One of the greatest lines in all of Seinfeld was muttered just four episodes into the series’ first season. After having lunch with an annoying old camp friend (the “summer George,” if you recall), Jerry says with a hint of nostalgia that “there are certain people he’ll be friends with forever, whether he likes it or not.”
I’ve always loved that line, not so much because I want to get rid of any friends (accept maybe the cockblockers-----j/k), but because there comes a point when you have been friends with people for so long that you have to actively redefine your friendship with them as you grow older and enviably settle down. And, by and large, I’ve found that if you can make it through a two-course dinner with someone without simply reciting the "where are they now?" section of your alumni directory, you will stay friends forever.
For certain high school friends that bond is politics, for other old flames its memories and, for the friend I like to affectionately refer to as “The Sharpest Tool in the Shed,” it’s that age old hunt for the lower part of the female anatomy. Having spent my entire academic life in “private institutions,” I’d say most of my friends tend to analyze their lives as if they were Shakespearian tragedies, which is probably why I always loved hanging out in the Sharpest Tool in the Shed: I spend hours a day carefully massaging my e-mail inbox (and concert calendar), he doesn’t own a computer. I’ve spent my adult life trying to be a fly on the wall at cultural events (or at least hetty shows), he thinks hockey is a highbrow sport. I have an entire blog devoted to the wonder years of growing up and falling in love (as well as, of course, hetty shows), his life motto is “I should hit that shit.” But, at the end of the day, we actually speak the same language, even though most of his deep thoughts are tied to the word “dude.”
Then, a few years ago, something rather strange happened: he got a girlfriend. And, like so many friends over the years,
Even when I’d come to his house for dinner or drinks, I was quickly classified as one of his “stupid, beer drinking buddies” and immediately castrated by any of his girlfriend’s readily available female friends. I’m sure the irony of the whole situation is worth a blog itself, but let’s just say his thoughts on politics, relationships and life were a more interesting when they boiled down to variations of the word ass.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but in order to keep our otherwise R rated friendship alive, we also kind of subconsciously created “fake, PG mutual interests” like, um, our mutual love of Weezer. But, as much as I hoped "Buddy Holly" could keep our bond alive for another decade, part of me knew our friendship was waning.
But, another summer has arrived, once again The Sharpest Tool in the Shed is single and we can thankfully spend our weekends overanalyzing the finer things in life, like the difference between bum cakes and ButterFaces, coogers and cheetahs. And though I’m sad things didn’t work out with his future MILF, I’m glad to have him at the other end of the bar, boiling my misapplied metaphors down to a series of “dudes" and "D'ohs.”
I just hope we join a soccer league next time one of us changes our Facebook status.