I had been lying to her for months.
My name is Bones Rodriguez, and I met Laura Valpey doing improvisational comedy in New York City. We were friends first, fell in love, and had been living together for two years when I had to start deceiving her.
We had so many funny conversations that I had made some of them into short sketches, and even turned one of them into a book- "Captain Kirk's Guide To Women", due out in February from Simon and Schuster.
I told her I wanted to perform seven sketches during my birthday party that year- which was to be held 3 weeks AFTER my birthday.
That was a lie.
I also told her that my mother was coming up to visit because she had a reunion that weekend, and she would come see the show- just to spend time with us.
That was another lie- and it just snowballed after that.
All of the friends I invited to the birthday party had to lie to her too- they all knew the truth, but were sworn to secrecy. The comedy group we were in together had to lie- they all memorized lines, and produced a show all built around the same secret:
I was going to propose to her that night.
In fact, I had written all seven sketches just to set up for the fifth one- the one where "the couple" (we played ourselves) discusses engagement rings, and the unskilled guy needs tips from the girl.
We performed sketches about looking for the TV remote, sketches about internet dating, and sketches about sex. The audience started out nervous- they were all waiting for me to pop the question, but after a while the laughter came and they seemed to forget why they were there.
But I couldn't let it go; The entire night I was unfocused, stuttering, and forgetting my lines left and right. My poor girlfriend had to keep feeding me my lines, but she just figured I was nervous because I had written the entire show.
Then came the "ring sketch", and the audience stopped laughing.
You could hear a pin drop as we went through the scene, a chuckle here, and stifled laugh there. About 2 minutes into it, they loosened up, and they laughed easily again. I was playing the incompetent guy, not knowing how to look for a ring, classify a ring, or buy a ring. Laura said her lines about the weight, color, and style. She mentioned that it would "make a good investment", and I landed a killer joke about it only being an investment if we break up and she pawns it.
I knew the big moment was coming, but I could not remember what led to it. She fed me my lines again- and I remembered "Well, yeah- it's not that I'm even thinking about this now, I mean, it would be a WHILE before-"
Then Laura's interruption line came: "I wanna be surprised"
Unbeknownst to her- this was my big moment. This is why I had written these sketches, and this is why I was onstage. This was why 50 people were in the audience, and why my mother flew up from Miami. This is the moment when I could stop lying, hiding and misleading.
I went off-script, and delivered a different line than she expected- nonetheless the only line I remembered correctly: "Are you sure?"
Since we're both trained improvisors, and she had been feeding me lines all night, she just went with me:
But then she could see the look on my face when I called my best friend over to the stage:
"Ok… Hey Rick…."
The laughter stopped as the audience held their breath, and Rick brought the ring he had been holding in his pocket all night- the ring that I had bought months before, the ring I had hidden in a piece of furniture after staying up late nights doing "work".
That's when it hit her.
A sketch about looking for engagement rings? A birthday party three weeks after my birthday? Calling her parents to tell her all about the party and inviting them? She hid her face in her hands as I got down on one knee,
And asked her to do me the honor of becoming my wife.
And the best part?
She said yes!!
-And we got it all on video.
As my girlfriend-now-wife says in the video, I AM a show-off, but I initially got the proposal on video because I knew we'd want to remember it forever. I also figured family members all around the world would like to see it too; Laura's family is in Seattle and mine is scattered throughout Florida.
Watching it on video two years later, I still get the same butterflies in my stomach now as I did then. I was so happy, and so thrilled with that moment, I just wanted to share it with as many people as possible. I even made a website www.BonesLovesLaura.com just to let cyberspace share in it too.
What I didn't expect were for so many people to pass it on to each other- and then the comments! So many people have written in and the comments are so wonderful. Many of them are married people, or engaged people who were looking for innovative ways to propose, or just wanting to know what other people have done.
Our video is one of the most popular REAL proposal videos. There are some companies that have tried to copy our success by putting "rejected proposal" videos, but they're all just bad advertising, and in my opinion, in bad taste. Why ruin such a nice moment?
I think people like to see other people happy, and that's why "feel-good" shows like Extreme Makeover Home Edition and Oprah do so well. Strong emotions bring us all together, and tears of joy are the best!
I do a lot of things; I write, I act, and I have online businesses, but this is far and away the best thing I have ever done.
And now I don't have to lie to her anymore!
TUESDAY NIGHT, 8/28 - 9PM EST- ABC: