Monday, January 2

Friend or Schmuck

The holiday break provided me ample time to think about life and such. Occasionally one has to wonder whether all this thinking really serves any purpose. Sometimes I feel my thoughts and logic are all cyclical and quite frankly it is very frustrating. I spend countless hours pondering, and in the end does it really get me anywhere or am I just chasing my tail? Always seeking self-improvement, my train of thought led me to the frontier of actually writing my thoughts, hence the existence of this blog. We frequently lose our place in the arguments we create in our heads and by physically recording my mind I can effectively use a mental bookmark, helping me to establish what ground has been covered, and how I might proceed if at all.

A group I belonged to has a sort of pseudo-digest written a couple of times a year. This “publication” generally uses sarcasm and insensitivity to poke fun at everyone else in the group. As mentioned, I no longer participate in this group, but I do enjoy spending time with current members I met and became friends with during my tenure.

I had the so-called privilege of reading the publication the other night, though I may have wished otherwise. The dripping irony of this entire story would be Seinfeld-esque if only it was amusing. I was celebrating a friend’s 21st birthday at the time, something I take seriously because this is arguably the most important age in American society. You want to be there for your friends on dates important to them, considering life happens only once and you never get a second chance.

On a lighter note, we played the most dysfunctional game of quarters I have ever been involved in, and no one rivals the way one of my friends played several guys out of their money and drinks. I think the birthday girl landed her quarters on the first try with the same consistency as the sun rising every morning.

However, let’s return to the reason I am writing. There were numerous references to my group of friends, more specifically as the older guys who are useless and a waste of space. Apparently, since we are not yet wildly successful or millionaires, we aren’t welcome in their revered presence, the epitome of the holier than thou attitude (you first have to know, where I come from is defined by arrogance and populated with spoiled, selfish brats). I understand the whole intention of the publication is jest, but there was a thinly veiled dagger hiding beneath the photocopied sheets.

After I finished reading, I began thinking and evaluating my relationships/friendships. I realized just how manipulative and two-faced some of the people I associate with are. Now I do not want to appear to be passing judgments and casting stones because I am perfect, I am not. It also dawned on me how those same adjectives may be applied to myself just as easily. Rarely do I find flaws in people around me without quickly seeing those same flaws in myself. The human race is fickle and hypocritical in its whole to begin with. We claim to be altruistic and empathetic, yet when your back is turned we embezzle your money, life and dignity. How many times have I turned my tongue against someone when they weren’t in the room? How many times have I exploited another’s weakness and insecurity for my own personal gain?

We refer to a person as our friend and then vilify them. We drink with them, allow them to confide secrets in us and then we turn around and call them a raging bitch. And do we realize that through this gossip we expose ourselves? Do we expect the people we degrade to always be blissfully unaware of our actions or the ones WE confide in will not turn around, return the favor and stab us in the back?

At this point you wonder: do I really have any true friends or is everyone just in it for themselves? My brother spoke about the camp he is a counselor at and how everyone acts as if you are their best bud, but when shit hits the fan, no one is there get your back. In the end, the ends justify the means as long as I’m the one enjoying the good end, right? The society we live in is a festering pool polluted by violence, greed, apathy, and the almighty individual. The many people who work for a better world (and they do exist) always appear to be fighting a losing battle to the “me, me, me” in everyone. Throughout this continual struggle, we are losing the foundation of friendship: loyalty. Friends are not merely someone you hang out with, they are supposed to be there for you when life is intolerable, and they fight for you when no one else will. Where is the loyalty? What do you have when your “friends” talk shit about you behind your back? You have empty, meaningless relationships based upon superficial premises. We treat our friends as these people we associate with until we find someone else, someone we can better manipulate to further ourselves.

There is a point to this entry and I will write my conclusion tomorrow when my brain is not as tired.

On quick note, we always say the grass is greener on the other side and when we get there it’s not always as green as we once thought. Just remember, you only think it is greener, the reality is rarely true.

1 comment:

  1. Unfortunately, we are all a product of today's society. We live in a ego-centered environment where I am number one and to hell with the other guy. We bad-mouth our leaders, make fun of special interest groups, gossip sbout our friends and neighbors just to get a laugh, and we always blame someone else for today's disintegrating morals and ethics. I am not a bible-thumping fundamentalist but what ever happen to putting the other guy first? Dolling out comments, being tolerate, and helping out the more unfortunate. Well Merry Christmas! Why are we more likely to treat strangers better than our own friends, family members and neighbors? It does seem like a losing battle. However, being the optimist that I like to think I am, I believe that we all need to reflect on how we can add to society one step at a time, one individual at a time and try to make a difference, no matter how small. It is the time of year to count your blessing and I, for one, have many blessings to be thankful for. I hope to make a difference. How about you?