Someone I know insists that you shouldn't write fiction when an essay will due. But, at heart I 'm a morphist, so here's the beginning of another essay/story I was writing to amuse myself:
Admit it: you have friendship litmus tests.
Maybe you haven’t thought about it specifically, or taken the time to catalog them. But every time you react aghast or with outright indignation that someone hasn’t seen your favorite movie, read your favorite book or eaten your favorite breakfast cereal, a test has been failed.
In certain parts of the Rust Belt and New England, this takes the form of the “you gotta” formulation – you gotta try the goat cheese pizza at this dive, you gotta see this flick or make this drive. After all, anybody who could not see the grandeur of these things clearly is not the kind of character with whom you’d like to associate.
Depending on your level of social cognizance, you might have even declared them outright, in a “Friends don’t let friends ____” sort of way. You just can’t be around Republicans, people who bite their fingernails or anyone who doesn’t appreciate that Back to the Future in the pinnacle achievement of American cinema, essentially rending the medium now obsolete.
Oh, I understand, believe. By some gaffe in his logical reasoning circuits or a faulty belief in rockist exclusivism, one of my best friends insists that he doesn’t care for the Beach Boys. As if you could really call such a person “friend.”
Some people will naturally slip through the cracks, like Mr. I’m-too-serious-to-love-Sloop-John-B. But statistical variances aside, your life in needlessly homogenous.
Here’s my solution – don’t ever learn anything about anyone before you become a reasonable semblance of companions. I’m serious. Have utterly innocuous conversations with strangers; make no more than blithering small talk with prospective love interests. I’m sure that oafish zeppelin Dr. Phil would have you discuss all your hopes and dreams with your partner before getting too serious. This is absolute baloney, just like marriage itself. Don’t give away even hints of your political affiliations or preferred fruits and vegetables.
Do rabidly declare your sporting affiliations. I’ll be damned if I ever unwittingly marry a Yankee fan again.
Yeah, that’s right, Debra. Fuck A-Rod. You might as well, you slept with the rest of our apartment building.
Sorry, I got off track. Promiscuity and bad baseball allegiances aside, don’t find out anything about anybody until it’s too late. Look, I’m not trying to make you a boring person – exactly the opposite. If you talk politics, music or beer brands you’ll never meet anybody who’s any different than yourself.
And then to whom shall you feel superior?
So take my advice. Meet and befriend people you’ll later come to resent. Know what’ll happen if you don’t? You’ll get comfortable. And one day you’ll realize you’re middle aged, prosperous and utterly content.
And I just can’t be friends with people like that.