single way.

At that moment, it hit me- there’s a memory, a lesson, and even a smile tucked away inside every second of the day.  Sometimes you just have to look past all the noise to find it.


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Joe Daly JOE DALY writes for a number of publications, including the UK's Metal Hammer and Classic Rock magazines, Outburn, Bass Guitar Magazine and several other print and online outlets. He is the music and cultural observer for Chuck Palahniuk's LitReactor site and his works have been published in several languages. When he is not drafting wild-eyed manifestos, Joe enjoys life in San Diego's groovy North County, teaching music journalism, doing yoga, running, playing guitar and spending tireless hours in deep and meaningful conversations with his beloved dogs, Cabo and Lola. You can check out his rants at http://joedaly.net and follow him on Twitter: @JoeD_SanDiego

93 Responses to “Murphy’s Law- Scotland Edition”

  1. Lorna says:

    Well, as they say, nothing worth keeping ever comes easy. Phil and Nicola ought to be set for life after all the hard work to make it to the wedding. Geez.

  2. Richard Cox says:

    This piece is pure punditry. Get a life.

    • Joe Daly says:

      I read this in a cafe, and laughed so loud that the two girls behind the counter asked, out of genuine concern, if I was OK. Thanks for that!

      I am pundit- hear me pund.

      • Richard Cox says:

        Ha. I couldn’t resist.

        This post was awesome. I laughed all through it. Both times you said “All we needed to do…” I was cringing.

        I’m no auto mechanic, not by a long shot, but I thought you were going to say it was the tire. Since you couldn’t find anything else. Whenever I see people driving down the highway with a tire that’s thrown its balancing beads, I always wonder what that must feel like inside the car. But I never dreamed you were about to throw the tire itself. Did it hit a car??

        Sorry to laugh as your misfortune, but this was hilarious. You pundit.

        • Joe Daly says:

          It was perfect- I am!

          The funny thing was that I kept insisting that the sound was coming from right beneath me, but it never occurred to me that the tire might be coming off. When it came off, the car fell to the ground and started dragging the hub along the pavement for about twenty yards. The wheel bounced ahead of the car and across all three lanes without hitting a single car. It ended up leaning against the right wall of the highway about a hundred yards ahead.

          The highway guys went out and retrieved it for us, but the holes were too worn to bear a new tire. When we thought about all the horrible things that could have happened, we realized that we were actually pretty lucky.

          Of course, when we watched our own wheel pass us, gratitude was pretty far from our emotional realms.

          Thanks for the crack up!

  3. Lec says:

    JD,
    I had NO idea. Your wedding pictures provide no evidence of the trials you all endured. In fact, you looked super lean and I assumed you had dieted for the event in the hopes to score a Scotty at the reception. (Nice shave by the way.) Now I know it was the Food Poison Diet that gave you that svelte-kelt look! Way to adjust on the fly.

    • Joe Daly says:

      I should have added the pics to the piece. Maybe I’ll go back and do so. Or maybe it’s just as well to leave it up to people’s imagination.

      But if anyone’s interested- the pictures of many of these events, including the roadside catastrophe, are on my Facebook page.

      Lec- there’s nothing like the Food Poisoning Diet to compensate for ten days of little or no working out. The best I could do was a couple five milers on the hotel treadmill, watching English quiz shows. What’s stopping you from sharing your famous travel workout with me?

  4. Quenby Moone says:

    I love wedding horror stories! My own was packed with them! It bodes well for their future.

    Sorry about your guts, though. And the sheep. Those were two bitter casualties in the making of a fine wedding dream.

    • Quenby Moone says:

      Oh, and Fargin Hilarious. I laughed aloud many times at your misfortune.

      • Joe Daly says:

        Thanks, Quenby! I was more gutted about the poor sheep than anything else. My guts will grow back, but hopefully the sheep is in a better place. And yes, I am aware that I dodged the “greener pastures” metaphor. :)

        Thanks for the read and the comments!

  5. Irene Zion says:

    Joe,
    This is the funniest wedding story I have ever heard. (Sorry about the sheep and the broken hand, and the food poisoning though.) (Although I have to admit they added to the hilarity when reading it.) (Sorry.)

    I knew nothing about the complications of the kilt. I just thought they were skirts that you pulled on and then you put on socks.

    I’m afraid that I must insist that you post pictures of yourself all decked out.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Thanks Irene- sometimes you just have to laugh to keep from crying. I will admit that we did find ourselves chuckling a bit at the side of the highway, nervous though it was!

      I thought the same thing about the kilt until one of the locals there solemnly estimated that it would take us 40 minutes to put our outfits on. It took us closer to 30, but we all got one or more things wrong.

      Check out my Facebook page for the pics!

  6. Andrew Nonadetti says:

    My God, Joe. This was hysterical. I know it was at your expense, predominantly, but you seem to have made out alright so I suppose that means it’s not indelicate to laugh now. And the setup was perfect – with mention of the kilt right at the start, I was expecting a sort of “going commando” bit of humor. Sort of a simple but humorus pie-in-the-face routine. Instead, the waiter knocked over tables, the flambée ignited the curtains and the whole damned restaurant went up in chaotic flames.

    The description of “when in doubt, stare for awhile and then blame ‘the exhaust’ with authority” was spot-on but “You learn who you really are when Fate sneaks up behind you, whispers, ‘It’s go time, Cupcake,’ and punches you in the kidney.” is going to be my status message for a long, loooong time. :D

    Thanks for posting this. Awesome read, excellent timing.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Thanks, Andrew- I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks it’s perfectly reasonable to blame the exhaust for all problems within the car. I’ve been very close to attributing in-car smells to the exhaust, so effective is its ability to make all things seem logical.

      Rock on and thanks for the comments!

  7. Dana says:

    Oh, ouch! I was about to tease you about the new candy bar diet you mentioned on facebook, but after reading this it seems some treats are definitely in order.

    When I saw the pictures and captions I thought for sure you were exaggerating! Not that the Irish have ever been known to embellish.. but holy cow!

    This was awesome (for reading, not for living through) and I’m so glad you chose to share it with us. It reads like a Monty Python script (perhaps the locale has something to do with that) but with a sweet little ending to boot.

    Safe travels on your return trip!
    :)

    • Joe Daly says:

      Yeah, at first I felt guilty snapping shots on the side of the highway, but something inside of me knew that we needed the moment for posterity.

      What I didn’t really get into here was that as we sat at the side of the road, one of the highwaymen was telling jokes like Billy Connolly, while the other would periodically walk up to Phil and do the chicken dance in front of him- in that neon yellow outfit, just to poke a little fun at the groom’s distress. It was funny later on.

      Thx for the commenterinos!

  8. Matt says:

    You learn who you really are when Fate sneaks up behind you, whispers, ‘It’s go time, Cupcake,’ and punches you in the kidney.

    Hell, yes.

    That may be my favorite line I’ve read all year.

    This was hellish and hysterical all at once. I really hope your friends spend the rest of their lives in wedded bliss, because damned if it hasn’t been earned.

    • Matt says:

      Forgot to mention: all of the worst cases of food poisoning I’ve ever gotten have been from vegetarian dishes. It’s this more than anything that keeps me firmly omnivorous. Because meat is murder.

      Tasty, tasty murder.

      • Joe Daly says:

        Yanno the funny thing? I was actually smug when my meal arrived. Smug that I got a special meal. Smug that my meal, Indian food, looked better than my neighbor’s. Smug that I was doing something good for myself. Sigh…

        I hate mushrooms, but when the stewardess raved about the portabellas on my plate and asked whether I thought I might enjoy them as much as she surely did, I gave myself no choice but to eat them. I’m pretty sure they were like two little e coli petri discs, waiting for their final mission.

        I canceled my super fancy special veggie guy meal for the flight tomorrow. I’m bringing five candy bars with me instead.

        Thanks for the read, Matt!

      • Richard Cox says:

        “Tasty, tasty murder.”

        Matt, I could almost see the drool dripping onto your keyboard as you typed that. You made me laugh out loud there.

        You also made me begin to salivate for the steaks and beef ribs we’ll likely be cooking by the pool tomorrow here at my dad’s house. I can’t wait to sear those murdered rib eye steaks and consume them with some murdered potatoes and onions that were rudely uprooted from their happy home in our vegetable garden. Mmmm.

        I feel like Hannibal Lecter here. I just need some fava beans and a nice Chianti.

  9. Uche Ogbuji says:

    Great comedic timing, Joe. I distinctively laughed out loud when the wheel rolled off into traffic.

    Lumme, I’m a carnivore, but no way I’m laughing at that gastrointestinal tragedy. On a transatlantic flight? Urk!

    And the ending reflects the power of the wedding faeries. The very Horsemen of the Apocalypse might be reconstructing the Wild Bill Rodeo everywhere you look, until the actual period of the ceremony, where the faeries part the Red Sea of Chaos for the safe conduct of the best beloved.

    And then the couple heads off to Honeymoon, faerie arms give out, and all Chaos crashes emphatically back into place. :D

    • Joe Daly says:

      Thanks, Uche! Yeah, GI mishaps are no laughing matter. Until you get on the other side of one! I couldn’t help but picture the plot of “Airplane!” when they all get sick from the fish, even as I lay there praying I wouldn’t be “That Guy” who gets sick on the plane. Not surprisingly, it proved no relief to my symptoms.

      And man, you’re so right about that magic moment of the wedding- that little period where time stops, everyone smiles, and a couple hundred people manage (for the most part), to live in peace, harmony, and joviality for a few hours, before the Rosy Fingered Dawn arrives with her pit bull Chaos. :)

  10. Cynthia Hawkins says:

    Ah, just one of the terrific lines I wish I’d written: “You learn who you really are when Fate sneaks up behind you, whispers, ‘It’s go time, Cupcake,’ and punches you in the kidney.” Good stuff!

  11. Brandy says:

    “What relief we might have felt at the end of the rattling was obliterated by the sight of the right rear wheel leaving the car and rolling down the highway into rush hour traffic.”

    I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time.

    I have a story I have to tell you…if I don’t get to it this weekend, I’ll email you Monday. :)

    p.s. I’m with Irene—was totally under the impression that Scotsmen just twirl a piece of cloth around themselves, and away they go. Whoops.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Oh no- as David attests below, the wearing of a kilt is an emotionally and physically grueling event. For me the biggest hurdle was the realization that I was doing every single thing wrong as I put it on. The shoelaces are like three feet long, so I sort of twisted and twirled them around my ankles before just stuffing the tassles into my shoe. The bagpipe player laughed at me first, and then pulled me away from the door just as I was about to walk the bridesmaid down the aisle, and made me re-tie them. Nerve-wracking!

      Looking forward to your own story!

      • Brandy says:

        Three foot long shoelaces? The laces to my knee-high Doc Martens aren’t that long! Don’t feel bad, if it were me I’d have ended up looking like an S&M session gone terribly terribly wrong.

        • Joe Daly says:

          I think I speak for everyone when I say that we’re going to need you to take a stab at tying some three foot laces and show us how it comes out. :)

          I would say that the complexity of tying those infernal laces was somewhere between a Rubik’s Cube and heart surgery. But that’s just me- I don’t even know when the wheel of the car I’m in is about to leave the vehicle!

  12. Lenore says:

    that sucks that you barfed. it also sucks that all the bathrooms you had to go to were so filthy. there’s no excuse for that. and why does it take so long to put on a man skirt? i don’t get it. just unnatural for you fellas? i can get a skirt on in a few seconds. and it comes off faster. OH! just kidding, i’m totally virginal. but really, pull it together and learn how to cross-dress efficiently.

  13. Zara Potts says:

    I think everybody else has beaten me to my comments! So, let me just join the hordes and reiterate how fucking funny this is!

    Cupcake.

  14. As a Scottish person, I’m offended that you didn’t put on the face paint. We Scots enjoy going completely over the top for celebrations. Kilt, face paint, screaming “Frrrrrreeeeedom!” for no reason.

    Man, I miss my kilt. If you got yours on in only 30 mins, you’re doing something wrong… something’s missing. It used to take me hours. I’d be sweating buckets by the time it was all strapped in place.

    That ashcloud was a bitch, though. I’m glad I was on the other side of the world. I really felt sorry for the people whose lives were temporarily thrown upside down by a… volcano? Seriously? It’s not something you really expect when you’ve grown up in a little Scottish town.

    • Joe Daly says:

      David, thank you so much for vouching for the time it takes to put on a kilt. And you are, of course, dead on about me doing something wrong. I had the kilt on backwards, the laces all wrong, the brogues sticking out in the front, and the tie too loose. I did, however, enjoy using the sporran for my sunglasses and mobile. Man, chicks have it made with this purse thing.

      I did notice random Scots walking down the street, spontaneously bursting into “Frrrrrreeeeeeeeedom!” every block or so. I thought they were playing a joke on me. Wait- maybe they were.

      • Yes, sporrans are great for carrying stuff. I would, though, how much men needed to carry back then… With a phone and a pack of cigarettes it’s pretty much stuffed full.

        Once you start to dance or run, you realize the flaw in the sporran design. It’s like taking a hard punch the nuts every time it bounces.

  15. Jordan Ancel says:

    Joe Joe JOE!! The luggage? Really? This does not make guys look good. It’s accurate, because, well, of course it should have been that easy, but not good.

    Your talent for comedic retelling of this event is superb! This is definitely one of those “You can’t make this shit up” stories.

    Glad it all worked out in the end, but I was really hoping you’d don the blue face paint.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Jordan, please accept my sincerest apologies for the slight I have visited upon our gender. Yeah, I sort of thought that the luggage thing was pretty far from logic, but a teensy little voice inside really hoped that maybe shifting the weight of the car… oh, what the hell am I saying? Yeah, I’m a boob. :)

      I’m just glad I didn’t have the blue face paint on when the car broke down. Can’t imagine how THAT would have looked to the authorities…

  16. Judy Prince says:

    Yeah, yeah, nice post, Joe—-but what did you guys wear under your kilts?

    Seriously, this was a rollercoaster of tea-spits, beginning with ” I will now allow my carnivorous friends a moment to laugh at my expense.”

    And oh I could just SEE every one of you dummies on the left side of the road deciding the luggage needed moving!! Love that! And then you guys actually got back in the car and pulled out onto the highway!

    Another major tea-spit: ‘ “Yeah, what can we do? Just turn up the radio and we’ll figure it out when we get there,” added Timmy, without a trace of irony’.

    I’ll stop now. Just know that you’ve kept me smiling for a half hour now, and loaded me with giggle-memories.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Judy, I feel like I owe you a cup of tea! Sorry for all the spitting. :)

      Yeah, we were entirely hapless on the side of the road. And being mocked by the day-glo highwaymen didn’t bolster anyone’s self-esteem, either. I wish I had the video of the one guy doing the chicken dance in front of the groom, who was moments away from collapsing under the weight of the situation. It was so inappropriate that it was actually really funny.

      Thanks for the read and the always funny comments!

      • Judy Prince says:

        Joe, I’m laffing all over again at the stuff in your post. When you and Slade and Simon and Matt and Anon and reno and Greg and Jordan do guy-group stoopid takes in your posts and comments, I abso-tively LOVE IT!!!

        Women do stoopid stuff, too, but it’s not nearly as funny for some reason. ;-)

        It’s like there’s an understanding with guys that illogic is logical and even works. Oh does it ever make grand comedy! And the characters—–OMG. Every one of them advancing his ideas while the group says Yeah, that makes sense—–HOOOOOOOOT!!!!!

        Like you said, you can’t make this stuff up!

        Give us more more more, Joe!

  17. Simon Smithson says:

    “You learn who you really are when Fate sneaks up behind you, whispers, “It’s go time, Cupcake,” and punches you in the kidney.”

    Fuck yes. I think I just fell even deeper in bromance with you.

    Wait.

    Or should that be Joemance?

    Dude.

    I’m so glad all these things happened to you and not to me.

    Even gladder that everyone (except the sheep) made it through unscathed.

    Nothing quite like that rising panic in your stomach to see you through the day.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Simon, our blossoming bromance is the highlight of my year. Looking forward to giving LA the what for next week!

      Yes, a little panic and ulcer-twisting hysteria always seems to be good for the soul. By the end of the week, as I sat in my London hotel room, I found myself practically giggling at the realization that I was not throwing up, stuck on the side of a highway, or being harassed by a gaggle of mad Scots demanding that I prove my worthiness on a dance floor.

      Rock on, brah, and see you soon!

  18. Gregory Messina says:

    Great story, Joe. I think you just wrote the sequel for THE HANGOVER.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Thanks, Greg! I didn’t even think of that movie, but as soon as you referenced it, it all made perfect sense. Thankfully, I avoided both Mike Tyson and angry jungle cats, tho. :)

  19. Slade Ham says:

    I won’t even begin to list the funny parts that got me. I’m a tough judge of humor writing, but this was good. Particularly the part where the rattling stopped because the tire fell off. Bravo, brother.

    With that said, I laughed hardest here:

    The food poisoning kicked in at a cruising altitude of 37,000 feet, approximately five hours after polishing off the special vegetarian meal that I had requested for myself. I will now allow my carnivorous friends a moment to laugh at my expense.

    Hardest between those two sentences actually… as a pure carnivore right after I heard that the vegetarian thing didn’t work out so well, and right before you gave me permission :)

    • Joe Daly says:

      Thanks, man. Your comment about being a carnivore is funny because I could just picture people saying, “Hah! Serves you right, Mr. Sensitive California Vegetarian Guy!” And the truth is that I got my meal served first, and it looked really, really good, so I have to admit that I felt a little smug eating my special little meal while everyone else was choosing between the chicken and fish. So as I began yelling at the ground in Gatwick, I couldn’t help but think that poetic justice was being served to me, with a rich, delicious e coli glaze.

  20. Fuck me! This is hilarious and so well executed it’s a bit eerie.

    Since there is so much debate lately on TNB regarding criticism I’m going to chime in and be harsh. How did you not know it was the tire? I’m a girl, I throw like a girl and I just in fact finished painting my toenails and I knew it was the tire.

    Geeeesh.

  21. Simone says:

    This was too hilarious. You had me at ” Welcome to Stokedville, Population: Me.”

    For some reason, I read “Gordon hit on the sheep” in stead of “Gordon hit the sheep.” I thought: “Huh? Isn’t hitting on sheep traditionally an Aussie or NZ thing?” Then I put my glasses on and re-read the line. (No offense intended to either of the nationalities mentioned, SS & ZP).

    Talking on the porcelain telephone for too long is never a good thing. What exactly did you eat that made you toss your cookies?

    Joe, I clasped my hands over my eyes and gasped in horror, because I could literally see the TYRE coming off the car in my mind’s eye.

    Glad that the wedding was pulled off in a grand manner and that fun was had by all. Can’t wait to see the photos though.

    • Joe Daly says:

      “Talking on the porcelain telephone” is a new one on me- thanks! What I ate was some kind of Indian dish, but if I were a betting man, I’d wager it was the side of portobello mushrooms. I’m particularly rueful of those because I hate mushrooms and had no intention of eating the ones on my tray. But the stewardess came over and started gushing about how much she loved them, and how great they were in the summer, blah, blah, blah. So really, not to offend her, I ate them, washing them down with as much Diet Coke and bread as I could.

      Anyway, for dinner the next night, we went out for… wait… wait… you know it’s coming… here it is: Indian food!

      You knew it was the TIRE too? That’s it. Rather than continue to view myself as foolish and inept, I’m just going to start believing that the women of TNB are all really good mechanics.

      Photos on Facebook- enjoy!

      • Simone says:

        No wonder you and I get along so well. I also hate mushrooms. I find them pointless and tasteless. Bleh… I have one question for you: Was the stewardess hot? If so, then you used those mushrooms to totally impress her, thereby submitting yourself to mushroom mayhem. If not, then why the bloody hell didn’t you offend the poor girl and stand your ground? You should have just offered them to her, since she loved them so much…

        Indian food… I had Indian food for lunch today! Booyah!! I hope that, that particular Indian food was better and didn’t leave a bad after-taste in your mouth?

        Of course it was the TYRE! TNB women are showing their true coloUrs with their mechanical skills. I’m proud to be amongst them.

        Ooh, will go look. Yay!!

        • Joe Daly says:

          >>Was the stewardess hot?<<

          Sadly, no. If I had told her to act her age, she probably would have died. I think she just pulled the Jedi mind trick on me- she probably knew there was e coli all over the portobellos and thought it would be fun to make the fancy pants special meal California guy eat them.

          You’re so right though- mushrooms are gross. Which makes me a boob for eating them.

          What other words do you girls spell funny?

        • Dana says:

          “..she probably would have died.” Ha!

          Portabellas rule. You mushroom haters are insane. I’m sure it was the filthy diet coke can. ;)
          I’ve found in general that airline vegetarian meals wholeheartedly suck. The temperature always seems to be lukewarm whether it’s salad or entree. Honestly though, food poisoning on a transatlantic flight would rank right up there as one of my worst nightmares.

          Next time I fly I’m taking nabs.

        • Joe Daly says:

          No Diet Coke was involved!

          This meal was, safe for the slimy mushrooms I foolishly decided to gobble (People Pleasers, Unite!), a tasty treat. Going down, that is. On the way back up, soaked in stomach acid and the bile of a day’s worth of coffee and candy, it was pretty gross.

          When I left the stall after puking for the first time, I noticed that the one next to me had recently been visited by another puker (who lacked the courtesy or social wherewithal to flush), and I had to wonder if maybe another vegetarian flyer had been taken down.

          Yeah, you take nabs the next time you fly. Whoever the hell that is.

  22. Simone says:

    Joe, I think I may send you some sequined nipple caps for every time you’ve called yourself a ‘boob’ in these comments. I’m guessing that red is your colour?

    As for the words we spell correctly there are a few, although not a great list comes to mind at the moment. There are some words like ‘Baptise’ that you probably spell with a ‘z’ instead of an ‘s’.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Simone, I could really use some sequined nipple caps, as I often have formal events to attend. Plus, now that I know how to put on a kilt, I think they would complement that outfit rather neatly.

      Out of curiosity, how do people south of the equator go about identifying the words whose spellings they want to change?

      • Simone says:

        I bet I could make you some nipple caps. I agree, that they may indeed compliment your kilt quite nicely.

        Joe, it’s called a D-I-C-T-I-O-N-A-R-Y. I’m guessing that you’re deprived of them in the USA. Such a pity, and no wonder you spell words funny! *sigh*

  23. angela says:

    i can’t believe i almost missed your piece! so glad i didn’t.

    so many funny lines, i lost count. and i’m sitting here laughing to myself at my new job, which i’m sure doesn’t make a good impression.

    i’m glad everything turned out fine, as they always do with weddings, even with disasters.

    and who knew it took so long to put on a kilt?! not me.

    • Judy Prince says:

      Echoing Joe here, angela, good luck with the new job! Ought to yield you some fine new TNB posts (names changed, natch). ;-)

  24. Joe Daly says:

    Thanks, Angela! Yeah, I certainly had no idea a kilt was such an ordeal. I figured that if it takes me about 5 minutes to throw on a regular suit, a kilt should take about 3. Nope.

    Good luck with the new job! Glad to see they’re not blocking TNB on you. :)

  25. Steve Poltz says:

    Dear Joe,

    I loved this story. I was able to follow along without my ADD kicking in. Man, the last few sentences kicked my arse. I thought it was all fun and games until you described everyone singing “Loch Lomand” in a circle around the bride and groom. The kicker is the last sentence: “At that moment, it hit me- there’s a memory, a lesson, and even a smile tucked away inside every second of the day. Sometimes you just have to look past all the noise to find it.”

    Nice job. Great story. I think it would be cool if other people could read it. Like if it could go up on one of those blogs that are on the internet. Then maybe someone in Scotland could read it if they were in a cafe with wifi. And stuff. Just an idea I’m throwing out there because I want other people to read this.

    Yours in Christ,
    Steve

    • Joe Daly says:

      Thanks, Steve! It’s not the shortest of pieces, so I appreciate you sticking with it. The “Loch Lomond” moment was beautiful. I had heard it was a tradition at Scottish weddings, but to actually see it done was intensely moving. It was cool to be on this hill in northwestern Europe, watching these two people be serenaded by a room full of people, and realize that at that moment, nothing outside of that room mattered to anyone there.

      They don’t have the internet in Scotland. They just write messages on sheep and send them off into the hills.

      Do you think Christ signs his emails, “Yours in Steve?” My money’s on yes.

      Thanks for the read!

  26. Brian Eckert says:

    I love to travel and have found that most of my best stories from on the road involve circumstances that contain a high amount of discomfort while they are happening.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Brian, you’re so right- surviving whacked out, unforeseeable, harrowing/annoying events are the ones you enjoy telling all the more. The key is to remember that while they’re happening!

  27. sue says:

    Joe, this was too funny! Pretty much made my day. And if it makes you feel any better, I too have been crouched down on the urine soaked floor of an airline bathroom, resting my head against the porcelain. And at the time, I didn’t even care. In hindsight, it was the beginning of an amazing trip. Maybe there’s some universal law that every great story-worthy trip must start out sketchy.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Thanks, Sue! Glad to hear I’m not the only one who’s had to crawl around in airplane urine. And you’re so right- while it’s happening, you could care less that the knees of your jeans are parked in the urine of half of economy.

      And let’s face it- no one wants to hear about trips that go perfectly. It’s the schadenfreude in all of us!

  28. Man, I was right there with you. Did the “shrimp dance” once on a flight to Amsterdam. Never eat Thai food at 3am, but especially pre trans-Atlantic. Just the word Gatwick makes me cringe, even now. I love a good kilt story, and this measures up. BTW, What makes you think Kimmy K has extra collagen? Sorry, doubter, but that action’s natural. Just saying.

    • Joe Daly says:

      >>Did the “shrimp dance” once on a flight to Amsterdam.<<

      Ugh. At least you had a happy destination awaiting you. Was your recovery swift, or did you enjoy Amsterdam from the confines of your hotel room?

      Kimmy K is true blue, eh? Well I’ll be a silicone boobie…

      When you heading down to see your agent??

  29. Dana says:

    I read this to Bill yesterday. When I got to the part about the car breaking down he could hardly contain himself. “It’s the suspension! It’s the suspension!” And then the wheel rolled down the road… Ha!

    Also, I was surprised to find myself teary and choked up as I read the last few paragraphs, since I was covering familiar terrain. What a sap. :)

  30. Meg Worden says:

    “Welcome to Stokedville, Population: Me.”

    It appears it’s all been said here…but can’t help myself from adding my gut splitting laughter to the melee. Fucking hysterical, Joe. Painful, but painfully, fucking hysterical.

    Glad you made it out alive. With your humor wholly intact, and it would appear, sharpened to a fine little point. Stab. Take that, Cupcake! Stab.

  31. [...] also went to Scotland, where our resident attorney took a crash course in Murphy’s [...]

  32. Laurie Hanna says:

    Was just browsing through your stories and stumbled across this masterpiece! I know I’m wicked late in commenting, but hey…that’s just how I roll. Just want to say that the final lines: “At that moment, it hit me- there’s a memory, a lesson, and even a smile tucked away inside every second of the day. Sometimes you just have to look past all the noise to find it” really made me warm and fuzzy Joe. REALLY! Rock on my friend…

  33. [...] DALY has a really bad trip, worse than you did, no matter what you come up [...]

  34. Ayurveda says:

    Pilates…

    The Nervous Breakdown…

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