I’m Worth A Million In Prizes

Weeks ago, a friend asked me to be patient about a Difficult Situation(tm). Strangely, I agreed, since we’d been friends for eight years and I was a mere bystander, not some imperiled participant. I don’t know what possessed me to think this wouldn’t happen.

Tata: Okay, I’ll keep my trap shut. [Pause] I can’t take it anymore!

While I was actually attempting to stifle myself, my friend was doing everything in his power to undermine his own efforts to deal with the Difficult Situation(tm) and lying about it. To put this vague description into urban guinea terms you definitely understand: it was like the time your junkie cousin borrowed your car to go to a job interview, then called you to bail him out when your car went into the Hudson River. You sensed something was wrong but you hoped against hope that this time, this cucuz wouldn’t fuck you over. When he did, you said, “I feel like a chooch but at least I tried to help.” And that was the last time you tried to help, no matter how much Mama, Zia and Nonna cried, am I right?

Friend: You hate me, I can tell. That makes two of us.
Tata: Tell your story walking, fella. I’m too selfish to dedicate my next wrinkle to your dumb drama.

Yes, that’s what friends are for: to borrow your stuff and test your boundaries. No, wait, that’s not what friends are for after you wise up and quit schtupping each other’s assorted spouses – especially since what you want from your friends is a break from your damn family. (Do family members – by any chance – keep you in a cage, feed you cake and call you pet names like “Puddin'” and “Tasty”? You and Gretel should consider busting out of Gingerbread Death Row.) Though I have seen my friends make efficient car repairs using only an oak tree, steal potted plants from crowded restaurants and fling ice cream cakes from fifth floor balconies, I trust them with my life, by which I mean: to bury me in a shallow grave near a neighborhood with good schools to bring down property values. Trust is everything. I have one friend I trust to disappoint me and in that he is entirely trustworthy. Several friends have drug problems, arrest records, histories with cults, abuse, cruel spouses, and realtors. The one thing they have in common is they can be trusted to care about me.

The thing my lying, undermining, manipulating, spineless and self-destructive friend cannot be trusted to do is care about me, or the eight years of our lives he wasted before he showed me his true colors.

I wonder if he realizes he’s not my friend. I wonder if this makes me more or less open to new people, in some unfolding stage of life. No, I don’t hate him, but I’m not going to give him another chance to make me sorry I extended myself for him. There’s just one thing to say. Say it with me, sports fans: Go in peace, but keeeeep going.

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