Friday, July 25, 2014

Relentless Ridicule — That's What Friends Are For

In about two weeks I’ll be reuniting with some old friends. We’ll retreat to a cabin on a lake in the middle of nowhere, drink beer and in general be boring men recounting glory days that never existed while pretending we aren’t tired by 10 pm.

I’ve lived away from my childhood home for about ten years now so meeting up with old friends is always special and if we see each other every two years, I’m fortunate.
While there might be some more checkered incidents,
most of my youth is summed up here.

Reconnecting with people who’ve known you since you were a little kid playing road hockey in front of their house grounds you — quickly. For the most part, I’ve found that to be a good thing for me.

It’s also a good thing that this reunion is happening well away from the ears of my wife, my parents, even my son who wouldn’t understand and anyone else who has come to know me in recent years. While there are no skeletons in my closet (Mrs. Blackwell knows all of the mostly boring details of my life) there are those little anecdotes that even I might not remember.

And, when it comes to my history of embarrassing moments, two facts come to mind:

1) I can’t remember them all because, frankly, there’s just too many.

2) In an ironic twist, I surrounded myself with friends who have long, detailed memories and can in fact remember them all.

Fortunately, we’re an equal opportunity crew and everyone takes their share of abuse, their turn being the sole subject of ridicule if you will.

It’s been that way for years and it will continue to be so with us.
From left: me and two people who never let me forget
every mortifying, cringe-worthy moment of my youth.

I can only imagine what Master Blackwell’s life will look like when he’s my age. Never mind what the world will look like. Who knows? Miami could be under two feet of water and our phones could be driving our cars. We can’t be sure. 

I do however, feel safe predicting that good friends will still be in fashion and, if Mrs. Blackwell and I do our jobs, the boy will have a few buddies who’ve known him long enough to remember things about him even he’s forgotten — or wishes he could.

Having a group of friends who, no matter how long they’ve gone without seeing each other, can pick up where they left off is special and the older I get the more I see just how special.

One day when he’s older maybe I’ll bring my son with me on one of these trips so that he can learn firsthand that his father isn’t the sophisticated, cool cat he knows him to be.

I’m sure it will come as a shock to hear stories of his father being anything but cool and far from sophisticated and I know there’s a group of guys more than willing to fill him in. 

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