If you are perusing the internet and looking for entertainment, I have bad news for you: My name is Tearle and this is my blog.This is currently day 25 since I started jotting down my little bits of fluff for others to read and ,if not enjoy, at least suppress their gag reflexes long enough to make it through. And I feel the need to take a moment to thank the person who got me started down this recent path of literary self discovery. I would like to call him by name but unfortunately I don’t remember it. Let’s just call him Crappy Washington Tour Guide #1. It’s hard to believe that if only he had been better at his job that I would only be sharing my snarky little comments with the other people in the DrunkTank. As it is, I have started a journey to make the world wiser, if not necessarily happier.
The funny thing is that the more time I spend writing this stuff, the more aware I become of the nuts and bolts of assembling a piece of prose. I am sure there is some grand literary term for this whole writing process but, you see, I went to public school and we never were much for “book learnin”. We will just call it a process and no matter whether a writer is scribbling a recipe for rice( rinse the grains before cooking to keep it from getting sticky) or writing a smart alecky facebook comment( i love the picture of u in a coconut bra in the meat department at Wal-mart) it is important that you accurately relate to your audience.
When am doing my basic, generic, Kardasian/Cartoons/ star wars referring posts, for the fine people who had the misfortune to accept my friend requests, making that connection with the readers is fairly simple. However, every once in a while I have one of those days when I feel the need to get a little deeper with my writing and get beyond my usual collection of pop cultural references and double entendre sex jokes. Last night, the topic that kept coming up no matter how hard I tried to bury it was that of friendships.
First, let’s start with some definitions and guidelines. The term” friends” has a lot of variations, versions, and manifestations. A friend is someone you see every day or it may be someone you may only see once a decade. However, a bit of warning, we are not referring to “facebook friends”. People who you have no real connection to and who’s only appearance in your life is as a result of them sending you computer representations of a purple goat in some halfass video game is not the type of friend that we are talking about.
What’s in a name? It is amusing that friendships exist under so many classifications and has a plethora of monikers. You may refer to them by nickname( Fritz or Slappy), by generic tag( Buddy or Chum), by work title( Chef or Officer) or even by the familial designation( Momma or Brother or Wife). But no matter how you might address that other person, it is the nature of that emotional relationship between two people who really defines friendship.
Now, this is where the difficulty begins to arise. How do identify and try to explain the nature of a relationship which exists devoid of any physical characteristics? Friendships don’t show up on x-ray nor on an MRI. So how do we explain the nature of what being a friend really means? I have found that analogies and allegorical representations are the easiest way to explain that which is difficult to comprehend. God knows I love analogies. If it weren’t for analogies I would never had broken 600 on my SAT. The question now appears as to which analogy is the best way to relate these concepts that are so difficult to explain. However, I believe that the analogies that are most often used make for extremely poor descriptions for what a friendship means to me.
I know that some people love to refer to their pals as members of their tribe. But that comparison is highly problematic. First of all, throughout Native American history, there were examples of individuals that left the safety of the tribal villages and yet continued to live safe and productive lives. The way I view friendships, there are considerable dangers and risks involved in living outside the boundaries of these relationships. Secondly, no matter what he may have done to Custer at Little Bighorn, I promise you that when Crazy Horse returned to his village there was at least someone there that thought he was a douche bag.
Then, there are some who like to think of it in terms of a scout troop but I maintain my personal disdain for any comparison that involves the wearing of neckerchiefs.
Some like to speak of their “team” of friends. Everybody knows that people love a damn sports analogy. However, when one of my pals steps out of line, I don’t make them run wind sprints nor do a copious amount of push ups , so this doesn’t work either.
As I start to go through a laundry list of possible ways to relate this concept of friendship, or at least friendship as I define it, I start to feel as though I am drowning in a sea of horrible metaphors and bad comparisons. Friends are an army? NO! They are a herd of cattle?NO! They are a gaggle of goaltenders?NO! They are a break room of muffler salesman? NO! The drowning seems to continue.
It is at this point that the path of trying to define the unexplained starts to intersect with the process of taking the thoughts and visions of concepts within your brain that you are trying to make manifest by writing. This idea of the writing process seems to be taking me somewhere. The ancient Greeks referred to this as ” furor poeticus” . This literally translates to “poetic madness”. It means a place that has nothing to do with a writer’s skill or talent but rather the Muses’ possession of his pen so that he may express a notion that he could not normally have the ability to relay. “Nothing to do with skill or talent”? Hey, that’s me. I cannot explain it, but this seems to be happening to me. The idea of “drowning” keeps popping into my head. No matter how I try to weigh this concept down with cheap draft beer, it keeps rising to the top. Drowning. Drowning. Drowning. This can’t be a coincidence. I am starting to see how it all fits.
This analogy may seem a bit hokey and forced but I think there is more truth to it than any other comparison I have come across. If you don’t like it, then blame the Greeks.
I was born at sea and so were you. We are passengers on a great ship. Even the Disney corporation acknowledges this concept of us being passengers on what they call spaceship earth. I like the idea of us all traveling on one huge vessel but I prefer a more terrestrial vehicle than that of a spacecraft and who doesn’t like going on a cruise?
So we are all passengers on this mighty ship. It is inevitable that at some point that this ship faces a catastrophic disaster and is sinking fast. We suddenly ourselves in a hostile ocean. Some people immediately drown because their families never taught them how to stay afloat, even for a little while. Some think they are expert swimmers and head out with alone and soon disappear out of sight. Others are quickly devoured by the sharks of addiction and hate. Even those of use who know how to tread water at some point will start to tire and ever so slowly find it harder and harder to stay afloat. As we start to slide into the inky blackness, with our nose barely breaking the waterline, we see an object. It is a lifeboat. No one can force their way onto a lifeboat. Someone has to lift you from the water and welcome you aboard. Is the boat you entered just a random coincidence, or were these people dispatched by someone or something greater in order to save you? Yes our friends may be the coincidence of geography and demography but there has to be reason why these are the people who have entered our life.
You are now in this boat with a group of people who chose to save you. However, there is no privacy on this craft as there is no secrecy among your friends. They see you as you really are and accept you regardless. Other boats may pass and their inhabitants may reject you due to your background or your politics but those on you boat support you and shield you when the icy winds howl. Sometimes, one of you passengers may fall overboard and be lost at sea but their place on board is never filled. At some point another boat will pass that bids you to sail with them. Sometimes you will see a person alone in a boat that is heavily damaged and taking on water. Do not shout encouragements from your boat to theirs for these are just empty gestures. No, you must enter the endangered craft and help that person bail themselves out of their crisis. This may mean you have to leave those that plucked you from the sea but you never forget them for they are the ones that taught you how to bail.
Sometimes a boat can go no farther so you have to find another boat to carry you to safety. If you are lucky you will find one as warm as that original one. The people on board welcome you in and call you “Brother”. They share their food and wine with you and ask nothing in return.And you sail on.
Then one sunny day, you see familiar faces calling to you from another boat. It is your original vessel. The years may have passed but they recognize you and you know them. They bid you to return and sail with them. What do you do? Do you abandon these new friends who have treated you like family? Do you turn your back on those that pulled you from the drink so many years ago? Do you let the feeling of indecision rob you of your balance so that you fall back into the sea and are lost forever?
I know what I shall do. I shall lash these two boats to each other and Together we shall make our way home.