We’re watching the show “Gotham: Rise of the Villains” each week on FOX and, if you’re into the Marvel Comic book thing, it’s a fun, long-winded explanation of how Gotham got to the point that Batman had to step in and fight crime. The series started and continues to be set at the time when Bruce Wayne is around the age of 12 or so. What we’re gradually seeing each week is how Penguin became Penguin, Cat Woman became Cat Woman, etc.
The show is cast perfectly and the writing is crisp.
The other night, one of the weirder characters said something profound that really connected with me. Words to the effect of, “When you don’t have a lot of friends, it makes the ones you have more valuable.” That got me to thinking about the various levels of friends that we have in this life. While the word ‘friends’ is used a lot, we each have different types of friends…or, at least, I do.
I’ve always liked getting along with people. It just seems like an easier way to live and probably is just one of the things I inherited from my dad, the original Mr. Nice Guy. There are those who bring their problems to work, or take things out on anyone that’s available, only to later apologize or not. There are jerks, drama queens, all around messes, bullies–you name it. Somehow, my M.O. is to befriend people, resulting in less conflict. I’m not a conflict guy. And, besides, like I said, when you get along, life is easier.
So, what are friends? We throw the word around and say “Facebook Friends” but hey–I have over 1,000 Facebook Friends, that include family members from my wife and kids all the way to a friend of a friend who was told, “Hey, you oughta friend this guy and see what he posts.”
I have work friends. Neighbors who are friendly and we chat, but don’t spend a lot of time together. I have social friends that I see based on what events we’re doing.
But if I were to drill down to the handful of people that, to me, epitomize the idea of friends, a couple of folks come to mind. Sure, this is dangerous because, if you’re not on the list, then you might be tempted to think, “Wow, I thought we were friends!” See, real friends never think that way. They don’t constantly keep score about who called who or even think something negative about the other person. Some people I know have very dysfunctional friendships that they cherish very much, but those kind of relationships don’t fit my definition and simply are more work than they’re worth.
One friend that comes to mind–Steve Diklich. A former college roommate, we share some great adventures in the Terry Hall days at the University of Washington and have stayed friends ever since. We may see each other only two or three times a year, if that. Steve and I actually went to the Oregon game together last weekend and got all caught up on our personal lives. I can’t tell you when the last time was that we saw each other. That might have been it for the year, I’m not sure. But see, it just doesn’t matter when you’re friends. You cherish your time together, act like it was just five minutes ago that you last saw each other and then leave, looking forward to the next time.
Bryon Mengle was our producer during the final two years of the Murdock, Hunter & Alice show. He came to us with a rolodex full of contacts and a willingness to do whatever it took for good radio. I’ve watched him grow professionally over the years, seen him get married (I was his best man) and enjoyed staying in touch with him as Bryon, Shawna and their two kids go through their adventures together. These days, most of our connection is through Facebook, instant messages or email. He still asks for my opinion on things or if I might have any crazy ideas for a radio promotion, but again, we just pick up where ever we last left off. With doing mornings back in Iowa these days, I think it’s been a couple of years since we caught the Mengles passing through town.
Heading down this road, I’m thinking of more people I would consider really good friends. Some I’ve seen recently, others not for years, maybe even decades. It doesn’t make them any less friends.
Good friends don’t judge, they care about what happens to you and can’t wait to tell you what happened to them.
The quote that always pops in my mind when the subject comes up: “Friends help you move. A real friend helps you move bodies.”
Yeah, well, I made it that far before going funny on you.
Are you considered one of my friends? You know the answer to that one and that makes me look forward to the next time we get together, whenever that may be.