Hey! It’s me, Josh! You’re Jason’s friend, right? We met at that thing. It’s great to see you. How was that concert? … I bet! I’m so jealous. The Roots are pretty much my favorite live band too. Anyway, it seems like we’re moving from acquaintances to full-blown pals, and there are a few things you should probably know about me before this goes any further.
1. I’m not a lot of fun. This is the most important thing to know if we’re going to be friends. I’m not really into fun. Like, at all. I don’t really care for: drinking, dancing, fireworks, going to movies, touch football, rollercoasters, the beach, or dogs. I’m at least one season behind on every relevant TV show. A typical bachelor party is my idea of hell. One of the outer, less vicious circles of hell, but still. What do I do in my free time? Embarrassed you asked! I work nights and enjoy playing Scrabble, although I prefer Boggle. That’s how unfun I am. I have a preference in the long-ignored debate of Boggle v. Scrabble.
Corduroys are my favorite type of pants, which makes me resent the summer for being too hot to wear them. Do I have to go on?
2. I only know about six things. It’s true. Of all the things in the world, I really only know about six of them. Those things are: Baking, Hip Hop (1991-2001), Standup Comedy, Working in Childcare, Coen Brothers Movies, and New England Sports Teams. Chances are, if we’re having a conversation, it will be about one of those five things. Now, I like to listen to people talk about other stuff. Please, tell me about your job! Let me know about the cool avant-garde theater piece you just saw! I will listen attentively and ask questions, but I won’t have a lot of my own information to offer. Chances are, after about five minutes I will just resort to making puns about the stuff you’re talking about. I’m a real pleasure to be around.
3. I’m never around. I’m a deadbeat friend. You can expect me to be available maybe every other weekend and on certain holidays. I travel a lot for work, and even when I am in town, it’s usually not until late at night that I can do friendship. Plus there’s a great chance I will just ditch things entirely to hang out with a girlfriend.
Here’s the story of my twenties:
There is a party or other gathering. I arrive very late. I said I’d be late, but I’m even later than I expected. The event is dissolving. This is a relief, because I just want to go home and sleep. Or! I get there, and everyone is already drunk. I stay for thirty minutes and sneak out early to go home and watch Breaking Bad on Netflix. Psych! Breaking Bad is way too intense for me to watch right before I go to bed. I’ll probably watch an episode of Parks and Recreation.
4. I am very demanding. But how can that be, if I’m never around? Ahh, the magic of the internet! I can ask for favors even from across the country. “Hey, can you read this?” “Will you move my car for street cleaning while I’m out of town?” “Help! I don’t know how girls work! Advise me!”
Yes, I am both distant and needy. What a combination! It works for some people, I guess. After all, women fall in love with pen pals who are in prison sometimes. And I do write a nice handwritten letter. So I’ve got that going for me, as a friend.
5. I am a total pushover. Here’s a little bit of balance. In order to make up for my overall unacceptable lifestyle and needs, I will basically do anything asked of me if time allows. You need a 3 AM ride to the airport? Sure! You want someone to give you notes on a screenplay that has to be done tomorrow? No problem! You need a place to stay for the weekend you’re in town, and couches mess up your back so you want to sleep in my bed while I sleep on the couch? Okay! That sounds totally reasonable!
Also, as much as I am fun-averse, it takes very little peer pressure for me to stay out late and/ or drink whiskey. A good, “Come on! Just one more!” convinces me just about every time. So, with a little patience and arm-twisting, you can turn me into… pretty much what everyone else in the world is already.
So what do you think? Do you still want to hang out? Yeah? Cool! Of course I want to play in your 3-on-3 Sunday morning basketball league. It’s just that… well… I’ll be out of town next week and the week after. I’ll be around the last week of the month, but I’ll have to leave early for a family thing.
You know what? Maybe we’d better just take this slow. Let’s just stay Facebook friends for a while and see how that works. Sorry, man. It’s not you. It’s me.