July 13, 2022
Friends, Romans and Countrymen …
Today’s comments have nothing to do with “lending ears” or “Romans”.
I was going to title this one Friends, Acquaintances and Just Someone I Know but a classic phrase will draw more eyes. Apparently THAT is what matters these days!
WARNING: This is NOT a BobLee “political screed”. It might appear to be, but it’s not. Trust me , I know how to write a political screed if that was my intent. It is not.
“America” is firmly locked into a vicious no-holds-barred WAR for its future. It has been waging for 15-20+ years if not longer. If you are still waiting until someone fires a cannon at Ft Sumter, you may also think what is going on 24/7 all around you is “just politics as usual”. Wrong…
My definition of “politics” is yard signs, bumper stickers, and pontificating blowhards kissing babies at BBQ fundraisers. In 2022, if you post a Vote For sign in your yard or put a bumper sticker of your car you are risking serious damage to your property at least by one of the warring factions. The pontificating blowhards ARE still around, of course, wanting your $$$$ and willing to make false promises to get it.
What’s happening every day now all across America is NOT your Daddy’s or your Granddaddy’s “politics”.
This WAR for America’s Future is a socio-cultural war. Wars are usually fought over land, natural resources, or simply one group of people wanting domination over another group of people. That last one might come close to why this one.
That War back in the 1860s is often described as “Brother Against Brother” as it literally divided families over the various “whys” involved.
This one is certainly doing that, although thankfully not in our family … and is certainly affecting “relationships”.
If you say “it isn’t affecting any of my relationships” … you are either a hermit living in a cave with a pet bat; or you simply consider yourself a quite incredible human being. I’ve known several in that last category.
NOTE: Did you know that … in the early days of Internet “chat rooms” THE #1 Topic was The Real Causes of The Civil War. No agreement was ever reached and, of course, no one’s opinion was changed one iota.
Contrary to popular opinion, the #2 Topic was NOT “Who was Carly Simon referring to with ‘You’re so vain’? Carly insists it was NOT James Taylor.
That was a wordy preface to today’s topic. One that I have ruminated over for more than a few years. The War for America’s Future has no end in sight. Neither November 2022 or Nov 2024 will end this war. But those are certainly critical battles to be fought.
How to distinguish between “a Friend” … “an Acquaintance” or “Just Someone I know”.
My definition of “a Friend” is someone with whom I have shared a series of experiences, mostly pleasant ones … someone with whom I share basic life values … someone whose company I enjoy and look forward to being with … someone who I believe also considers me as his/her “Friend”. … “Would give me a kidney” is NOT a qualifier.
I am happy to say I have NOT lost any “Friends” – by that strict definition – in the tumult and strife that is “America 2022”.
Using NFL vernacular, I have designated four as “Franchise Friends” that I simply refuse to part with. Our conversational topics are limited. DUH! Shared experiences from at least 20 years ago are about it.
My definition of an Acquaintance is much broader. An “Acquaintance” is someone I have encountered along Life’s meandering path. Someone that I recall fondly albeit superficially. Maybe we shared a home town … a school … a workplace … a neighborhood … a church congregation … a community activity … etc. To the superficial level I “know” them I “like” them. If I don’t then they move into “just someone I know”.
My high school class had 200 or so members. Of those I would count 50-75 as “acquaintances” on various levels … and 20 or so as “friends” who have survived the test of time. Again … not “kidney donors”.
Being “an acquaintance” rather than “a friend” is not a failing on either of our parts. Simply a result of consequences of our inter-acting or lack of.
ALL OF YOU who follow my musings here for some / most of the past 20+ years are counted among “high value acquainti”. The odd detached relationship we enjoy here has its advantages and disadvantages. I’m sure many of you have legitimate “Friend” potential if circumstances permitted. Likewise a deeper relationship might not be “a good thing”. It is what It is … and I appreciate what it is. I hope you do too.
FWIW … Other than a sizable number of misguided souls who strongly disagree with my opinions on “politics” (THAT word !) or “sports” or “favorite Bond Girl” I am not aware of any avowed “enemies” I have accumulated over my Baby Boomer existence. I could be naive in that regard.
I HAVE lost a few “acquaintances” in recent years. Being around them became unpleasant to various degrees. At least for me. I can’t speak for them. My time is better spent not in their presence. Fortunately, I have enough acquaintances that the ones I have deleted have not left a void in my life.
I am at the point in my life where I have full control of my discretionary time. Pretty much all of my days are spent “at my discretion”. You may not enjoy that luxury.
Someone I’ve known is a large category as you might guess for 50-60 years of human interaction. Schoolmates, neighbors, coworkers, service providers of all sorts. If asked … my definition of such would be:
“Do you know ______?” I would say “Yes, I know who they are.” … Can you tell me about them, would you recommend them for ________?” No, I really can’t. I don’t know them that well.”
Individual opinions within that category are irrelevant to me. If their opinions some how pose a threat to me or to my family or to my “friends” then they might become relevant. “Just Someone I know” can morph into “acquaintances” over time.
Has any of this helped you in these Troubling Times? You probably have your own methods of handling all this crap.
Notice I did not stray into hot-button issues? If you’ve read 3 or more of my 2500+ commentaries you might have an idea where I come down on the Big Deals. I might surprise you on a few.
** And Another Thing **
It’s For Sure! … 2,126 fans have now posted on 42 different Internet forums that 133 “very reliable sources inside UNC Athletics” are saying 51 different scenarios of what’s gonna happen … For Sure!