The following toast was delivered at my brother’s wedding on Sunday, October 7, 2018.
First, congratulations to Brian and Tina on finally becoming husband and wife.
Thanks to Brian for making me best man. Since you know I have no intention of returning the favor—not soon, anyway—I assume you’re just paying me back for all the Little League games I attended in high school. I knew that would pay off eventually.
It’s a pleasure to be back in the Greater Yorktown area for this momentous occasion. I never would’ve guessed that seeing Hamilton would be the second-biggest event of my week. But then, it’s not every week that my baby brother gets married to the finest woman he (or I) have ever met. Not even Lin-Manuel Miranda can top that.
Seven years ago, on Christmas Day, Brian boarded a plane to Israel and met a nice girl from Washington Heights. When he returned 10 days later, he spent a full year raving about what a magical, life-changing experience it was, and how he’d never be the same because of it. It was only the following Christmas, when I actually met that girl for the first time, that I finally understood what he meant. As it turns out, he was not talking about the falafel.
And, of course, he was right. Everything had changed. He had met the woman of his dreams and it was full steam ahead. Three years ago, in June, as we were sitting on a dock on Martha’s Vineyard, Brian told me that he was going to ask Tina to marry him. And, in the end, it only took him another 28 months to do so.
As I stand here today, I could not be prouder or more relieved that events of the last seven years have led Brian to this moment. I’ve known him his entire life, and I haven’t seen him this happy since the night Mom and Dad got us an N64 for Chanukah.
I’m pretty happy, too, for my own particular reasons. Before Tina came along, Brian was basically an uncultured frat boy whose idea of high culture extended about as far as Adam Sandler and the WWF. What’s more, he seemed almost to revel in rejecting my many attempts over the years to infuse my own, much more refined tastes into him, leading to such moments as when he called Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band the worst music he’d ever heard in his life.
But now, seven years after that fateful encounter in the Holy Land? Well, he’s still a frat boy—we had his bachelor party in New Orleans, for heaven’s sake—but he is also responsible, generous, engaging, literate and, dare I say, sophisticated. Today, he patronizes local arts organizations, reads The New Yorker, experienced The Who and Bruce Springsteen live, actually watches the DVDs I send him on his birthday, and even managed to see Hamilton before I did. (They know a guy.)
Now, I’ve been trying to knock some good taste into Brian practically since the day he was born, and so while I would love to take credit for all—or, frankly, any—of the above—the truth is that all glory goes to Tina, his other and, let’s be honest, much better half.
Simply be being herself, she has become the Henry Higgins to Brian’s Eliza Doolittle. In the years they’ve been together, Tina has not only made Brian a better man, but she’s made him want to be a better man, because he knows that a woman as smart and clever as her deserves every measure of devotion that he can give, and it’s to his everlasting credit that he’s willing to give it all.
He’s gonna be the best husband he can be. The best brother, the best son. He’s gonna make our family great again.