Wednesday, May 23, 2007

You Have No Friends

Recently I loaded a short vid on YouTube. Uh-huh… chew on that a bit before we begin but please don’t spit it out too quick. Thank you.

The reason? None I can think of other than any idiot can do it and I’ve always considered myself at least equal to most idiots and so I posted my vid and pissed into the internets ocean along with the rest of the cyber-rabble. Worry not, I have no intention nor any inclination to review, discuss or comment on my effort here but a curious result of my “work” struck me hard and right between the eyes.
After having registered, filled out forms, gave information, provided passwords…..blah, blah, fucking blah, I finally managed to accomplish what only thousands have managed before me.

Yes, the earth did indeed tremble.

In return for my charitable videography I received a “channel” where I am able to check the progress, and lack thereof, of my maiden effort. This channel and its contents intrigued and enlightened me and so I share my newfound news.
It is now 2007 and I am, by almost any standards, old. I am connected to no generation and speak for no one. I understand little if anything. The world flies past me and I feel lucky if some days I can laugh. But the following chunk of profound information glaring at me from my new channel profile struck a chord in my soul that I haven’t felt since I can remember and rocked me into my most existential. Displayed near the middle of my layout it reads simply and most clearly-

You Have No Friends.

Hmmmnnn. I think I understand.

Now some background. In my formative years I was raised in a somewhat harsh environment- a lot better than most, not as good as some- and so took my lessons where I could find them. The Old Man was a compelling instructor. One of his primary imperatives can best be summed up in his own words.

“The only friends you got in this world is that Old Lady over there and the ones you got in your pocket!”

For my more sensitive readers this was in reference to my mother, and cash, respectively. His meaning was rock hard, crystal clear and quite difficult, in practice, to argue even when I wanted to seeing as how my Mom was always in my corner and green money never let me down. But I'm not attempting to convince anyone of the rightness or wrongness of the Old Man’s proclamation only to state it truthfully and as one very basic point of reference. As the years passed and hard knocks and luck of both kinds accumulated this truth became harder, clearer and just about impossible to wrestle to the ground. I painstakingly came to understand he meant that “friends”- meaning the people you can truly count on when the chips are all the way down- are few and can most likely fit in one hand while those other people……well……they might be nice to talk to or something…………..anyway, he was not a sophisticated gentleman.

Because, please see, that is what “friends” meant at one time.

Someone who will grab your hand and help you up after the world kicks you down whether it’s in their own best interest or not. Someone who will stand next to you in a fight where victory is not at all certain. Someone who will trust your word above all others and vice-versa. Hell- let’s keep it simpler- someone who will actually show up to help you move your damn furniture to the next place you’re going to rest your head or someone who will not only answer the phone but will also come to bail you out of the shithouse whether he’s got work tomorrow or not.
But, of course, it is currently 2007 with the clock running fast and this meaning has seemingly drifted away with the cyber-tide.

Occasionally I look at MySpace (actually rarely because-
1.) it sucks
2.) for some reason it crashes my computer
3.) it sucks)
in frank amazement and a kind of dim bewilderment.

Somefuckingbody42 has got 73 friends.

Dipshitnerd has got 627 friends.

Hotassblondie669 has got 7782 friends.

And I think…………REALLY? WOW!

You know the phone numbers of 73 Samaritans who will bail you out of the slam? You have complete access to 627 human beings who will stand by your side under threat of legal punishment? You maintain the rare honor of being associated with 7782 saint-like mortals who will lift your couch and put it into a truck, then take it out, walk it up the stairs and put it down wherever you want?

Damn! The world must be a much kinder, gentler place to live in than it ever was before.
You crazy kids finally got it all figured out!

And pitiful me- I HAVE NO FRIENDS!

Thankfully certain events infrequently occur in my life that fly in the face of this electronic logic. As a minor example my Brother from another Mother (dare I call him my “Friend”?) recently sent me a thoughtful and hilarious 5 page letter, including some nifty sketches of his artwork, in the mail. For the unaware a “letter” is a message actually hand written on a piece or pieces of paper relating your thoughts/feelings to a fellow human being. These “letters” often require hours of contemplation and concentration before scribbling your signature at the end. In order to send this message it requires one, after full completion of said writing task, to physically affix postage- which may cost you well over 42 cents- on the outside of an envelope (separate piece of letter carrying paper) seal the letter in the envelope then walk, bike or drive to a mailbox or post office (bizarre old fashioned junction where these letters are collected then carried to a central location where they are sorted and, eventually, physically delivered to your personal mailbox) drop your note in and wait several days for intended delivery which you will have no knowledge of unless or until you receive a reply from said recipient.


Exhausted just reading about it, aren’t you? I know I am.

What the hell was Eric thinking? He could’ve just as easily sat at a keyboard and tapped out-


-and hit the send key. Approximately 17 seconds of brutal labor ripped from his busy day and his Herculean task would’ve been completed with, well…………. practically all of his sentiment intact.

But I must allow that upon careful review of his words on the pages I can safely say that there is every indication he had something to personally express that he really wanted me to take the time to personally consider. His simple subjects- family, wives, children, work- were important to him and I imagine that he thought they might be equally as important to me and that I might find some small comfort in his sharing his thoughts on paper. Perhaps because we haven’t seen each other or talked, drank or smoked together in over 2 years he wanted to creatively, meticulously convey his feelings in a manner that would cause me to pause and reflect for several minutes, at least, in order to more properly and patiently weigh the meaning and worth of his thoughts.
Or maybe he was just really stoned, who knows.
But either way the manifest consideration of his time and talent via snail mail was much more directly, wholly and joyfully appreciated than any instant message I’ve ever received, well intentioned or not. He sacrificed some of his time and now it’s time for me to write back. This is my privilege and a bargain to be sure. As I say this was but one minor example.

No “Friends”?

I don’t know. Sometimes I think I’m doing fine.

1 comment:

Josie said...

Sometimes, you're the one that has to reach out....