Thursday, April 17, 2008

M Is For Marriage

Sole Mates

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON



Remember the song "Get me to the church on time" from My Fair Lady? There's this childhood friend of mine, whom I'm still very close to. He's late for everything. Yep, I mean everything. But we were determined that if there was one thing he'd be on time for, it would be his own wedding.

If I cloak this yarn in the necessary anonymity, I'm sure he'll have a restrospective chuckle as well.

He's a very - how shall I put this - meticulous dresser. You know the sort of bloke I mean? Goes in for a shower and comes out about 45 minutes later. Never in a hurry to do anything. Pretty easy-paced and relaxed about life.

So on the day of his wedding, I thought I'd have a bit of fun. Yep, I have to confess, I've always been a bit of a prankster and if you'd like to catch up on what happened to one of my workmates, you'll need to read Name, Prank And Serial Number.

The wedding day dawned (time for a cliche) bright and clear. His tuxedo was freshly pressed. His bow tie was immaculate. The whole outfit waited on the external door of a cupboard. Only the finest threads for this bloke. The label on the tux said Hugo Boss.

He's that sort of guy. Get the picture?

But precisely because he's that sort of guy, I had a great plan ready.

I was going to paint the word "HELP'' on the sole of his left shoe and the word "ME'' on the sole of his right shoe. So that when he knelt down at the altar, the entire congregation would see the fluoro message ``HELP ME''.


Yes, I know all about the sanctity of marriage and the overwhelming need to be respectful in church. But the opportunity was just too good to miss.

When he went in for his shower, I knew I had time on my side. The way I figured it, a bloke who had taken 45 minutes all his life just to get ready for school, was odds-on to take 90 minutes on his wedding day.

Follow my logic?

So as soon as he went in for his shower, I commandeered his shoes. His aunt, a delightful woman, was horrified. She asked if I was going to hide his shoes.

Nope, I chuckled, worse than that.

What could be worse than hiding his shoes, she asked, intrigued.

Er, painting then, I fessed up.

At this point I thought she was going to swoon gracefully before calling bravely for the smelling salts.


I had the paintbrushes handy, I had the paint handy. At this point I thought it would be pertinent to mention that her two eldest sons, both gifted artists as well as ordained Catholic priests, were my fellow conspirators. They had done a contra deal with me and supplied me with the paint and the brushes. And they were laughing in the background, because a) they shared any perceived guilt in the project and b) they knew exactly what I was doing.

I picked up the left shoe and in my neatest, boldest script, I painted HELP on the sole in large, condensed script. I chose the colours carefully. Because the soles of his shoes were dark brown leather, I chose red and yellow paint. As in red and yellow fluoro paint. The way I figured it - taking into consideration my extensive experience in newspaper and magazine design - red and yellow would be highly visible.

I was as proud of my handiwork as Michelangelo would have been of the Sistine Chapel ceiling.

By this time, my buddy's aunt was fanning herself to ward off the impending panic attack. "That's not going to dry before he gets dressed," she pointed out.

I pointed out that her nephew would not emerge for at least another half-hour. And then I slipped in the remark that I was about to put on the oven and put the shoes in for five minutes, just to make sure the paint was well and truly dry.

I was kidding, but she clasped the piano, the better to break her fall.

When the colour drained from her face, I promised her I was exaggerating. The paint was almost dry. I wouldn't have to put his clod-hoppers in the oven.

Yeah, right, she was thinking. She'd known me long enough to recognise the fact that it was just the sort of thing I would do for the sake of a prank. So she hovered around. Just in case I reached for the oven door.


Like a burglar hiding the evidence, I placed the shoes back in precisely the same spot from where I had "liberated" them. Sure enough, he put them on and laced them up without a shred of suspicion. Everything was going to plan.

We drove to the appointed address to take some family photographs before the wedding. Then things started to fall apart. Because we were very close to the church, it was decided that we would simply walk across.

This was an unexpected spoke in the wheel. I'm a great advocate of walking and other healthy pastimes. But, for cryin' out loud, not when a guy's got paint on his shoes. I was running out of options. What could I do? Ring Dial-A-Palanquin, perhaps? Phone Dial-A-Phaeton? Whistle up a retinue of palace guards to transport him, like some ancient potentate, to the church door?

So we walked. A couple of hundred metres, that was all. I gritted my teeth all the way. Each step that he took drove a knife into my soul, the soul of an inveterate prankster. By the time he knelt at the altar, you had to look really closely to see the words "HELP ME!"

Now I know how Rembrandt must have felt (posthumously, of course) when his masterpiece "The Night Watch" was slashed to ribbons.

I felt like I needed a quadruple art bypass.


For the home of ABC Wednesday, go to Mrs Nesbitt's Place.

40 comments:

Suldog said...

God, that's a funny story, David. I'm sorry your handiwork went pretty much for naught, but imagining it panning out is still priceless.

holly said...

i'm soooo disappointed. all that work and no final fanfare.

that's why i always go for the much simpler and easier 'kick me' slapped on the back at the last minute. sloppy but effective.

Hilary said...

Great story, David. I could almost see the twinkle in your eye. And I love the wonderful photos which illustrated as you went along.. great post. :)

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Excellent story, David. As the prank began to unfold I had a nasty suspicion that your friend was going to put on a different pair of shoes!

Hope the wedding went well!

Crystal xx

Hammer said...

Sounds like a great prank!

I'm not sure I could have kept myself composed on the way to the chapel.

Seamus said...

Letters lost in the shuffle and grind!

Kimberly said...

David that's brilliant! The idea, not the rather disappointing end to your fab prank.

Pernille's ting og tang said...

That is a very funny story. Very beautiful photos to. The first one is amazing!
Have a lovely evening:)

Katney said...

His name wan't Pete. was it? No, our friend Pete's "help me" at his wedding a week before ours was in white.

Our best man, on the other hand, a short roundish sort of a fellow, was Harry. Though a bit hung over, Harry was on time for our wedding. But some six months later he was late for his own. You see, unlike the shop where my Dad placed the order for the tux rentals, who had Dad calling me to ask "Are you sure?", the one for Harry's wedding day assumed the waist/inseam figures were reversed. So on the morning of Harry's nuptials, five groomsmen spent the morning scouring the city for 36/30 pants, since Harry certainly could not wear the 30/36 ones that had been provided.

Daryl E said...

Oh you gave him the old brush off 'eh?

RuneE said...

Maybe, miscarried mystery marriage?

Great story with very fittin illustrations!

PS Thank you for the tip - it will be tried out very soon, guess where & when...

John said...

This is a great story David! Excellent M post and shots with small DOF.
Well done as usual.

~Fathairybastard~ said...

Hilarious. I bet there was a huge laugh at the church.

Tammy said...

Oh my you are so bad. ROFL!!!!!

Ackworth Born said...

what a story - we got our wedding photos back and there is my dad with his hands behind his back and his fingers crossed!

Akelamalu said...

Oh I'm disappointed I was expecting to see a photograph of the shoes.

You could say his 'sole' was saved! ;)

Lin said...

Oh, oh, oh ... just knew you were a devious soul after my own heart. Thing of it is, I would have painted the offending words on his shoes' insteps. I grant no quarter to missteps in such a grand plan of mischief!

Corey~living and loving said...

oh my word. I love love love this post. good memory to share.

Craver Vii said...

That is so funny, David! Say, does it still hurt to tell the story, of have you had enough time to heel?

nonizamboni said...

Well, thank you for my weekly supply of endorphins! Between your pal's poor aunt and your quadruple art bypass, I could hardly stay attached to my chair.
Great story--thanks for sharing!

starnitesky said...

That is so funny David after all your artwork!

CrazyCath said...

That is so funny! I love the title and it looks like some one "up there" put this prankster in his place that day! LMAO.

I would NEVER have guessed you were a prankster... (grin)

Great post. Great photos to it to. Very clever. I could feel your excitement and the tension as he walked! Remind me to cancel your invite to anything where "smooth sailing" is required....!

mrsnesbitt said...

Oh David, this is the part of ABC Wednesday I love. Rich dialogue! And I would think thi was decided only a matter of a day ago...like all spontaneous good stuff! Absolutely loved it!


Dxx

Sharon said...

*snort* That was a funny story! If only....

Stacey Huston said...

Great try anyhow. I will have to remember that one. That is the way my pranks usually go. Foiled again..LOL

BumbleVee said...

I always love your play on words....

alicesg said...

Interesting story and the photos are great.

simon said...

ahahahaha!!!! very funny!!!!

Momma said...

GREAT story, David! I nominate this for POTD tomorrow. You know, I found myself wondering, though, why such a meticulous dresser didn't do one last spiff up of his shoes or check the soles. I tend to do that, though I'm not meticulous. I just walk the dogs a lot!

Peace - D

Jeff B said...

That was great! I only wish it would have gone according to plan for you. I love your sense of humor.

CamiKaos said...

I have to tell you those shoe images are absolutely wonderful.

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

‘Tis terrible when grand art is taken from the world before it can be truly appreciate.

Excellent yarn, David!

Misty Dawn said...

My uncle did this same exact thing to his brother (another uncle). I was not born yet, but my dad has told me all about it :-) I think my uncle used white shoe polish though, and it didn't wear off. hehe

Maggie May said...

This made a really good read!
I know some one who had this prank played on him, and it worked well & came out in the photos!

quilly said...

It's very late here. This post is quite long. I have 28 other people waiting to hear from me and two more of your posts to read. I almost didn't finish this one, but it was so worth it for that last line. Thank you, David.

Dragonstar said...

Brilliant story David! I love it! What a shame it was a wash-out (well, rub-out)
The illustrations are good, too. I particularly like the window at the top.

Sandy said...

I loved it! Great post! I nominate you for Post of the Day!

Mima said...

I know it sounds grumpy, but I think I am really glad for the bride that their big day wasn't overtaken by some painted shoes! Naughty, naughty!!

becky voyles said...

Loved this story. You win. Hands down.

Deborah Gamble said...

David,

Delightful story, and for the sanctity of marriage's sake, I'm somewhat relieved the paint wore off.

Your really are DH's cousin.

Debbie