Watching me grow up, my father was often prompted to tell me stories of his own childhood: his successes, his failures, and his friends. I learned a lot about my Dad’s friends. There was Neil, the point guard on Dad’s JV basketball team, who went on to play for the Kansas City Kings for a couple seasons (not bad for a Jew). There was Chazzy, the clown of the group. When my Dad was away working at a summer camp, Chazzy mailed him a used condom as proof of his lost virginity (they called condoms ‘scumbags’ back then, which is a really great term when you think about it). Then there was Glenn.
Glenn was my Dad’s best friend. They went to middle school, college and medical school together. They even moved to the same suburban town to raise a family. But as far back as I can remember, Glenn and my father never seemed like true friends. Whenever we would run into Glenn and his family at a restaurant or the drug store, he would rush over and chat up my Dad- about the old neighborhood, who was doing what, and so forth. These run-ins would briefly put a smile on my Dad’s face, but that smile would eventually dissipate once Glen made his exit. After one particular encounter, I had to ask.
“Dad, how come you never hang out with Glenn or Chazzy or any of them anymore?”
My Dad curled his lips and looked over at my Mom.
“Because Glenn and Chazzy weren’t very nice to Daddy” My mom fielded, like a lawyer taking over the press conference.
“Not exactly” Dad said. “It’s complicated…one day you’ll understand”.
I understand now, and it fucking sucks.
When you’re young, you don’t have much discretion over who you hang out with. It’s pretty simple. Who lives nearby? Who is in your class? Who does Mom tell you is your friend? As you mature, your qualifications for companionship do as well. Who is in your frat? Who is funny? Who smokes weed? Okay, so it’s a slow process. But as you progress through life, the scope narrows thinner and thinner. I’m at a point where I notice that I have many Glenns in my life, and I don’t like it.
I’ve been told that I’m too sensitive, that I take minor infractions to heart. I like to think I’m just speeding up the selection process. We all have our thresholds. How many unreturned phone calls can you take? How many stories can you listen to about his new job? What if you realize that beyond going out and getting fucked up, you simply have nothing in common? To some of you I may sound like a burned ex-lover, but to others, you know this painful transition all too well.
“Let me tell you somethin', A.J. I don't care how close you are, in the end your friends are gonna let you down. Family: they're the only ones you can depend on.” I never thought Tony Soprano to be a philosopher, but for many of us out there, he happens to be right. I used to bemoan spending time at home, wishing I were out with my boys. But as you grow older, you realize that those bound by blood are the ones who have your best interests at heart. It sounds cliché, but I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been down, only to see my phone light up with a text from my mom or even my quirky 2nd cousin offering a helping hand (or an invitation to an anime convention, he’s one of those).
So let me offer some advice before you return to the top ten lists and Twerk videos:
1. Learn to accept the inevitable- no dude is ever worth chasing, if you’re not getting out what you put in, move on.
2. Don’t settle- sure you guys had some fun times in college, but if all that’s left is memories, then there is no in wasting the present.
3. Finally, learn to make new friends. I don’t subscribe to that Drake “no new friends” bullshit: I’ll never forget the time I needed extras at a video shoot. A lot of my older bros fed me excuses about not being able to make it, while new ones jumped on the chance and thanked me for it afterwards. I didn’t hold a grudge over one incident, but I also had a deeper appreciation for the people who wanted to do right by me. That’s what true friendship is.
Okay, I know this was an uncharacteristic post, but I also know that I’m not alone. Now let’s all bang out 100 pushups and text every chick in our phone to balance it out. Anyone else out there have stories about the bro breakup? Anyone think I’m being a pussy? Really? Every single person out there thinks I’m a pussy? Well that’s it, I’m finding new readers. Leave your thoughts in the comments section!
Krum is a NYC based comedian. Follow him on Twitter @KrumLifeDotCom.