My New Friend

I’ve made a new friend.

Making friends can be difficult, especially if you’re like me and poor at first impressions. In my half-century, I have been initially fooled by bad people who I let into my inner circle, only to later regret it. More often though, I have written off a people because of something odd during our initial encounter, only to become good friends with them as time passed.

In my twenties I met a couple and thought she was perfectly lovely while he was a buffoon. I wondered about their compatibility and it took a long while for me to realize that he was a little awkward, yet a genuine, caring, and hilarious guy. Fortunately, he was patient with me. We became friends, and maintain that friendship today.

I’ve learned this about myself and try to hold off on judgment when I meet someone. But I’m not sure about this new friend. I never thought him my type and honestly have forcefully pushed away his type before.

I’m fairly certain I have enough friends in my life already. That sounds arrogant, but I don’t mean it that way. I realize I’ve been blessed beyond measure with wonderful people in my life and I try not the take that for granted. I could absolutely use more friends and am open to meeting new people. But I’ve reached a point when I’m having trouble keeping up with the ones I’ve collected. There’s not enough time to sit down with all my friends for a cup of coffee which leads to serious guilt when you get that text from one that says, “It’s been too long…”

Which of you could honestly say that you would recognize every one of your Facebook friends if they marched past you on the street?

You almost have to rank your friends, don’t you? There are social media friends, work friends, text-only friends, friends you actually talk to on the phone, and friends who don’t even have your phone number. There are once a week friends, once a month friends, and I don’t really want to see you in person but I don’t dislike you friends. And those rankings are just for surface things.

The real rankings involve intimacy. Who do you tell things to? The real friends are the ones you call on their birthday instead of posting well-wishes on their wall. The highest-ranking friends are those who you trust with secrets, who know your business, and show up on the ICE list on your phone.

My new friend is a daily friend, but I don’t want him to be. He’s pushy and confrontational because every time I see him, he reminds me of my age. And he’s bringing more friends to the party – I meet his cohort next week.pillbox

This is my friend, Pillbox. After a recent heart scan, my age and heredity are catching up with me. Nothing dire, but some cholesterol to mind.

The first day on my new pill regimen, for the life of me I couldn’t remember if I’d taken them. THE FIRST DAY! I got seriously flustered and although I swore I would never have a pill organizer, I bought it on day two.

And now he’s my friend. Next week I will meet his plus-1 – my new cardiologist. As nice as he might be, I truly hope he is only a once a year or less friend.



In all seriousness, I’m not arrogant enough to actually rank friends. I appreciate every one very much. Thank you for being my friend and if I didn’t return your text, it doesn’t mean that you’ve slipped. I’m just old and have a heart condition

Licking the Pavement

A few weeks ago, I watched my brother-in-law’s dogs while they spent a week at the beach. They’ve got two dogs: Maggie and Loopy (*name changed to protect the crazy). Maggie is a middle-aged chocolate lab. If you’ve ever owned a lab, you know that middle-aged can still mean terrible twos. Labs often live a decade as a puppy then become senior citizens overnight. I guess that’s what makes them so lovable.

Maggie is the exception. She has always been calm and sweet. She’s just laid back by nature. They found out recently that she is diabetic and I had to give her a shot of insulin in the mornings. This proved rather tricky – only because I didn’t listen very well when instructions were given.

This is a recurring theme in my life. I like to think of it as a cute little quirk, but it is often frustrating when I am left to do a task with no remembrance of how to do it… and from the inside looking out, I imagine this “quirk” is mind-numbingly bothersome to my family. When I take time to consider this, I often think I should change my ways and do better. But then I forget what I was thinking and move on to more fruitful imaginings. After all, we deserve a few eccentricities when we pass 50.

Back to the dogs…

Maggie and I weren’t working well together. For the first few mornings, she wasn’t very thrilled to see me coming with the shot and even though she is mellow, she does weigh 100 pounds and is tall enough that her bucks can reach sensitive areas. But then I discovered wet dog food. Wet dog food smells like a moldy, damp cellar after a possum has crawled in and died on a hot day. But to a dog, it must be like a chocolate éclair. She woofed it down and didn’t even notice the prick of the needle on her neck. Perfect. And this became our routine (and was evidently the instructions provided had I listened.)

But where is Loopy?

When set free in the morning, Loopy bolted straight to a puddle left by rain run-off from the car. I found her licking the pavement. In a panic, I checked to see if I had neglected to leave the water. Nope, three full bowls of nice, clean h2o – and yet that dog preferred to lick the pavement. Every morning it was the same thing. I tried coaxing her with bottled water, treats, and a ball to play with. No dice, she ran straight for the puddle. With plenty of better options, she only wanted to lick dirty water from the pavement.


One day during the week, my lovely wife had a birthday. Although you wouldn’t believe it to see her, she has joined me in the half-a-century club. We took her to a fun, loud, Italian dinner. A few tables away, there was a family of four who quietly interacted with their phones during the whole meal. I kept stealing glances and at some point, it dawned on me… they’re licking the pavement. With better options all around, they are glued to little electronic devices.

I could moralize more, but I’m as guilty as the next guy. Whether it is Instagram, football, our careers, or any myriad of other distractions, we get stuck wasting time on temporal things instead of investing in things that matter – our family, friends, and other human relationships. We lick the pavement.  Some things are unavoidable. We have to work and get things done. But be honest, we’ve all got the rocky, pebbly taste of wasted time on our tongues and time is a finite resource. What’s the answer?

As much as possible, let’s stop licking the pavement lick the important people in our lives instead!

Wait… that doesn’t sound right at all.