By the time I was handed my diploma three years later, I was seriously second-guessing the decision I’d made. A program that, with 138 credits for the major alone, looked pretty formidable on paper, ended up being littered with classes taught by professors that were more interested in their paychecks than your education. Granted, I had a pretty kick-ass résumé, boasting an engineering degree with minors in both mathematics and computer science, but I was in no way confident with the education I had received. That, and I could not avoid the sneaking suspicion I had that maybe I should have majored in something else (can we say English? Journalism, perhaps?) But given the chance to go back and possibly get a degree that more suits me, there’s no way I could do it for one specific reason: I wouldn’t want to risk not crossing paths with a guy named Jeff Weber.
My best buddy Mark and I met the man we call Web-Dog one day in the electronics lab. With his off-the-wall sense of humor and laid-back attitude, we totally hit it off, and were best friends from then on. We ended up taking almost every class in the major together, working on projects and labs side-by-side, and "cooperating" on the countless take-home exams we were given. The three of us were a perfect team; Mark was our project manager that always excelled in front of the crowd, I was the number cruncher who was good with the exams, and Jeff was the responsible one, the glue that held us all together, because Mark and I always tended to be a little on the slacker side. Looking back, I don’t know how we would have graduated without each other’s help.
Jeff is one of those guys I think every man hopes they have the capacity to become one day. With a firm handle on what matters most in life, namely family and friendships, he has this uncanny ability to let that which does not concern him truly slide. He is the greatest friend you could possibly wish for, because you know he’s always looking out for you, and only wants the best for everyone in his life. Plus, you can always count on him to call you out when you start to lose focus on what’s really important. He is the most driven man I know, constantly looking for ways to better himself as a person, as a man, and as a friend, and anyone that knows him, knows great things lie ahead of him.
Last Saturday, Jeff married his longtime girlfriend, Kristal, in a small ceremony in town. At a glance, the new Mrs. Weber’s timeless beauty and electric smile conjure images of the silver screen stars from the past, but a two-minute conversation with her quickly reveals the true beauty she harbors inside. With a genuinely kind heart and a compassionate soul, she is probably one of the sweetest girls you will ever have the chance to meet, and I could not imagine a more perfect woman for one of my very best friends.
But as amazing as these people are individually, the relationship they have together is what shines brightest of all. For the past five years or so, I’ve been fortunate enough to witness, firsthand, a special kind of love, respect and unwavering support that two people share which most people spend their entire lives dreaming about, and only the lucky few actually get to experience. What makes their connection even more amazing, is that as the weeks/months/years have passed by, and life has hit its peaks and valleys, they’ve managed to hang on to the one thing that’s most important to them: each other.
As long as I’ve known him, I’ve looked up to Jeff like he was my older, much wiser brother. So it really came as no surprise when, while Mark and I watched him exchange vows with his bride (who could not have looked more beautiful on her big day) that this thought crossed my mind: no offense to the great guys that were standing next to him, but the groom in this wedding was by far best man in the room.