I was a bit of a bunghole in my younger days. I was the sort of kid that I wouldn’t seek to know better if I were to meet one as an adult. As might be expected, a lot of kids didn’t seek to know me any better back then; and who could blame them? As a result, I was often one of those “on the outside looking in” sort of characters. I gradually learned, though, that MOST folks are bungholes at heart, so there was more to it than that.
I hadn’t read Thoreau at the time, so I sort of had to figure things out on my own, but people tend to be friends with those whose company benefits them in some way. Sometimes it’s in social standing. Other times, it’s monetarily or for access to services or other things. Occasionally, it’s just because someone makes them feel good about themselves. The latter isn’t a bad thing at all, but it’s still a benefit in a way.
Craig was a city kid who had a burning interest in the outdoors, so we clicked pretty well. We spent a lot of time together through junior high and high school, hunting and fishing on my family’s land, though he and I had other friends. Still, I considered Craig my BEST friend. As he got older, though, he turned into a dope-head and our interests began to diverge. When he and his girlfriend decided to get married unexpectedly, his friend, Tony, was the only person invited. I don’t know if it had anything to do with Tony being a good photographer or not. Still, when I got married a couple years later, I asked Craig to be my best man. Two weeks before the wedding, though, I found out that I was included on the long list of guys that he thought wanted to steal his wife from him. After the wedding, I didn’t bother going around him anymore. I continued to let him hunt and camp on our property when he asked, but he gradually quit asking.
I met Tim in high school. He was an over-achiever of sorts and had more money and possessions than most kids his age, but it was because he worked for them. His dad had a good job and they lived well. We chummed around a good bit for a few years, and I noticed that he didn’t seem to keep friends very long. When he started getting friends with more money than I, and who had other property that he could hunt, we began drifting apart. I haven’t seen him now for 20 years.
Mick married into a family at the church where I used to attend. He was a hunting son-of-a-gun back when I needed a real deer-slayer to protect my Christmas trees. We never hunted together, but we talked a lot, and he ate venison all year. I never saw much of him once I sold the farm, of course, since I’d also quit attending that church. The other day, he was in the office at work and pretended that he didn’t notice me as I checked with the boss about what time to come in the following morning. It’s no skin off my nose, but I hadn’t thought of him being that sort of fellow.
Will I try to forget these fellows? No, I had a lot of good times with them, but I AM a little disappointed in them, especially Craig, and I won’t be trying to renew their acquaintance. For the most part, I believe that Thoreau was right. © 2014