The following is a recollection of a slightly drunken toast given by a friend’s mother. I had seen a video clipping of his mother giving the toast on the social media application Snapchat, although I could not understand what was being said (although it was quite clear from the many empty glasses of wine beside her what libations had led into the toast itself).
When I next saw my friend, I asked him out of curiosity what the specifics of the toast were. He indicated that it is a witty one his mother frequently gives at particular family outings when all six of his siblings are present at the table.
This particular toast was aimed at the eldest brother, who had just welcomed a newborn son (his first child) with his wife.
My friend’s imparting of his mother’s toast went as follows:
Here’s to you, as good as you are. Here’s to me, as bad as I am. And as bad as I am, you’re as good as you are. And as good as you are, I’m as bad as I am.
A common trait seen in toasts is a subtle mixture of humor and seriousness. Being a proclamation of goodwill towards the subject (or subjects), the overall message usually bears a heartfelt sentimentality meant to outweigh any teasing or foolery that precedes it.
What is distinct of this toast, in particular, is a cheeky admission regarding each side’s tendency towards good and bad, with an exclusive insistence of ‘good’ on the side of the subject and an exclusive insistence of ‘bad’ on the side of the presenter.
Despite the presenter painting themselves as bad, the repetition that makes up the bulk of the toast indicates this in a manner more celebratory than derogatory and only made possible/acceptable by the good of the subject balancing out the bad of the other.
In this, both sides of good and bad are made necessary by their pairing together.