Tag Archives: AC/DC

The Minister of Rock

I don’t know how it happened. One minute I’m saying goodnight to the bride and groom, the next I’m sliding across the dance floor on my back, air-guitarring to AC/DC.

My best Angus Young

My best Angus Young impersonation

We were at my wife’s cousin’s wedding, and earlier in the day, believe it or not, I had performed the ceremony. It was the second wedding I’d officiated after becoming an official minister last spring.

It all began one night when a good friend of the family called and asked if I’d ever considered filling out “one of those online minister things you see in the back of Rolling Stone.” Five minutes and a couple clicks of the mouse later and – POW! – I’m a man of the cloth, much to the chagrin of some friends of mine who had spent years and incurred large debts completing rigorous seminary programs.

My first wedding

Almost wine time

What can I say? I took the express program.

I had a great time performing that first wedding in San Francisco (see photo) and felt honored to be such an integral part of it; however, I really didn’t have any plans to continue marrying people after that. One and done, that was the plan.

But when Cassie’s cousin asked me to do her wedding, I figured—why not? I was going to be at the wedding anyway. Might as well earn my wine.

The ceremony itself went off without a hitch, except for me mispronouncing the newly married couple’s last name. (Minor detail.) Afterward we congregated at a local hall to celebrate. Being a minister, I tried my best to behave, limiting myself to just six glasses of wine.

And the battle begins

The battle begins…

Eventually it was time to call it a night, so Cass and I made our way out to the dance floor to bid adieu to the bride and groom.

Just then the opening notes of “Shook Me All Night Long” – a western-PA wedding staple, along with “Shout”, “Celebration”, and “Y.M.C.A” – echoed throughout the hall. It was at this moment when I locked eyes with a 6-year-old boy in the midst of an air-guitar solo. Suddenly I felt reinvigorated, the red wine pumping through my veins. So I pulled out my own invisible axe, and just like that the battle was on.

Immediately the guests formed a circle around us, cheering the two of us on as we duked it out with our pretend six-strings. I would do my best windmill strum, and then the kid would top it with some crazy split-type move that would’ve split my pants and sent me to the hospital. It wasn’t long before we ditched the nonexistent guitars and found ourselves in a full-out dance off. At one point the kid pulled off an amazing Michael Jackson-esque spin and toe landing. I countered with my best M.J. crotch-grab, which no doubt shocked many of the guests who up until that point knew me only as Pastor Val.

An air-guitar god is born

Back and forth we battled—a 6-year-old future ladies’ man with moves like Jagger and me, a 37-year-old writer/minister who obviously had one too many Cabernets.

Eventually I conceded victory to my young opponent, mainly due to exhaustion, but also because I broke an invisible string on my non-existent guitar. Which is always a bummer.

As for my career as a wedding officiant, I officially defrocked myself that night, not wanting to further soil my ministerial robes, so to speak. If anyone needs a good air-guitarrist for their wedding, however, I’m available.

Will work for wine.


Posted by on December 6, 2012 in Uncategorized


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A Bad Case of the Runs – Part II

IMG_3853Recently I finished my very first marathon. It was a huge accomplishment for me, considering I retired from competitive running several years ago.

But rather than bore you with a bunch of details about how many miles I ran during my training (392) or with some philosophical treatise on the metaphorical journey of the marathon, I thought instead I’d bore you with some of the thoughts I was having that day.

For those of you who have never run a marathon before, this is as close as you can get to actually lacing up your running shoes.

You’ve been warned…

Inside the Brain of a Marathoner

[45 minutes before the start of the marathon]

Holy cow it’s cold out here! Maybe I should’ve worn underwear…

[20 minutes before]

Hey, Mr. Rock ‘n’ Roll Cover-Band Singer…We’re not all from Columbus. Enough with the Buckeye crap.

[5 minutes before]

‘THUNDERSTRUCK!’…Yes! Mental note: Gotta listen to more AC/DC.

[One minute before]

I can’t believe it’s finally here! I think I’m gonna cry. What an incredible mome…
Uh, oh…I wonder if I have time to hit the port-o-john?

[Marathon begins!]


[Actually crossing the starting line 3 mins. 45 sec. later]


[100 yards in]

This feels great! I can definitely do 26.2. No problem.

[200 yards in]

Oh, great…I have to pee already.

[Mile 1]

Should I stop to pee or…oh, I’ll just wait.

[Mile 3]

All right…I really have to pee now. Where the heck are the port-o-johns!?

[Mile 6]

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh! Much better.

[Mile 10]

I wonder how far ahead the Kenyans are by now?

[Mile 13]

Yeah! Half way there! This is going to be a piece of cake! 

[Mile 15]

Hmmph…Columbus is definitely hillier than I imagined. 

[Mile 17]

OK, starting to get a little tired now…stay focused…

[Mile 18]

Hey…was that Harold Ramis?!?

[Mile 20]

Heading into uncharted territory…stay focused…hope I don’t hit the wall…

[Mile 21]

Ugh…this must be the wall…

[Mile 22]

Oh, God…please don’t let me quit now…just four more miles…

[Mile 23]

Feeling better now…maybe that wasn’t the wall after all…stay strong…you got this…

[Mile 23.5]

Am I wearing cement shoes?…Whose legs are these?

[Mile 24]

Just walk for a little bit…It’s OK…you deserve it…go ahead…everyone’s doing it…take a little break…NO! SHUT UP! DON’T LISTEN TO THE VOICE! DON’T LISTEN TO THE VOICE!

[Mile 25]

Not gonna make it…not gonna make it…

[Mile 26]

Need water…Who am I?…Where am I?…Don’t fall down…don’t fall down…need water…

[0.2 miles to go…]

YES!…I’m gonna make it!…I’m gonna make it!

[0.1 miles to go…]

0.2 miles, my ass!


I DID IT! I DID IT! Thank you, God! I can’t believe I just ran a mara…
ep…gonna fall down now…Where’s the medic?…No, wait, I’m OK…I’m OK…
Nope…passing out now…


Posted by on October 26, 2012 in Uncategorized


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