Thursday, November 17, 2005

Just a Perfect Blendship pt.2 : B.F.F.

Welcome back for round two of my ruminations on friendship; again, I’m kind of letting my rambling side take the wheel here, so I’m never sure what I’m going to wind up with; there’s no telling what weirdness is slumbering beneath the surface of my mind. For this installment, I’ll be pondering what exactly it is that compels me to label someone as My Best Friend.

Growing up an only child with an Outsider complex, I think the concept of the Best Friend has always held a fascination for me; it was almost like if I could find that one person with whom I really clicked, then it didn’t matter if nobody else gave a tinker’s dam about me. That was the unconscious theory, anyway. So, I was always on the lookout for that best of the best, without ever truly thinking through what the term Best Friend really meant to me; I was operating on the theory that I’d know it when I saw it, and so left it up to my subconscious analysis to let me know when it popped up.

Now, in the course of my life my internal assessment processes have saddled exactly three people with the onerous titles of My Best Friends: Ol' Vick, Flunky, and Dr. G'ovich; out of those three, only one still holds the title (the poor fellow; the other two were lucky enough to escape). My friendship with Ol' Vick was a pretty shallow one, of course, and he basically claimed the title of Best Friend because, well, he pretty much held the title of Only Friend at the time, too; he won it by default. While I've traced the ups and downs of my friendships with Flunky and G'ovich ad nauseum, let me sum it up thusly; they were both granted Best Friend status in my head because they were the first two people I ever felt comfortable lowering my guard around; after I took a few too many psychic sucker punches from the Doc during my Dark Years, up went the guard again, and, eventually, off came the title; it’s hard to think of someone as your Best Friend if you can’t carry on a normal conversation with them.

Does that sound harsh? I don’t mean it to, but I suspect it does; yet another piece of evidence the Doc can use to show that he’s the villain of CoIM. And really, aren’t some of the best hero/villain rivalries born from the falling out of Best Friends? Not that the Doc and I had a falling out so much as a falling away; now that that weird awkward phase is mostly in the past, not sure where in the friendship hierarchy he falls now: might have to invent a new category for Eeeeeeeeevil Friend; but I digress.

I had raised my guard around Flunky as well during my Dark and Bitter Years, but that last year rooming together helped me lower it again, and firmly entrenched him in my mind as my one and only Best Friend, even through those large periods of time when we don't communicate at all. Which, I suppose, kind of begs the question: why? Don't get me wrong; I'm not taking a crack at Flunky here; he's a great guy who has put up with a lot of my crap over the years, which has earned him a permanent position as Honorary Best Friend and The Brother I Never Had until the day I make one “Flunky won’t email” jab too many and he snaps, hops in his car, drives to Denton, hunts me down, and beats me to a bloody pulp with a baseball bat while screaming “You want me to reply, do ya? Well, how’s this for a reply, ya Jackass?!?!”: I might have to downgrade his friend status just a tad after that . . . once I finally come out of my coma.

Anyway, my question isn't "Why do I think of Flunky as my Best Friend" as much as "Why don't I think of so-and-so as my Best Friend as well?" Why don't I think of J.D. or Papa Lightbulb or Insert-name-here as my Best Friend? What is there that relegates them to the status of "good friend" or "close friend" or "old friend" or what-have-you? Let's look at another example a little more closely: Wrath teh Berzerkr.

Now, technically speaking, I've probably been friends with Wrath longer than anyone else out of the three groups, with the exception of Coronela; got to know her during the weekend before classes started, got to know him a week or so later. Over time we became pretty good friends; over the years I think I've had more serious, in-depth (and occasionally downright bizarre) conversations with Wrath than with anyone else; conversations about religion, politics, sociology, etc.; where my conversations with G'ovich and Flunky forced me to clarify my views about myself, my conversations with Wrath forced me to clarify my views about the world. I was definitely on better terms with him during the Dark Years in the house than I was with either of my Best Friends at the time, never having any problems past those which will always crop up when guys share a living space for extended periods of time; heck, he's the only friend whose wedding I’ve ever been in. So, why is it that he rests firmly in my mind as a Good Friend, rather than a Best Friend?

Think the answer to that is really self-evident: in the last installment, I defined the Best Friend in general terms as a Good Friend you don’t feel the need to censor yourself around; and, while I was willing to talk to Wrath about my views on almost any topic under the sun, the one thing that I never addressed was my neurotic nature; as much as we clicked on certain levels, to be perfectly frank I used to feel pretty intimidated by Wrath; it's kind of hard to let down your guard around someone who intimidates you.

And that bit of insight leads us to the larger answer of the Best Friend mystery; it’s all about vulnerability. Ol’ Vick aside, my Best Friend fixation was formed around feeling like I had found people I could open up to; after that backfired on me, and my mind went through its period of degradation and despair, that idea of the Best Friend was seriously injured; even when I was willing to open up to others, there was generally a little part of myself that I held back, fearful of being hurt again. Flunky’s kind of grandfathered in to the whole Best Friend thing; not sure what circumstances could arise to get me to label some other poor sucker with that tag.

You see, back in the Parker days, the act of lowering my defenses pretty much consisted of being forthright about my role as Cap’n Neurotic; over the years I’ve become more comfortable sharing the neurotic side of myself with others, and as it became more and more common, the instant connection between myself and those I told weakened; the more people who know, the more diluted the effect. And now, here I am, doing the Internet version of Queen Inos screaming the magic words to the teeming masses waiting below her balcony, spreading the power of my neurotic words so thin that I feel no major connection with my audience, only a lessening of the pressures that threatened to consume me; and if you don’t understand that reference, that’s okay; I ‘m pretty sure My Best Friend does.


Poohbear said...

So all of this best friend talk got me reminiscing....Here's what I'm getting you all for Christmas!

I'm internet deficient, so here is the link.

Rocket said...

Because I am ever so helpful, here's a friendly clickable link. Pooh's Gift Link

Cap'n Neurotic said...

*in best Napoleon voice* Sweet!

Cap'n Neurotic said...

It was a valiant effort, Rocket, but apparently Blogger has something against hyperlinking text in the comment field *shrug*

CAP'N Disaster said...

Oh those old best friend necklaces. Or, you be like Joey and Chandler and have the gaudy gold best friend bracelets inscribed with something sentimental and sappy. That would be so cute!

CAP'N Disaster said...


CAP'N Disaster said...

Joey and Chandler wer "bracelet buddies" and inscribed on the bracelets was "To my best bud"

Flunky lover said...

I'm proud to say that I understand the reference. Flunky and I were just talking about those books yesterday.