It’s a weird world, yo. Like my dad always told me (and I have passed on to my own wee laddy)- “You can pick your friends and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose. Unless you have really good friends”.
Make sure to pick good friends.
Friends who can think you’re an idiot, but not judge you for it.
Friends who might drift away for years and when the current brings ‘em back to your shores, you pick up where you left off as though they split yesterday.
Friends who help you move. Even when you don’t have beer. (serious loyalty is displayed here!)
Friends who have absolutely conflicting views on life, religion, politics and can argue with you with great conviction and fervor, but forget what you were talking about when “Jump Around” comes on the radio and you both start singing along in horrifically bad ways.
Friends who return books and records you lend them.
Friend who never return books and records you lend them, and remind you that they have no intentions of returning them with great regularity.
Friends who are there for you and never ask a thing in return.
Friends who lend you fifty cents and remind you of it when they ask to borrow your car to drive to Wyoming to pick up a highly suspect mail-order bride.
Friends who mercilessly make fun of you, but kick the snot out of anyone else who does.
Friends who realize the comedic genius of picking other people’s noses.
It’s a weird world, yo.
Has it been awhile since you spoke to that friend who makes you laugh so hard your stomach and face literally hurt? Call ‘em. Right now.
Don’t even finish this stupid column.
You need that fucking laugh right now.
Get the fuck off of social media, where people who would normally weep if you approached them face to face try and bully you because being an online warrior takes no balls- and go hang out with your friend who has the same opinions as the interwebs chickenshit, and have a real discussion with someone who respects you as a human and won’t just shout you down.
Someone with balls enough to disagree with you to your face. Maybe you’ll both learn something.
What about the dude you used to party hearty with back in the day? Ten bucks says that when you put your respective kids to bed, you can still rage. Even without various and sundry libations.
The crew you used to hit every concert in a 300 mile radius with.
It might be nice to discuss your memories with people who were there instead of pummeling your poor significant other with your eight-thousandth retelling of the exact same story… then when you get home, you can regale your S/O with new details and the fresh perspective you glean.
They’ll still hate it, but If they love you, they’ll fake smile and go “Uh-huh” a lot. I mean, since you have to tolerate their nutwad family, boring friends and awful tastes in music- I figure it evens out. (I’m available for custom rationalizations at reasonable rates. Send your request written on the back of any negotiable bill featuring a portrait of William McKinley and I’ll send you an itemized estimate).
I know for a fact you have at least one friend that you don’t ever have to speak to, but can read like a book.
Ferinstance, they give you one, nearly imperceptible glance and you understand that they are asking you to look at the huge, exposed buttcrack and corresponing wedgie of the 52” waistline jammed into a pair of 34” yoga pants on the middle aged man in front of you online at Arby’s.
I’m lucky. I have about 10 friends like that.
You should call yours.
You know that one friend that is an expert at assessing a situation and quickly surmising how exactly to manipulate it so that you’re on the spot? Such as shouting, “Ew! Dude, I am not going to make out with you” at the DMV.
That guy. You love that guy. Why aren’t you hanging out with that guy this weekend?
Remember that time you and your buddy decided to get onto a crowded elevator and face the back. Remember how fucking insanely uncomfortable everyone else got? Remember how fucking funny that was? Ask that friend to come over. Now.
You know that amazing rush of good feelings you get when somebody you didn’t even realize you desperately missed shows up out of the blue? Be that person for somebody.
Why am I bringing this subject up?
I’ve just been thinking about how lucky I am to have the friends I have and how there are people I pass every day who people I have never met cherish dearly.
That made me think about how everyone (Everyone! Me, you, all of us) quietly judges random passers-by. “Lookit the hair on that asswipe!” “What was she thinking going outside in those shoes!” “Dude- those are PJs. Ain’t ya got no pride?”.
I suddenly realized that somewhere, there was someone who would rush to those folks defense as sure as there were people who would back me up and defend my having made a judgement in the first place.
There are insufferable assholes that somebody looks up to or tries to insulate from those who think they are, indeed, insufferable assholes.
That got me thinking about the friends I have that I neglect and how everyday life can get in the way of simply keeping in touch.
That led to my realization that those people, in turn, have neglected me for similar, if not identical reasons.
That made me realize it would be cool to call them out of the blue. So I did.
And it was like a brand new day dawned with every call.
It made me happy. It made them happy. If we don’t talk again for another 3 years, it’ll make us happy until then when we think about it.
Allow me to refer back to and elaborate upon an earlier statement about social media- I have never, over the entire course of entire life been exposed to as much vitriol, abuse, judgement, reactionism, bias and hatred as is vomited upon the public in one ten-minute span perusing social media.
Huge keyboard testicles on well insulated armchair tough guys who practice an absolute lack of basic social decorum, fact checking, consideration of others and most notably absent; tolerance and kindness.
Despite both being continually demanded by everyone, especially those who practice it the least.
Upon the briefest of visits to the internet, any joy, compassion, understanding,- virtually any emotion that doesn’t smack of straight-up nastiness- is ground to dust beneath the barrage of angry, bigoted, divisive vitriol.
So I’m going to try something suggested during a Tell ‘Em Steve Dave episode by podcast regular (and Impractical Jokers star), Brian “Q” Quinn.
You see, Q had reported that he has limited his participation in social media to a bare minimum and in doing so, his quality of life, anger levels and love for his fellow man have all improves.
I have, as of this moment, suspended any and all mobile notifications for all social media outlets (except Instagram, because I follow some amazing photographers and friends who do things worth looking at).
I’ve recently reduced my participation exponentially to posting only music I like and funny statements. I do not read any “newsfeeds”, only posts directly to my wall or inbox. If they’re not positive, they’re gone and in more than a few cases, so are the folks they came from.
A zero tolerance to negativity policy.
What has resulted is as follows:
I have regained many added hours to my real existence that were once devoured by falling down the proverbial “rabbit holes” offered by the various social media outlets.
My general demeanor has risen from curmudgeonly to jovial almost instantaneously (and reverts with equal swiftness whenever I accidentally read other people’s posts).
My opinions are no longer manipulated by people whose opinions I think I share, or I think I disagree with. Only positive posting and no reading outside my own page!
Conversely, this has made my interactions and social intercourse equally positive.
Unarmed folks can’t fire across your bow.
Most of my closest friends have very little to say on social media, or aren’t a presence at all.
The ones who do generally post positive messages, videos of themselves performing music, their photos, positive affirmations.
I can live with all that, but the fact is, if I actually go hang out with them, I can not only observe them being creative or positive, I can actively participate in the joy!
Also, the number of folks who’ve wrecked their car answering someone sitting in the passenger seat is a shitload smaller than those who’ve piled up their Edsel replying to some strangers inflammatory tweet.
I recommend staying off Twitter entirely.
Yes. Social media is a great way to keep in touch with long lost friends.
Yes, it is a public forum where anyone can say anything they’d like about anything, to a certain extent (you can discuss the methods by which public figures should be liquidated, but you cannot show a human female nipple. Because apparently, assasination discussion is way healthier than not being sexually repressed).
I’m obviously not a completely zealous anti-internet crusader, or you wouldn’t be reading this.
But I do firmly believe that, as is everything else on earth, moderation is key.
So, I issue a challenge to you, true believers.
Since I don’t expect everyone is capable of logging in and not reading, those who cannot, I challenge you to remove yourself from social media entirely for 72 hours (after you finish this column, share it and leave a like, of course).
That’s it, 72 hours, three days.
Three. A nice, primary, biblical number.
It’s also one day less than four, for those who need the encouragement.
Afterward, if you’re so compelled, leave me a comment as to whether or not you noticed a significant uptick in your quality of life.
You can delve back in full force if you so desire, or you can remain temperate in your usage of social media. I have no dog in that fight.
But I think you’ll be significantly less miserable should the latter be your course.
Either way, keep checking back here for my next installment. Stoking your happiness is less important than stroking my ego.
So there it is. See you in three days.
Now, stop reading this horseshit and call your best friend!