He and I are pretty tight. Have been for some time.
I know I give him a lot of crap, but that’s because I know he can take it. And it’s not even giving him crap, really, it’s just telling him stuff he already knows. Stuff that he doesn’t want to cop to, stuff that, if it were up to him, he’d ignore indefinitely.
Sure, the things I tell him can bum him out. But that’s not my fault. I don’t make the news, I just report it. To him. Whenever I can. And it doesn’t matter where or when. Sometimes, when we’re out with friends, I tell him right then and there that he should shut up, walk away from the conversation before he makes a bigger fool of himself.
Other times, I’ll wait until the end of the evening. I love the guy, you know? And I want him to have a good time out. But sooner or later, we need to have that heart to heart. Where I patiently explain to him every single thing he did wrong that evening. Like ordering a beer instead of drinking water. Like ordering a burger instead of a salad. Like ordering another beer instead of having just one beer. Like dominating the conversation about the stupid things he cares about, even though nobody else cares. Like getting there too early and staying too late. Like getting a stain on his shirt because he’s too much of a slob to eat like a normal person.
Sometimes, when I’m calling him on this, he’ll be all like, “Well, I have managed to do okay for myself, considering I’m so fucking stupid.” And it’s nice to see a little fight in him once in a while, because he’s usually such a pushover. That doesn’t make him any less wrong, but you know, it’s something.
Because I love him, I’ll painstakingly explain to him exactly how okay he has not done for himself. People his age and younger who are light years ahead of him career-wise. People his friends would leave him for in a hot minute if they had the opportunity to hang out with someone who was ACTUALLY successful.
This shuts him up pretty good. Now, most people would take in this information, and DO something about it. But not our boy. Here I am, trying my best to help this poor bastard, and what does he do? He takes my honest, friendly advice, and turns it into feeling sorry for himself. And then he uses that as an excuse to do even LESS with his life. And guess who has to call him on it. And guess who turns it into more feeling sorry for himself.
So why do I do bother with him at all? Well, mostly because I’m a great friend. I’m honest to a fault. More honest with him than anyone else in his life could ever be. I don’t know how he managed to surround himself with so many people who lie to him constantly. It’s infuriating. What’s their angle? He and I have tried to figure it out, and come up snake eyes every time.
What really drives me up the wall is when they try to tell him these things aren’t true. THANKS FOR UNDOING ALL OF MY HARD WORK, ASSHOLES! Now I have to work twice as hard to remind him that when you tell him that, it’s out of pity. Or you’re doing your good deed for the day. Or you’re just so sick of his prattling on that you’ll throw him a bone to shut him up. Or maybe you keep waiting. Waiting for some glimmer, some sparkle of life, some hint that whatever good qualities you thought he had might one day manifest.
Lord knows I’m waiting for that as well.
That’s the main reason I stay. Because I know he could be great. Like me. Now I don’t like to toot my own horn, but I’m a pretty funny guy. I’m quick, and when I get going, I can keep a room full of people in stitches. I’m out of shape, but I carry myself well, you know, with confidence. I make a solid living, and even though there are people way more successful than me, there are a lot of people out there who don’t have it as good. And the stuff I work on, maybe it doesn’t get seen by THE WHOLE WORLD, but the people who do see it tend to really like it.
And like I said, I’m a great friend. I listen to people, really listen to them. I’m always there for them. Always there to lend a helping hand, always there to shoot them a tweet, a text, a quick email, or a dumb thing on iTunes to make them smile.
People like me. People respect me. People want to be around me.
He wants to be around me. He can’t live without me. I’ve told him this. I’ve told him, “If it weren’t for me, I can’t even imagine how you’d end up. You need me in your life. You need me in your life constantly, 24-7. Always. Forever.”
I was beginning to think all of my work was going unappreciated. Because no matter how awesome I was, how terrible he was, and how awesome I was at telling him how terrible he was, he never once got it together to thank me. To tell me how much he appreciated everything I’ve done for him. To look me in the eyes and say, “You are such a good goddamned friend.”
So I was pleasantly surprised to find out he was throwing me a “Happy Awesome Friend Day” party. I wasn’t aware that Awesome Friend Day was a holiday, but it must be, because there’s no way he’d be clever enough to make that up.
I was less pleasantly surprised to find out that the party was in an old abandoned warehouse downtown, but maybe it was a rave or something. I’m an excellent dancer. Not like SOMEONE I know.
I was downright offended to see that the party started at 3:00am. No doubt he was cutting costs and pinching pennies, cheapskate that he is. But a party in my honor is a party in my honor, so I took a disco nap, put on a sharp outfit, and headed downtown. My driver made a pretty dubious face when we pulled up to the dark, decrepit warehouse, but I just smiled, paid him, and tipped well.
I was excited to see my pal. To thank him for taking the time to throw me the party I so rightfully deserved, and also to talk him through all of the things he did wrong in throwing me this party. What a night this was going to be!
It is at this point that I must point out that for most of my life, I thought the Star Wars universe was an entirely fictional construct. And that is 99% accurate. The 1% exception, as I came to find out, was the Sarlacc Pit. They are rare, to be sure, but it just so happens that one resides in an abandoned warehouse in downtown Los Angeles.
As I stared up from the bottom of the pit, surrounded by half-digested corpses and every unproduced spec script in the greater Los Angeles area, I saw him with all his friends and loved ones. Some were laughing. Some were crying. Everyone was smiling.
“YOU SON OF A BITCH,” I shouted. “YOU’RE NOTHING WITHOUT ME.”
He smiled a wide, stupid grin, and said, “I’m willing to take that risk.”
Then everyone went back to his place for grilled cheese and IPAs, leaving me to my own devices. I amused myself for a while reading the spec of RUBIK’S CUBE: THE MOVIE, until the Sarlacc’s digestive acids disintegrated my extremities.
“That fucking guy,” I thought to myself as I drifted off to sleep, “I KNEW I never liked him.”