Sunday, May 8, 2022

Old Friends

 I performed the role of sitting duck yesterday. It was glorious.

Twelve gathered to celebrate two of us (with an asterisk for a third) having successfully navigated through to our 70th birthday. Clean Covid tested and ready to eat.

Collectively, I have known the other five couples more than a quarter of a millennium. There were no skeletons hiding in these closets, every blemish having been fully exposed over the decades. It is a perversely comforting feeling to know you are figuratively naked, that every foible, each eccentricity has long since been given its public airing. That who and what you are is an open topic for examination and ridicule. That an arrow through the ego is pointed directly at you. And it will most definitely not miss.

And so my blogging became the target de jour. Poked and prodded like I was at a urologist's convention, my long time love affair with advising the world of my every thought, no matter how small or cumbersome, my scarlet letter. My chapter and versing the latest, greatest edition of how a grandfather swells with pride, the bullseye in this game of pin the tale on a jackass.

Lest you have concern, I was far from the only recipient of a psychological beating. We meet in anticipation of extracting every shortcoming of all the participants from their resting place, of making each person the subject of fully deserved critique, not so camouflaged behind a wall of laughter. But, as we were here for the express purpose of celebrating my mother and my friend's mom having gone through the discomfort of birthing us so many years before, this was our particular moment in the sun.

And as my friend was suffering some slings and arrows of tough fortune, and did not need nor deserve piling on, it was left to me to put most of the weight of the attack on my not very broad shoulders, one of which was still, thank you very much, recovering from the surgeon's embrace.

It was a delicious afternoon. The presents, including Twinkies, flowing like wine. The joy cascading like an endless waterfall. There is nothing better than being surrounded by the oldest of friends, secure in the knowledge that faking it will not do, to free one from the hesitations of polite society.

How else to explain one of the assembled proudly announcing he was removing his false teeth or another showing endless video of his less than sterling golf swing being broken down by an instructor who must have been seriously contemplating another line of work.

As we parted, we spoke of the possibility of gathering again at 80, and of what it would look and sound like if we did. It was not a pretty picture. But in my eyes, and those of the others, no matter how ugly it might look to the rest of the universe, that would indeed be our collective masterpiece. 


galngotham said...

Nothing like a gathering of good, longtime friends. What a fitting tribute!

Anonymous said...

How wonderful to have your special friends together to celebrate your milestone


Anonymous said...

Very touching

Alex said...

Nothing quite like old friends.

Anonymous said...

I loved “Old Friends”
There’s really nothing like that besides family. We are very lucky to have both.
Please keep them coming !!!