“Friendship is like standing on wet cement. The longer you stay, the harder it’s to leave, and you can never go without leaving your footprints behind.” – Unknown
Beginning Your Quest
“Stand By Me” is what crosses my shitlord mind when I think about the ultimate meaning of the word “friend”. Hopefully something of similar aspiration and brilliance crosses your mind as you agonize late into the night about your lack of instagram followers, likes, and retweets.
The 1986 classic is a tale of boys who bond while on the adventure of their lives – to find a dead body first. A dead body was the goal of their quest, but the story of their lives is related by how they got there. Their story, retold by our venerable writer, is what we all desire deep down at our frothy cores.
Even more important, it makes their quest worthy of completion, instead of merely just beginning. Think about the movie Sandlot and Scotty’s quest to make friends. Their adventure expands and culminates in getting that baseball back. Scotty didn’t know it yet, but the neighborhood kids became his family and the quest he began with became something grand – and a classic in American cinema.
Every man needs his quest. He might not know it yet, but ever man at his core has a quest in mind for his life. Myth, legend, history, and memorable fiction is filed with the larger-than-life stories of Achilles, Caesar, Genghis, Harry Dresden, and Huck Finn for a reason.
Real friends” make that quest worth undertaking, as well as make the quest into what we never imagined. Experiences and encounters with friends shape the stories to be told to our grandchildren. Chunk was essential to the group in the Goonies just as Huck Finn was impossible without Tom Sawyer.
They also shape what our quests become and give you those “life is worth living” feelings that everyone want of us wants. You may start off in the Shire, but the way to Mordor is packed with many different stops.
Before I go any further, let me shout something at the rest of you, “STOP CARING WHAT OTHER PEOPLE WILL THINK!” When you don’t shift with the wind and popular opinion and consensus to “fit in”, the friends you will attract will be a of a high caliber and more likely to be TRUE actual friends.
Friends should be thicker than water. Crazy stunts on your bikes, nerding out laughing and gaming on xbox late into the night, and enjoying a pickup game of baseball created a bond that you didn’t easily forget.
I still haven’t forgotten me and my best friend Tim bingewatching anime late into the night while slamming mountain dew. A decade later, we had switched to bud light. Conversations late into the night about plans for the future were the norm. (Think “Second-Hand Lions“)
Yea, I know, “Nerrrddssssss!”
Friendship was a bond between people that extended beyond the normal worries of life. Bonds weren’t necessarily established because you both held up similar signs at a protest, but because you had been through thick and thin together.
You legitimately had not just commonality, but a sense of enjoyment and purpose in the company of someone you considered a friend. Speak friend, and enter. (We all need our Sam, Frodo, and Gandalf in Moria.)
In these dark times, we force the term “friend” to also mean comrade, ally, etc. Obviously, you can be a friend, but not necessarily an ally willing to hopscotch onto those landmines. Well, this used to be the case.
That distinction matters because everyone assumes that you have the same exact views as your friend – or that you should. Become the hivemind. You are identical symbiotic cells according to Facebook feeds.
The current political sphere entails that while you may be a gay Asian lesbian who voted Trump, you are still apparently a Nazi who hates humanity. You are either in the camp getting gassed, or you are the one’s laughing maniacally as you usher the Zyklon B into the shower vents.
Either a deplorable Nazi bastard, or a trans black disabled two-spirit. This thinking has done wonders for those shallow people whose lives depend on political schadenfreude for purpose.
Believe it or not; Trump being the devil or the messiah, the ethics of trannies in the girls bathroom, and whether God exists are great conversations while in a drunken stupor that won’t be uploaded to Facebook. When amongst friends, disagreement/agreement shouldn’t matter.
Agreement and disagreement aren’t what drives your friendship. If they do, you have many like minded acquaintances, but likely no real friends who will stand by you. A rather unsettling thought. So what does a friend look like?
Do you know someone with the history, proximity, life-goals, to some extent common-cause, and shared experiences/ stories that you want to tell your grandchildren? How about that feeling of purpose, fulfillment, and sense of belonging?
Did you think to yourself, “I’d love to grow old with this guy?” Were they always at your back in the thick of life with you? Did they stand by you in times of strife when everyone trashed you? Was there couch always available when you needed it and their ear open when life had you bent over? If so, that’s a real friend – and they don’t make em like they used to.
Go back to the year 1000 and gaze upon a man who was excommunicated. Modern self -loathing Christendom hate aside, the heretic was often avoided by the community and usually dead to his family. At that time, it was essentially a death sentence.
Despite our scorn of those bigoted terrible Christians as we beat on our enlightened snobby chests about how awesome we are ,we’ve actually brought that same mentality back. This time it only dooms you to bad jobs, little opportunity, and scorn from your elite educated betters who’ve studied long and hard for their liberal arts degree.
If you are one of the lucky converts, you’ll be seen as a sinner who needs an extended time of penance in the mines of ally activism to repent for your sins of privilege. You filthy white devil you. Prostrate and repent – but make sure to donate. Forgiveness isn’t cheap.
What the hell happened?
The culture wars in their meme and social media glory have fooled people into a shallow sense of friendship. Sure, you both may like Bernie Sanders, spam his memes on Faceberg, support #BlackLivesMatter, and denounce bigotry in the movies, but will Joe have your back when push comes to shove?
Will they stand by you? Surely he knows you are a good person at heart, just misunderstood in the shouts for your burning at the stake – but will he voice it in fear for his own hide? You better damn hope so Solo.
The casualties of heresy aren’t necessarily just the one’s you see on the front page of Drudge, but on your social feed as they defriend and block all trespassers of wrongthink. Surely they can’t be seen to have such deplorable friends. After all, what would people think?
Peer pressure makes for likes on Facebook, but will any of those people drive out of their way to pick you up in the middle of nowhere? Will your “friend” have time for you when you actually need it? True friends are indeed rare.
Will he denounce you to the other virtue signal despondent deviants desperate for Faecbook likes and acceptance because you didn’t support #BlackLivesMatter loud enough, check your privilege, or didn’t prostrate yourself low enough for that offensive joke?
Stand By Me
Rest assured that if I call you a friend, I’ll always have your back when the storms rage. It’s exactly why I’ll never denounce men like Forney, Roosh, Aurini, Quintus, etc no matter how many people recoil in horror because they deem their perspectives deplorable. Guilt by association is nonsense and anyone who appeals to it should be disregarded.
Even more so for the close friends I’ve known for the better part of my life. When told that it makes me look like I share their reprehensible heresies, my response is simple and emphatic:“I don’t care.”
Be honest with yourself; the shrieking wolves of Twitter will always assume that friendship equates to a cult like hive mind of absolute agreement. Their goal is isolation of their targets. When they’ve finished, they will still come for you next.
Consider closely who you want to be in this short life. You are never guaranteed tomorrow. Sure, plan for the future, but exactly what future? In fact what would your friends and family say around your gravestone? Deep down, we want a future filled with people, family, and FRIENDS, which make it worth living.
Even if I don’t agree with someone or their supposed racist, sexist, misogynist bigoted uttering – of which I am accused of frequently – they are still my friend no matter what they have or will say.
That’s what true friends do. Your friendship transcends the frequent winds of “change” on the “right side of history.” The right damn side of history is by their side, and they by you.
History won’t fondly remember the con artists who appeal to the moral authority of the majority to scold those who aren’t on the “right side of history” – if it remembers them at all. Face it, history won’t remember virtually any of us, but good friends make our short lives worth getting up in the morning to go to that job we hate to feed our families.
My best friend may be very liberal, but he’s welcome in my home at any point, and I in his. The trust we’ve built over the last 20 years can’t be shaken. Our kids will play together, and our wives worthy of defending regardless the reason.
A word of warning to those who think long-term friends can be replaced: Those who throw their friends away – especially over politics – will be treated with contempt by their newfound like-minded revolutionary comrades, because none of us at heart will ever be truly radical enough.
“Betrayal” no matter how you want to dress it up is not invisible to new bedfellows. Trust will never be built, and thus loyalty will never follow, as they assume you will do the same to them at some point. So goes the common cause.
No matter how much faithful zeal you may have for social justice you will tire, even just slightly of being beaten for your privilege while living paycheck to paycheck – cis straight white males in particular. It is then you will be chastised and exorcised for your lack of allyship.
Meanwhile your best hope is that the friends and family you shunned know well the parable of the prodigal son. You will know them to be true friends and family when they welcome you back with open arms and no demands to get on your knees and beg for sweet forgiveness.
That is what marks a true friend. Value them above all else.