Ogbert the Dogbert and the Case of the Runaway Dad
Some of you may know that I used to be a wedding planner. It was an incredibly fun and challenging job, and if it would keep my bills paid, I'd go back to it in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, I like having electricity and running water, so I had to quit, but you know how it goes. Hope springs eternal; maybe I'll get back into it someday.
Anyway. As you may imagine, I've seen some funny shit. One fun thing about being ~the help~ is that when people are paying you, they think they're higher status than you, so they think they're better than you, so therefore, they don't mind embarrassing themselves in front of you. I have seen sides of these rich dainties that their snooty friends will never see. Bespanxed backsides, for instance.
But when it comes to tea. When it comes to hot goss. When it comes to mind-numbing, cackle-inducing, psychosocial buffoonery. Nothing compares to the 100% true story of Ogbert the Dogbert and the Runaway Dad.
Picture this. It's October in North Carolina. A rich, pretty, skinny, young, bouncy little white girl is getting married in a swanky historic venue downtown. It's the night before the ceremony, and the bridal party has assembled to rehearse. My team and I are already on site overseeing preparations.
The rehearsal is delayed. The bride's father has arrived. Normally, this would be a perfectly natural occurrence, but for some reason it's causing a stir.
Come to find out, this man hasn't been seen in 6 months.
Or at least, not by his wife and daughter. Presumably his boyfriend had seen him
Six months previously, the bride's father had run away with his new boyfriend, and his family hadn't heard from him since. Not even to tell them whether or not he was coming to his own daughter's wedding.
So obviously, when he showed up to the rehearsal, there was a palpable air of "You've Got Some Nerve Showin' Your Face 'Round These Parts." I was beginning to think he might be bounced out.
But of course, it's up to the bride. Babygirl was so happy her daddy had come to walk her down the aisle, when she had almost given up hope. She couldn't have been older than 22, bless her. No one had the heart to deny her, so they begrudgingly settled down. Finally, everyone, including Runaway Dad, took their places for the rehearsal to begin.
There was one person, however, who didn't have anything to rehearse.
The dad had brought his boyfriend.
And the boyfriend,
had brought his dog.
A poodle, about the size of a teddy bear, wearing a polka-dot bow tie, just like his owner's.
My boss ordered me to get them out of the way of the rehearsal before any more drama kicked up, so I cordially invited him around to the back of the building, where the rental agency was setting up the dance floor. Very few polite conversation topics were springing to mind, so I constrained my remarks to the very cute dog. His name, I learned, was Ogbert.
I do not remember any other names from the rest of the party. I'm not sure I ever focused my eyes on the groom. But Ogbert sticks.
It's not like I had any fun activities to keep this man busy while his boyfriend's family was rehearsing a wedding in the front yard, and I did actually have real work to do besides babysitting Uncle Boyfriend all afternoon. (If it had been the day of the ceremony, I'd have had a coloring book, or a vial of bubbles, or something— we kept those on hand to cheer up grumpy children on the big day. But the day before? I got nothing.) I was quickly caught up in my work, scurrying hither thither and yon trying to arrange everything perfectly, and didn't check on him for several minutes. What I discovered upon my return has haunted my waking nightmares ever since.
This pudgy, balding white man, was doing yoga, in his seersucker suit and bow tie, in the middle of the dance floor. Which, by the way, the rental guys were still assembling. Next to him, Ogbert the Dogbert copied his moves.
The dog does yoga. Of course he does.
I'm still conflicted about this. Obviously Ogbert is a delight; I'm not sure a cuter being has ever walked the surface of this earth. Unfortunately, his owner was the kind of maniac who spends his Friday evenings crashing his boyfriend's wife's daughter's wedding to do yoga in the backyard, while working people sidestep around him because he's in the fucking way. And since they were wearing matching bow ties, and performing synchronized yoga moves, I can't help but interpret Ogbert as an extension of Uncle Boyfriend himself.
The situation was fraught. Even writing this, it's all so zany that I'm sitting here gaslighting myself, thinking "this couldn't have possibly happened, I must be remembering it wrong." But no. If there's anything in this life I remember clearly, it's Ogbert.
The next day went about like you'd expect. The ceremony was beautiful— for that kind of money, it better be. Uncle Boyfriend brought Ogbert, of course. The Runaway Dad looked terribly snappy in his tuxedo; in fact, "snappy" seems to have been a core tenet of his personality, because he kept snapping his fingers at me whenever he wanted something. Thanos-ass motherfucker. I spent the day revenging myself upon him in every petty way I could think of without getting in trouble. The bride's poor mother looked frumpy and anxious, but she was sweet, so I took care of her as best I could. They had doughnuts delivered at midnight, at least twelve dozen: one box went straight to my car, of course, and another went straight into the mom's. The rest of my team elected to wait to claim their doughnuts until after all the guests had left, but they ended up with a box apiece anyway. Not to mention the centerpieces, the leftover cake, and the wheels of fancy cheese from the charcuterie spread,,,, yum. My hourly rate may have been insultingly low, but I did enjoy getting tipped in flowers & snacks. If I could've paid my water bill in day-old cake, I might still work there.
The last thing I remember was around 2am, loading sound equipment into the Runaway Dad's Subaru. I wasn't going quickly enough for his liking: possibly because I'd already worked 19 hours that day, possibly because each speaker weighed about 50 pounds.
"Oh, let me get it," he snapped, grabbing the speaker from my hands.
"Careful, it's heavy," I warned.
"I think I'll manage," he retorted, rolling his eyes.
I surrendered the speaker to him.
He promptly dropped it on his toe.
I packed the speaker into his trunk. He handed me a $50 bill, and drove off into the night with Ogbert and Uncle Boyfriend.
And that's the last I heard of them.