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6:01 a.m. - 2003-03-15

HOW TO RUIN SOMEONE'S BIG DAY IN ONE EASY STEP

Before I start ... everything I'm about to tell you is 100% true. Nothing is fabricated for entertainment purposes. You'll soon realize this because it's not an entertaining entry.

I officially feel terrible.

I can't remember if I've told you guys or not, but today I'm supposed to deejay a wedding reception.

Have I told you that? Yes? No??

Don't worry ... it's a hypothetical question. No need to freak just yet.

I don't know these people. My partner in deejaying, Billy lined the gig up. He's done all the communication back and forth with the people and just told me where to go and what time to be there.

Fine. No problem.

So yesterday, I'm sitting at my desk at work and the phone rings.

It's 2:35 p.m.

It's Billy on the line.

"Uncle Bob," he says in a really strange voice. "I know we joke around an awful lot and always have...but I'm being totally serious right now."

"Okay," I said, truly expecting him to have yet another joke ready, because that's how Billy is. Very light-hearted and a super nice guy.

"That wedding you're deejaying tomorrow? I just talked to the father of the bride. IT'S TODAY."

I laughed. I thought it was a good joke.

He wasn't joking. He had wrote down the correct date ... March 14th. But naturally thought that the wedding would be on Saturday and not a Friday so he didn't bother to confirm it on a calendar.

I was supposed to be there at 3:00 to begin setting up the system and doing soundchecks, etc.

At 5:00, the people would start coming in and the music would play until 9 p.m.

It's now 2:37 p.m.

"I need you to go pick up the equipment and go set up now," he says.

"Billy, I can't," I said. "I'm at work right now."

"You can't just leave?" he asks.

Normally, I probably could. But I had left at 2 on Tuesday, at 3 on Wednesday and I had PROMISED my boss that I would be here the full eight hours for the rest of the week.

"I can't leave here until 5, Billy," I said.

Billy was freaking out. I've been friends with this guy for almost 20 years. I've NEVER heard him like this.

"What are we going to do? What are we going to do?" he was repeating over and over.

"Here's what we do," I said. "You take the equipment over there and set it up. At 5:00, you start playing and AS SOON AS I CAN GET THERE, I will be there to take over."

"I've got to be at work at midnight," he said. "I've got to get some sleep. I can't function at work without sleep."

(Billy's the night manager at a local casino. He works from midnight to 10 a.m. four days a week)

"I'm sorry Billy," I said calmly. "But that's the only thing we can do. I'm not dressed to deejay a wedding reception and I have to pick up Andrew after work and take him home and wait for Susie to get home to keep him."

"Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, oh shit!" he kept saying, completely freaking out. "I've never done this before. I've never completely screwed up the dates of someone's party before."

"Well, who the hell gets married on a Friday?" I asked, hoping to boost his ego just a bit. "Naturally we thought it was Saturday."

"That's right," he said. "In 15 years, I've never deejayed a wedding reception on a Friday."

"So there you go," I said. "Now get out there, set the stuff up and I'll be there by 6 p.m."

"Okay," he said. "I'll keep in touch until then."

*CLICK*

He hangs up and I start freaking out.

The bride has asked for only four things to be played during the reception. Paul Simon, Glenn Miller, Motown and songs from the 1970s.

No specifics there. She just named two artists, an entire record label and an entire decade worth of music.

My plan, since I basically had to watch Andrew all week long at night, was to get up early this morning, download a great amount of each artist, record label and decade and burn some discs to play at the reception.

So I had NONE of this stuff. ZERO.

Granted, I had plenty of music from the 1970s. But something tells me she wanted to hear love songs from the 1970s and not "Cat Scratch Fever" by Ted Nugent.

So I'm now freaking out at work and making a list of everything I need to do before the party.

At 4:30, I'm talking to the woman whose office is next to mine and I tell her I'm slightly freaking out because I'm supposed to be deejaying a girl's wedding reception in 30 minutes, but I have to go home, get dressed, gather up some discs and then drive to another city to play the music.

The woman told me to go tell the boss that I'm having a "personal emergency" and that I need to leave.

It's worth a try. I was literally freaking out at this point anyway.

I go to the boss and tell him about the personal emergency. He tells me to leave immediately.

I've got the most awesome boss in the world. He's totally cool and the most fair and diplomatic boss you could ever have. I just want to say that.

So I'm racing home through traffic. I need to shave. I need to iron a shirt. I need to go through my CD collection and pull out any discs that may have decent, popular love songs on them.

I get home and I'm like a tornado in the house, trying to get everything together.

It's 4:55 p.m.

Billy should be cranking up the music any second now.

The phone rings.

It's Billy.

"Uncle Bob," he says. "I'm not joking around here."

"Okay," I say.

"I have to tell the girl we can't do it."

"What???" I said.

Last weekend, Billy decided that he needed an extra CD player in his deejay case. The deejay case is a big case full of all his equipment where everything's already hooked together and all you do is take the lid off and you're ready to go.

But his CD players are about five years old and his concern was that one of them could possibly go out at a party someday. So the third CD player would serve as the backup CD player.

He took the case to a guy who does all this stuff.

He went to pick the case up from the guy and the guy had taken the entire case apart and hadn't put it back together again.

It's basically about a three hour job to put back together. Even for a professional.

And it was scattered all over the back room of this guy's music shop.

"Have you told these people that there won't be any music at their wedding reception?" I said.

"I'm sitting in my van in the parking lot right now," he said. "I'm terrified to go in there and have to face these people."

"Billy, it's 5 p.m." I said. "I think that they realize that something's up since there's no equipment set up anywhere."

These people were holding their reception in a ballroom. With a huge dance floor. They were EXPECTING the music to play a large part in their wedding reception.

People.

You have no idea how shitty I felt.

Granted ... my name's not associated with this in any way. Billy has dealt with these people from the very beginning. In fact, they didn't even know that he wouldn't be playing the gig himself. They had no idea that I would be involved with it.

But I just feel like shit for my buddy.

Who had to go tell a bride that there would be no dance with her father on her most special of days.

There would be no first dance with her new husband.

There would be nobody there to announce the cutting of the cake, the throwing of the garter or the tossing of the bouquet.

There would be no music.

Just silence. All night long.

Sorry that you rented out this ballroom and expected a party ... but the party's been cancelled because we normally do wedding receptions on Saturday and not Friday.

Naturally, Billy felt shitty enough so I didn't explain to him that it's his job to keep in touch with these people and to call them and say "Are we still on for Saturday?"

And have them say "Saturday? It's on Friday, you dumbass!"

They may have thought he was a dumbass ... but at least they still would have had a deejay there.

Some of you may not think this is a big deal at all. And in the grand scheme of things, 15-20 years from now, the bride will probably laugh about it.

But a wedding day is usually the most important day of a girl's life and she wants everything to go as smoothly as possible.

I originally thought it would be worse if the caterer had to cancel. But at least then they could call Dominos and have 20 pizzas delivered and laugh about it.

No music? No deejay there to serve as the host for the event?

That's worse. It may not sound worse...but the music creates the atmosphere of the event. I'm not saying this because it's my gig. It's the truth if you think about it.

So this girl that I've never met got married and her reception was marred by this faux pas of Billy's.

So why do I feel like shit?

Other than the fact that I just lost $300 because of this?

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