Got beef?

This past weekend I was invited to a going away party for a friend deploying to Iraq. I was looking forward to an evening with great friends at one of my favorite restaurants in San Diego.

The evening started off innocently enough; we all mingled and sipped on cocktails. Then it became time to sit down for dinner.

We were all seated at a long family-style dinner table. It was gorgeously set and decorated.

The hosts for the evening stood up to make a speech. They kindly thanked everyone for coming and said some words about the deployment. Then… all of a sudden they called an officiant to the front of the room.

The room grew quiet. What was happening? Are they getting engaged? Is she pregnant? Is this for real?

Suddenly, my friend grabbed something out of a box. It was a long, beautiful veil. As she placed it on her head we all gasped. This was happening! They are getting married in front of us!

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Joyous sobs and cries spread throughout the room. Complete shock and joy consumed all of us. Such an amazing moment!

The “going away party” ended up being one of the top ten coolest moments of my life. It was such a wonderful feeling to be surprised for something so special.

Celebration ensued. We feasted like kings. The food was Russian-Georgian fare and insanely delicious.

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The food was served “family-style” on the large table for 30 (or so). I was filling my plate with all sorts of goodies: cabbage rolls, eggplant salad, lamb, and dumplings. Then I saw it… my favorite, beef stroganoff. I couldn’t grab it fast enough. I needed to get that buttery-perfection in my mouth immediately.

In search of a spoon, I noticed one in the rice bowl. I casually knocked it against the side of the bowl to shake off any pieces of rice before I dug into the stroganoff.

Well… the hitting of the spoon against the bowl caused quite a loud noise. Loud enough for people to think I wanted to give a speech.

In a matter of seconds, the entire room was looking at me.

Shoot. I didn’t want to speak. I had nothing prepared. I just wanted to eat the damn stroganoff.

Someone yelled, “speech,” and I felt inclined to say something.

The only thing that came to mind was… “The beef stroganoff is really good.” And I said it in my squeaky, pre-pubescent voice.

Not exactly an inspirational or related to a loving wedding toast.

So I continued…

“What do they call a herd of masturbating cattle?”

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The crowd had a very confused look on their faces. Maybe some were overcome in horror, I don’t really know; it’s all really fuzzy.

“Beef stroganoff.”

I could feel my face getting hot. I decided to just sit down.

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I heard a few chuckles but I think for the most part people were confused and most likely in shock that I used the word “masturbation” in a wedding toast that made no mention of the wedding or couple.

Luckily, there was a big Moscow mule in front of me and I frantically took large gulps to calm my nerves… and ego.

Throughout the evening, people casually mentioned to me that they loved my awkward toast. Or should I say “Pawkward” toast.

Let’s this be another lesson kids… don’t try to tell bad jokes at inappropriate times. And always, always, order the beef stroganoff.

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