Thursday, June 16, 2005

Keep Your Friends Close...



I wrote this after a two week stint of partying with old friends from back East who came out to L.A. for a visit...I observed behavior in my pals and myself that I'd learned to overlook and wrote a little bit about it...Initially I was going to pitch the idea to a couple of lad mags but never got around to it...oh, well -- maybe next time. Anyhoozle, I thought it was funny, so I'll post it here and remember: if you can't laugh at yourself, you're hopeless...


My grandmother used to tell me "Mr. Get-with-it" (a nickname that speaks volumes about what kind of kid I was) “You're only as good as the company you keep, so be careful of the people you surround yourself with in life." As a child I never really grasped the concept but now that I'm older and a tad more experienced in the ways of the world, I've come to realize that Granny was handing me pearls of wisdom. While her advice is applicable in many aspects of everyday encounters I've found that it has become an efficient divining tool that helps me better categorize those that I interact with on a regular basis - my friends...


Like myself, one day you might look around at the people in your immediate circle and ask yourself, "who in the hell are these people and why do I even hang around them in the first place?" Don't feel too bad, Sport, that's a good thing because sometimes you got to clean house. Further, it might be high time to discern which of your pallies is a potential threat to your well being and which are just lookin' for love in all the strange places. Don't sweat it, we all get the urge to shake off loose-end-friends from time to time, it's just imperative that you know what and who you're dealing with when you appraise your buddies' rank and file...


After leaving school, young men no longer have unlimited access to locker-rooms, frat-houses or dining hall settings to build foundations of friendships on, so many of us form bonds at the good ole watering hole. Be it happy hour or after hours, if you indulge in the "nectar of the grain gods" then you have undoubtedly been to the same bar more than once, seeking comfort "where everybody knows your name." That's not an altogether bad thing -- menfolk got needs too. Thing is, the people you meet sober over a few cocktails in a bar can soon characteristically morph into a totally different pesona altogther - some quicker than others. Despite my grandmother's advice I've still had to learn my lessons the hard way by mixing in with the wrong crowd, suffering numerous Machiavellian back-stabbings and getting sucked into embarassing pie-in-the-face embroglios while patronizing crowded establishments. This does not have to be your fate...


While the text-book, Oxford Dictionary definitions run in the hundreds for varying degrees of behavior, it seems that alcohol whittles the list down exponentially into a more manageable handful of archetypes. I've encountered one (sometimes more) of the following traits in each and every one of my suds buds -- some I've even seen in myself at times. How does that help you? Immensely, take a gander at the hit list and see if you know any of these men, if you yourself aren't an offender. I defy any man (who has had a drink in the company of other men) who refutes that these people do exist but I'm not looking for a fight, I'm here to help, and help you I will. Retain your objectivity, read on, and you too will be able to discern who's who in your party world...


Firstly, you must learn to beware Dr.Octopus. The good doctor is also known as Mr. "Touchy - Feely" or "Chester Molester." You know him, that guy who can't seem to take his meathooks off of women that he barely knows once he's had a few in him. Normally, Dr. O. is the bestest of buds, he's the go-to guy when the chips are down, he'll bail you out with cover fire during a tight squeeze in chivalric wing man style, but once he's had a few oat sodas or a couple of shots, he turns into "Hands-Gone-Wild" and can no longer be trusted - at least until he's sober again. In the spirit of Megellan, Chuck Yeager and RuPaul, Dr. O. likes to test the boundaries of your comraderie as a stand-up guy on the one hand while chinking away in the coal mines of bad taste and tittie rubs on the other. He'll buy this round for sure but while you're at the bar he's frisking your woman who's forced to fend him off with crash-course moves she had to learn on the fly at her Tae Bo class. Take note, dude always arrives alone and is constantly on the make. Who's Dr.Octopus in your pack of pals? Just ask your girlfriend or one of her friends. I'm told women know that there's always at least one wherever the sexes commingle, always -- just pray it isn't you, good buddy...


How many times have you been out 'n about and actually wanted to pay the tab yourself only to get beat to the punch by your chum with the platinum cards that daddy pays for? (yeah you, you cheap bastard). Initially it's cool but the fun will quickly dissipate when you kick it with Daddy's Warbucks, Jr. or Mr. " I got this one," usually a trusta-farian who fell ass backwards into a pile of money by some other unforseeable means. Since many members of the "L.S.C." (Lucky Sperm Club) tend to sort out life's wrinkles by throwing wads of money at them, they sometimes lack the interpersonal skills needed by those of us who actually have to toil in the fields for our food and lodging. It can be a real schlep hanging with someone who has to purchase friendships with gifts - this implies ulterior motives. The sense of entitlement that some of this lot can lay on you are not unlike the guilt trips that women tend to hide up their sleeves until the time is right to strike. When you're unavailable, Warbucks will call you out with a multi-layered case supported by an unwarranted itemization of past "good-deeds" rendered in "friendship." This is when D.W. turns into his alter ego, Needy Petey, so be privy - that is unless you're prepared to join him for windy walks in WeHo, which is cool if that's how you take your coffee...


"Willie Spilly" is a combination of Dr. O. (without all the grab-assing) and Mr. Needy (sans the big ticket purchases). Willie is the marathon drinker who's perpetually on the mother-of-all-benders and his catch phrase is: "You're not bailing on me now, are you?" He can be fun and he can hold his liquor but he's you're liver's worst nightmare personified. In a spirit contrary to Mayberry's town drunk Otis Campbell, Senor Spilly wants to get faded, like yesterday -- and wants eight or nine of his buddies as accomplices to join him. Stay sharp at all times around this one, for he'll suck you into his world as he regales you with alcohol addled tales of debauchery sprinkled with salty jokes and asides and then BOOM, the next thing you know you're drunk too. Bear in mind that Willy's social schedule defies convention, a holdover from the good ole days back at Mad James U. (or wherever you went to school) and it will all catch up with you both, ultimately. The best thing to do is to pull a Heisman on Will and keep the relationship marginal while maintaining lines of communication from time to time - you don't have to be a total hard ass though, dude just wants to have fun. On that same token, too much of anything can be bad for you, so if you find yourself shaken awake in a hungover fog on the bathroom floor of a Philippine cathouse, don't say you
weren't warned...


Here is another of your buds borne from the suds. As in most cases, he's a straight arrow when he's "undiluted" but once the barley and hops start percolating, hold the phone and make way for Chatty Charles (Cathy's brother). Charles' views and opinions are the right ones and you're just a squirrel, in his intellectual world, trying to get a nut. There is nothing you can bring up that Chuck can't refute, revise or anotate so don't try, just nod acceptingly and back away. "CC" is a veritable well spring of knowledge, for all intents and purposes, but no one likes to be reminded of their cognitive shortcomings on an hourly basis. In short, Charles can become long in the tooth and boring which (amazingly) reveals an upside to having him around. Charles is an excellent wing-man when you have to delve into topical debate, be it at an office party or hosting your own gathering with co-workers at your place - he can help distract attention from your lack of knowledge on such wide ranging topics as the Battle of Bannockburn, Neolithic hunting tools or the migration patterns of Grey whales. Just pull the string and let 'em go, he'll never stop yammering and he's bound to keep at lest a couple of people in attendance from finding the stash in your toilet bowl because a steady stream of conversational escapees will run for the can on the regular to seek reprieve from the Gettysburg Address taking place in your living room...


Lastly on the list of ne'er do wells that you call your running partners is the one least popular on all fronts who always manages to pop up like a turd in a punchbowl - Po' Boy. This mooch never has dough but always wants to party. The polar opposite of Daddy's Warbucks, Po' Boy turns into Joe Pesci when it's time to pay the tab -- he always comes up short. Keep your hand on your wallet in this one's company because he's counting your cash closer than you are. Although he's a likeable schlub for all intents and purposes, he continually depends on your Robin Hood tendacies with missives to "help him out this time," but the problem is that this time was also the last time and the time before that. In fact, you might be hard pressed to pinpoint exactly when this liquored up lamprey ever deigned to finance his part of a bar tab. If you can't bring yourself to give him the trap door, at least introduce him to D.W. and see if they form a sembiotic bond of some kind - like killing two birds with one stone, yo...


For many it can be disconcerting to see how bad their character judgement might be and still others are glad to finally figure out the dealio on their compatriots and make the necessary adjustments to their social schedule. Bear in mind that not all of your buds possess the traits mentioned above. If you're lucky only a couple of these actually apply to your drink-dawgs. On the other hand if you're familiar with all of them then you got some serious 'splainin to do. There are many twists on the road to truth and more than one will steer you through regions you'd rather not visit - valuating your friendships is one of them. I didn't say it was going to be pretty, I just said that I'd show you what I've seen...Laters.

1 Comments:

Blogger mj said...

dude, i've definitely known a po boy or eight in my day. (then again, i have been him for a season but mostly, i tried to resist invitations in those days so as not to burden my friends w/ paying my way, then if they hadto have me along and offered to buy a couple beers, oh, allriiiiight. . .)

so having read this i will be ever vigilant this coming thursday, (this coming thursday, lucio,) at the colorado to see who, if any of us, fit any of these archetypes.

1:48 PM, June 17, 2005  

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