En tale jeg holdt for min bedste ven Johannes og hans kone Petra i anledning af hans bryllupsfest. Petra, som er fra Finland, og Johannes taler engelsk med hinanden, det er deres “love language” som de selv siger, og derfor, og for at alle gæster forstod den, er den på engelsk.
I met Johannes over the internet half a lifetime ago. We had internetnicknamed ourselves after, respectively, a jedi for me and a cool place in a cool video games for Johannes.
Johannes styled himself an “atheist satanist with a love for black metal”.
When I first met him in the real world he was clad from top to toe in Iron Maiden merchandise, which made him look like a reanimated and very heavily sponsored skeleton.
When my dad came home later that night, he found us in the middle of instigating some ritual in a religion we had made up ourselves which involved sacrificing copious amounts of cocoa to the great “Sky Cake” while chanting fake Latin and running around in robes.
My dad, being a mostly sane and normal person, quickly said hello and quietly exited the ritual.
It is, I think you’ll agree, a small miracle that Johannes has managed to not only become reasonably well adjusted but also, somehow, managed to get married to a woman as lovely (and, importantly, as physically existing) as Petra.
It is traditional that the best friend of the groom relays some stories about how the bride fell in love with the groom and since I’ve done the exact opposite of that up until now, I should probably balance it out.
Once a group of friends including Johannes, Petra and I went on a summerhouse trip to Enø and literally every single person besides me and Johannes had gone to bed.
We, however, sat outside drinking whiskey and, as Johannes and his dad would call it, were rapidly becoming very, very smart.
All of this great smartness resulted in a very profound (and almost certainly very stupid) discussion about what the true nature of the Universe was. It was Love, we agreed, love is the fundamental, cosmic force, the greatest thing of all. Having settled this, Johannes relayed to me another deep truth.
“I have to go bed,” he said.
And so he did, and being very drunk, woke up Petra.
“What’s up?” she said, tiredly, which was understandable since it was around 4 o’clock in the morning.
“I have to tell you how much I love you, because we have just established it is a universal truth,” said Johannes. However, since he was very drunk, he quickly came to realize that he probably would not be able to communicate this great and sacred truth to Petra, who was not smashed to the point of being on the doorstep of a higher plane of existence.
“I can’t find the words, I’ll have to write it down,” Johannes said finding his always present notebook and a pen.
But this wouldn’t do either.
“There are no words I can find for how much I love you,” lamented Johannes and promptly fell asleep and forgot everything about cosmic laws and all-consuming love.
Petra didn’t, though, and she told us the whole story the next morning. Which is why I know about it.
I don’t remember who said this about Johannes, but he is approximately 90 % oblivious to just about everything going on around him, and 10 % very sharp and very much in tune with his feelings and the people that inhabit his own little slice of world along with him.
Let me give you an example:
At his bachelor party, all of the participants had smartly planned out a, we thought, very clever prank. Each one of us would be given a Johannes-ism – a short figure of speech that literally no one else in the entire universe would ever use except Johannes.
There are a surprising lot of those. The idea was that we would sneak them into our speech-patterns and see if Johannes would notice.
An example of a Johannes-ism would be to call craft beer “beers with flavour”. He’d say “Yes, that wasn’t better than good” (which sounds about as elegant in Danish as it does in English) and the absolute evergreen of a phrase: “SS – solid style”.
You see, this is very humorous, goes the logic, because you’d think this was about a military division of a fascist European nation about 1940, but then it turns out it’s just about having a solid style. Guess who got that Johannesism.
I said so many variants of SS – Solid style that you wouldn’t believe it.
However, when the time came for us to divulge our master plan, Johannes had not noticed ONE SINGLE OF HIS NEAREST FRIENDS saying absolutely insane things that no one else but him would ever in a million years say.
He was utterly distressed when people unveiled their Johannes-isms, he had noticed nothing.
To him it apparently just seemed like someone finally catched up to his reality. They had finally got it. SS – solid style.
Anyway, just after this utter failure to notice anything going on, we played a playlist of songs that every guest at the bachelor had chosen. The idea was Johannes would guess which person shared an experience of the song with him.
I must admit I was a bit nervous about whether Johannes would rise to this task, considering his utter inability to realize what was going on in the former game. My doubt was put to shame.
Johannes didn’t miss even once. He knew exactly which of his friend had put which song on the playlist, and he knew exactly what memory they alluded to.
When it counts, Johannes pays attention. He’s just very good at filtering out what counts.
Petra, you are a very lucky woman who is also making a man very, very lucky and I am extremely happy to see you together and be here to share your love for one another.
Perhaps we were right, that night on Enø. Perhaps the fundamental thing, the deepest truth in the Universe is love. A cosmic truth, if you will.
I think it is, even though I can’t entirely find the words to say it.
Petra and Johannes, a thousand cheers and congratulations. I can’t express how happy I am on your behalf.
In fact, there are no words, written or spoken, I can find for how much I love you.