There is a point midway through the wedding reception where there is a wild chase around the room. One man grabs a bottle of vodka from another man and takes off running, with two groomsmen in hot pursuit. Their course is predetermined and several of us have the job of making sure the way is clear so they’re not running into chairs, tables and, more importantly, audience members. As caterer Vinnie Black last night, I was in charge of keeping the area near the bar clear. The chase is very quick so there’s just a key ten seconds or so when the way must be kept clear.
The chase was just beginning when a woman two feet from me suddenly leapt to her feet and began to dart directly into the path of the chasers, of whom she was completely unaware. I put my arm up to stop her and said, “Wait just a moment till they go by.” She tried most earnestly to push my arm away and squirm past, even as the first large actor was rushing by at a high rate of speed, missing us by inches. The woman continued to squirm past, yelling at me, “I have terrible migraine and I have to leave NOW!” I continued to hold her back for another 5 seconds or so, until the last actor had run by, lest she find herself in far worse pain than a migraine. She then dashed away. Now it was the boyfriend’s turn at me.
He got right up in my face. “What’s your f---- problem?” he yelled at me. “You get the hell away from here! Who the f--- do you think you are? You need to BACK OFF!” he continued.
I simply said, “I just saved her from being injured. Do you understand me?” Apparently, he did not.
“You do NOT touch her, G--d-----!” he went on. I repeated my statement that I had just saved her from being injured and added that he ought to thank me for looking out for her safety. His response was a terse, shouted, “F--- you!” plus a reiterated, “You need to back off!”
At that point, I got into HIS face and said, sarcastically, “You’re welcome!” then turned and walked away.
As I learned after the show, he then stormed into the lobby and met up with our business manager, toward whom he reportedly continued his string of obscenities. I was also told that the other people at the table, who apparently knew the guy, apologized to our business manager for his actions. I guess we’ll see if there’s any additional fallout directed my way when I get to the show tonight.
But back to the moment last night. The unfortunate thing about such a confrontation, for me anyway, is that it tends to inject me with a sudden shot of adrenaline, which wouldn’t be such a problem except that less than a minute after the incident occurred, I had to grab a microphone and do Vinnie’s longest monologue of the evening. I have to say it was probably the most difficult monologue I’ve ever performed. My brain was jumping all around, my vital signs were probably all pegged, and I had to stand there telling corny jokes, making announcements, and bantering with Tony, Tina, and my wife Loretta. And looking like I was having a blast doing it. When the monologue was over, my legs began to tremble a bit and I had to go to a corner and sit down for a moment while other show events transpired.
I suppose I don’t really know Ms. Migraine or Mr. Tough Guy well enough to conduct a detailed analysis of their psyches. And I’m well aware that a bad migraine can be a serious and debilitating thing. Having said that, I’m still left with the clear impression that these two deserve one another, and perhaps she loves him more than ever today now that he has defended her honor so nobly.