Thursday, October 4, 2012
One of the most amazing things in the world ....friends.
It's often said by old fogies (myself not included here) that we make very few friends in life, but our lives will be filled with hundreds of acquaintances who will enter and depart our daily lives almost unnoticed. I've found this to be one of the truisms of life...it took awhile, but I came to understand this is a fact.
True friends and enemies are a constant, you know exactly how you feel about them and even time can't change those feelings. If they depart this world before you do, in one way or another you immediately notice the difference. If it's a true friend...the world feels smaller, colder, and diminished by their absence. On the other hand, if it's a long standing enemy (enemy-someone you would gladly kill if it were legal)....you feel the world is far better off without them. Somewhere in the middle of friends and enemies fall another group of folks we classify as acquaintances. Acquaintances are the folks you like or dislike and can barely remember their names shortly after they've departed you life.
The reason for this diatribe of jumbled thoughts is I made a new "friend" on Facebook yesterday. Nothing strange or out of the ordinary about that if you think about it. The process is really simple: someone sends you or you send a "friend request", which is almost automatically accepted and your "friends" list is increased by one.....and normally it's someone you've never met. But increasing my friends list by one this time released a flood of pleasant (mostly) memories loose, allowing them to run rampantly through what little gray matter I still have left.
The first of these unbridled thoughts was an attempt to define just what a friend really is...I'll add I have no doubts in my mind how to define just what is an enemy. I came to the following definitions of friendship I'd like you to consider.
One: A friend is someone who can(and in my case will) belittle you for almost anything they can grasp in their evil minds. They will ridicule, berate, and celebrate all of your short comings publicly in vile attempts at humor. At the very same time they would gladly give up their life for you if the need arose.
Two: A friend is a pleasant reminder of times shared together in all types of circumstances you've shared in life. I'll add that some of those circumstances are ones you would rather not share with your wife or children. Of course telling "your friends side" of the story to their loved ones is entirely different and always necessary at every chance presented to you.
Three: A friend is someone you've held in your arms or who've held you during the worst moments of your life. These are the times that will never be ridiculed, berated, celebrated or ever mentioned again by either of you. They become a hidden, shared bond of a deeply seated love which is felt, but will always remain buried in the very depths of your souls.
Four: A friend is someone you are never truly parted from. Distance and time doesn't destroy the bonds of true friendship, even death will fail to break this bond.
My father told me on several occasions that in my entire life I would be lucky to make two or three friends. I now understand exactly what he meant and realize just how blessed I've been in my lifetime. I have a wife who is and has been a friend from the very first moment I set eyes on her. But she is not the type of friend I'm referring to...she was a gift I didn't deserve from God.
In my entire life I've managed to make seven friends, eight if you (and I do) count a bitter enemy who became a cherished friend. I now find I am down to three friends and it looks like it may be two shortly. We haven't seen each other in years, rarely communicate more than two or three times a month and would still die for each other if the need arose. Yet we have no need for a "friends page" and know what is truly important in our profiles...we are friends.
I know the three of you clowns sneak over and read this thing. I also know the chances of us all being together for one last hurrah are slim to none now. But could I suggest we take the time on Pap's birthday for a shared drink of "Ten" only marred by distance? We can still tell the same lies of our youth and share the company of other friends who'll be joining us...but not drinking . Remember, "Here's to assholes and those like us...damn few left." See you there.