This is ONE OF 2 responses to VC 20 Stuart 7 ("Is AT&T Right?")...
Stuart's remarkably kind words caused me to think about friendship, and the process of choosing a best man for my wedding.
I have been blessed with an unusually large number of unusually close friends. This simple fact has been a great comfort to me during times of distress. Whereas many people go through much of their lives without even one best friend, I have at least a half dozen best friends. Thus I have always considered myself a wealthy man.
This abundance of best friends did provide me with something of a conundrum when it came to selecting a best man for my wedding. Actually, optimist that I am, I had been thinking about this even before I met Betsy. Sooner or later I felt the problem would arise. Which of my best friends would be my best man?
Paul won out, quite frankly, on the basis of seniority. Each of my best friends is vital, and each stands out above the others in one sphere or another, but without a doubt Paul is my oldest friend. We first met when we were about eight, we lived together for years after college, and we've been sending tapes back and forth every week almost without fail since junior high! Archipelago, in fact, grew out of those tapes.
This leaves a substantial pool to draw from in choosing groomsmen. For reasons of symmetry, there is supposed to be one groomsman for every bridesmaid, and so Betsy and I will have to do some delicate calculations to determine the actual number of groomsmen/bridesmaids. Like me, Betsy has an unusual number of unusually close friends, and has already somehow acquired two M.s of honor (one of which needs to be demoted somehow). Furthermore, there are certain practical and financial considerations that come to bear and which therefore limit the number of attendants.
The wedding will take place next Spring (probably the second weekend in May) in South Bend, Indiana. ALL ARCHIPELAGOANS ARE INVITED! There are, however, certain of my best friends who may not be able to attend for reasons beyond their control. Stuart has already agreed to be a groomsman, as has Mike. Jim may not be able to come. I cannot depend on Bill to come, although he *probably* will be able to. Larry also may have some difficulty making the journey. So another factor in selecting groomsmen is the certainty that they will be able to fly ALL THE WAY to Indiana.
Incidentally, Suzanne has already agreed to come and it's entirely possible that Zoey the Atomic Physicist will be there as well. I urge ALL of you to come. This will be the happiest moment in my life, and I am eager to share it with all of my friends.
Moreover, it will be a unique opportunity to assemble ALL of Archipelago in one place at one time. Some of you guys can finally meet each other in person for the first time. And, as if that were not enough, Betsy and I are both insisting on Chinese food for the reception (although, admittedly, South Bend is not renowned for its Oriental Cuisine).
So anyway, thank you all in advance for your patience and understanding. I will announce the winners of the groomsman competition as soon as the selection solidifies.