This one is related to my post on Why I Love Southwest Airlines.
It was about one hour before I was to be married. My job was pretty much finished. All of the groomsmen and ushers were there (mostly sober) and taking their responsibilities seriously. Everything was well under control - just like my future wife wanted it to be. The videographer was setting up cameras around the church and put a hidden microphone on me while the flower lady pinned my boutonniere on my tux. The mike was going to be turned on 10 minutes before the start of the ceremony so the throngs of attendees could hear our vows.
All I needed to do now was succinctly said by my future father-in-law: "Your part is easy, Matt. You're like the lamb being led to the slaughter."
So, at T-Minus one hour, I was sent back into the minister's office (right outside of the area where the altar was). Reverend Brandon was a very nice guy. His son was a fighter pilot in the Navy, and, since I was in the Army, we had the military as a topic of common ground.
Rev. Brandon's son was an F-14D pilot. He is pretty well known in the Navy - he was the first guy to survive an F-14D crash. When the Navy went from the F-14C to F-14D, there were a series of fatal crashes. The crashes were invariably pinned on the pilots. Rev. Brandon's son survived to tell what happened. He was boarded during the process - which means you are stripped of flying priveledges and have to defend your actions to a board of senior officers.
Turns out that Brandon's son was not at fault and was reassigned as an F-14D Instructor Pilot - teaching Navy Pilots what to watch out for in the F-14D.
So Rev. Brandon and I spent a few minutes chatting about his son and family in the Navy.
Rev. Brandon: "So, Matt, how do you feel right now?"
I thought it over for a few seconds: "Well, it's kind of like jumping out of airplanes."
Rev. Brandon smiled: "Really? I've never heard that before."
Me: "Yeah, when you are about 2 or 3 days before a jump, you are totally psyched up for it. You talk about how great it is going to be. You get charged up just thinking about it."
Rev. Brandon, not understanding that I hadn't finished, yet: "That's nice, Matt."
Me: "Well, that's until you get on the plane or helicopter. That's when your whole outlook changes - you wonder what the HELL you are doing there! You think you should be anywhere but on that aircraft."
My best man, John, busts into Rev. Brandon's office: "Matt! Your mike is ON! The whole church can here you!"
1. It looks like I am not the only one to screw up this way...this one via Paul at Sanity's Edge. It's a good one, too. Check it out.
2. For the few that emailed the question about my military mishap with the French General. And, no, General Jannier was not on the invite list. Thanks for asking.