Tuesday, July 26, 2011

For Sunday Scribblings and ABC Wednesday

“B” is for “Best Man”

Here's a story for you. Let’s go back a number of decades, back to when I first entered the service. I had a friend in boot camp – let’s call him “Ed” because that wasn’t his name – and we hung out a lot, talking about what we might do in the future.
One day, after we had finished boot camp, he confessed something to me. He was very excited about it. He knew it should be kept secret, but he just had to tell someone and he felt he could trust me.
It was a plan Ed had been working on for quite a while. Well before he joined the Navy he had been visiting a small city located in the central part of our state. What was unusual about these visits is that he had managed to obtain a uniform of a Lieutenant-Commander, complete with service and combat ribbons, and he illegally wore this when he paid the visits.
In that community there weren’t many military types and very few Navy personnel – and no Shore Patrol. A Lieutenant-Commander, especially one with a couple of rows of ribbons, was welcomed everywhere. He received an invitation from one organization to address their group; he received a standing ovation. He had also visited some local church affairs and other such functions and had managed to meet a beautiful girl.
Quite unbelievably, after a number of dates he had proposed and the girl, undoubtedly a bit dazzled by this remarkable young naval officer, had accepted. Her folks had met him and had welcomed him enthusiastically into their well-to-do family. He had managed to convince everyone there that his folks were in Africa doing some sort of relief work, so they wouldn’t be able to attend the wedding.
Now that Ed was out of boot camp, he was actually going to go up in his fake uniform and marry her. He wanted me to be his Best Man.
It all seemed weird and unreal. I bowed out of the Best Man job; I didn’t want to have anything to do with this operation.
But then I wondered: perhaps morally there was something I should do.
A: Should I call this family on the phone (I knew their name so I thought I could get in touch with them) and tell them that their future son-in-law was no heroic naval commander but an ordinary sailor of the lowest rank?
Or B: Should I notify the military authorities that there’s a guy illegally roving about that area in a fake lieutenant-commander’s uniform?
Or C: Should I just ignore it all and try to forget about it?
After all, the marriage might turn out well; the couple might be happy together, even after it came out that his officer’s commission, and his ribbons, were phony, but that seemed highly unlikely.
The above is true; it actually happened. Ed and I received our assignments and we went off in different directions so I heard no more from him. As far as I know, the wedding took place on schedule; I have no idea how it turned out.
But what’s your opinion? What would you have done in such a situation?

25 comments:

Roger Owen Green said...

I would have ratted him out, at least to the woman.
ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Jane and Chris said...

Liars are the same as thieves in that they rob you of the truth. I would have put as much distance as possible between him and me !
Jane x

Leslie: said...

Gee, this is a tough one. I think I'd have done what you did, considering you never saw him again. I think in life, usually, things work themselves out - he'd eventually be "found out" and A, the girl still loved him or B, he was kicked to the curb. Great story and take on B today! Have a good week,

Leslie
abcw team

Karen said...

I think I would have done the same as you. If you told the family, they probably wouldn't have believed you anyway.

Kay L. Davies said...

Tough decision, but I think you did the right thing. Let him be hoist by his own petard, but don't get hoist with him.
Interesting about your name, Ber, but we all know who you are by your mugshot, which you conveniently post instead of a shot of flowers or scenery.

—Kay, Alberta, Canada

Berowne said...

Kay L D: "Interesting about your name, Ber, but we all know who you are..."
Maybe I'll stick with it -- the name "Ber" -- since it has been so freezing cold recently the moniker is quite appropriate. :-)

Berowne said...

Leslie: "Great story and take on B today!"
What a fine comment...

Roger Owen Green said...

Oh, dear, I fixed your name.
I can unfix it, if you want...

Gigi Ann said...

I would stay away from him and mind my own business. It was his life, right or wrong.

annell said...

That is a very hard one. And since he told you, you could have told him it didn't sit right with you, and you could have warned him what you might do? .....

Berowne said...

Roger O G: "I can unfix it, if you want..."
Thanks; I like it fixed. :-)

Dishita said...

hmm, tough call. I would mind my own business rather ruin someone's hope.

WyomingDiva said...

I would have told, simply because if the situation were reversed, I would have appreciate knowing (however painful it might have been) that my future spouse was a lying a**hole. Been there, done that.

Tumblewords: said...

Unfortunately, I would probably have married him. Laughing. Good tale!

Jj Rodriguez said...

Good that I am not you. LOL! Anyway, if I was on that situation, I wkuld surely tell him what he is doing is a big lie not only to the girl and the family but to himself. And that's the reason why I cannot be a best man, I don't want to be an accomplish for a big lie. But again, good that I am not in that situation.

JJrod'z

Other Mary said...

I want to know how it came out! Ed, if you're out there reading this let us know!!!

Pat said...

I suspect I would have done the same but I believe I ought to have tackled Ed himself - appeal to his decency, point out the trouble and heartache when inevitably his deception was discovered and if that failed (and I'm not sure I would have the courage) threaten him with exposure.
Very interesting.

jabblog said...

Don't we all wear masks of one sort or another, maybe not quite so deliberately deceptive? I would have let him continue on his merry way. By the time his wife found out (if she ever did) the relationship would be rock solid or shattered, anyway.
My curiosity's piqued, though - I'd love to know 'what happened next.'

Jay at The Depp Effect said...

It's a very hard decision, but .. the way I see it, if I said nothing, I would be complicit, so I'd have to say something. Probably, I would simply tell the girl.

Great post!

Berowne said...

Thanks for some fine comments from Jay at the Depp Effect, jabblog, Pat, Other Mary, JJRod'z, Tumblewords and Wyoming D.

Francisca said...

What a strange story, but then life's like that, isn't it. I personally am allergic to liars; trust is a biggie for me. I can tolerate all kinds of weaknesses, but not that one. What would I have done. If he was a real buddy, I'd tell him my views on his plans, including that dishonesty is not the best foundation for a marriage. And, like you, I'd play no part in the scheme. But beyond that, it's not our job to police other people's behavior, unless the act is criminal in nature. Another interesting post, Ber... Berowne... :-)

Andy said...

I would express my concerns to him directly, refuse to be best man and then leave him to his own devices.

Berowne said...

Andy: "I would express my concerns to him directly, refuse to be best man and then leave him to his own devices."
And that's pretty much what I did.

oldegg said...

Well, the only other thing you should have done was plead with him to tell his bride the truth, if she really loved him she might see the funny side of it. Starting married life on a lie doesn't augur well.

Roan said...

The saying, "Don't shoot the messenger" was coined for a reason. I doubt you would have been believed. I think you handled the situation the best way you could.

 
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