I learned a lesson this week, and yes, I’m 43. arghh, it never stops. I think of it like the uncomfortable scene in Freaks and Geeks when Lindsey was witness to an occurrence of what I call, “false friendship” being showered upon the oblivious special needs teen. A group of boys was busily making sugary prompts to goad this boy who was blind to any wrongs simply as a result of a few missing chromosomes. “They are NOT your friends,” she said, “they are making FUN of you”….negative attention or not this must be what my mom meant when she asked me, why could I not just be fat, dumb and happy growing up? I am certain now, she just meant, I did not have to impart wisdom on everything….Shit-really? The unkind tinkering with this boy’s emotions skimmed over him. He was in fact smiling and harnessing the attention as if it were true friendship. Lindsey imparting honesty into the situation lent it no value. It actually ruffled the feathers of the boy unnecessarily and the scene ends with him running off and falling off the bleachers awkwardly onto his arm and breaking it.
I learned to savor the real value of the honesty nugget myself the other day, calling someone out on their obvious erratic behavior, out of curiosity. It was perhaps a poor attempt at chit chat. The reaction I got was like calling a teenager out on snorting a line of coke. It made me think, And again my mother was correct, “you don’t need to let people in on what your thinking.” The writer in me often forgets this when I am sitting with a friend who may not be looking for unsolicited advice. Or even want to hear the good intent behind my words. I compare friendships to either fine chocolates or hard candy. When the friend speaks to you in that sing songie elated voice like a girl in pink, who says smiling radiantly in a false manner “it so nice to see yoooooou?” You wonder, does she actually see “YOU,” and Can I possibly believe her words, when they are delivered in “THAT” tone of voice? It is what it is. Take it or leave it. It isn’t t fine chocolate. It’s a lesson in friendship, not a friendship. Again, Fran’s salt caramel or a sugary root beer barrel, you know which one you’d pick.
After this episode of “false friendship,” I will practice sucking on a candy this week; without biting into it. Still the lesson as humiliating as it is, will teach my mouth patience; to busy itself with being shut. As sweet as that toffee buttery candy is, it’s over too soon if the invasive teeth come crushing forth like words that shouldn’t have been spoken; coating the tongue with unintended semantics that carry over until tomorrow. Humiliation is sometimes still sweet I guess. I will not give up all hard candy just because I once choked on a piece? But I still prefer chocolate.