Monday, March 28, 2011

Got Friends?

The other day I got an email telling me about the death of someone I’d known my freshman year. Garrett had played Buffalo Bill in our student theatre production of INDIANS. I liked Garrett. He was an upper classman and I was a mouthy freshman who happened to be the assistant director for the show. I think he mostly humored me…but he was unfailingly nice. And he was a terrific Buffalo Bill.

The sender of said email was my best friend that first year of college. We ended up actually talking on the phone, something we rarely do since the advent of email, but I'll admit I was happy to listen to that voice and the very distinctive laugh that goes with it.

This got me to thinking about my collection of friends. I've been pretty good about keeping up with friends from my previous lives. I know where they are, where they've landed and usually how to reach them in a heartbeat. But in reviewing the list, I noticed one thing has not changed: pretty much across the board, my closest friends have been guys

I never was very interested in topics of girl-speak. In high school, I was terrible at hair-dos and mindlessness chatter. I was looking for witty repartee and sharp erudition. I wanted to provocation, not prevarication. I wanted to argue philosophy and ethics, not debate the merits of mini versus maxi, or whether or not to go to second base on a first date. By the time I went to college, I knew I didn't want to be relegated to the granola tent with the rest of the women doing weird stuff with sprouts; I wanted to be at the table planning the demonstrations.

My first guy best friend was in high school. Billy drilled existentialism in my brain and let’s just say it stuck. That first year of college, Randy drove me around in Baby, that wonderful red MGB-GT and kept me from doing whatever it was college froshes do when they’re about to go over the edge. I met Saeed the first week of grad school, and he showed me the world was not black and white, but rather endless shades of grey and teeming with contradictions. Ziggy was there, too; he kept on me to lighten up and laugh more at the follies and the foibles of academia.  And Joel, my erstwhile study partner, that constant presence at the family dinner table, challenged me to be a better all ‘round partner instead of just chopping up commentators for study salsa. 

"Okay, she's all yours."
Of course, being one of the guys had its downside. I wasn't the girl you took out; I was the one you called after the date. I became a veritable wealth of information about the opposite sex for both sides. I listened, I laughed, I even railed when railing was needed. I heard deepest, darkest secrets and I have never, ever repeated them. And for the sake of full disclosure on my side, I should probably mention I ended up married to one of those guys... for 32 years …until he had the poor form to make me a widow.

Those guys were, first and foremost, my friends. I trusted them, drove them all crazy with endless questions, and relied on them for telling me the truth even when I didn't particularly want to hear it. They were part and parcel of forming me into me, and even after zillion years, I still trust them without hesitation. 

None of the remaining four are in Minnesota, but their presence is always felt. As for the one who is here and will be forever more, I have to admit I miss him most of all. 

Wifely Person's Tip o' the Week 
Today marks the 2nd anniversary of the day we knew something was really wrong.
Last year, I was too numb to notice. This year, slam; right in the kisser.
And y'know what Ziggy would say about that?
Lighten the f**k up.


  1. I am all ferklempt. A beautiful post.


  2. Wow! What an indictment of womankind! Guess you haven’t been hobnobbing with the likes of Margaret, Indira, Golda or perhaps Hillary.

    I will also assume your man-friends aren’t today’s version of Wally, Lumpy and Eddie Haskell or even Joey, Chandler and Ross.

    And don’t forget those famous words of Harry Bellafonte: “…the women of today smarder than da man in every way!”

  3. Hoping today is not too difficult for you

    As always, enjoyed the post

    Sorry to hear about your college buddy

  4. You say you seek male friends because you desire "provocation, not prevarication". My experience with men is that they do indeed enjoy the art of prevarication especially when their goal is procreation.

    Women, however, may choose to activate their number #1 defense mechanism: procrastination. And that in turn does indeed lead to provocation (and sometimes masturbation).

  5. The Wifely PersonMarch 31, 2011 at 4:31 PM

    Well, the "provocation/prevarication" comment referred to my high school years. I was a bit naive at that age. And some might say I still am.

  6. In that case, you're excused.