What exactly is a “best friend,” anyway? That’s a term we hear often.
One criteria I apply to someone I consider a best friend — and there have been a few of them — is that neither of us has killed the other, in spite of all the provocations, and we still hang out together.
Some of us once teamed up to chase girls, but not any more. If we had caught anywhere near the number of girls we chased, we’d have been sorry individuals indeed — and we were sorry enough as it was.
One man who has been a best friend for decades is now happily married, and he has learned to drink Scotch. Neither of those things can be said about me.
I dated a girl for a while, and then she took me to The Landfill of Love. After a discreet amount of time passed, one of my buddies took up with her. Didn’t bother me any, because another of our friends had dated her before I did — and a fourth guy went out with her after she dumped No. 3.
We have collectively come to decide that just as we passed them around, they also passed us around.
Another term that’s in common usage is “The Kiss Of Death,” but what is it?
I came to realize that every time I heard one particular friend say, “Hey, Jimmy? I think that girl really likes you,” that was The Kiss Of Death.
Here’s how it worked:
Our wolfpack used to make the circuit of dance halls, one of which was the old Knights of Columbus home on Christie Road.
Two girls were sitting by themselves at a table, and my “Hey, Jimmy?” best friend and I asked them to dance. I got to their table first and asked the one who was cuter. She was really cute, too.
Both of them agreed. After the song was over, they remained on the floor and began to talk to us. (We saw this as what frequently is referred to as “A Glimmer Of Hope.”)
The girls were sisters and invited the two of us to visit them at their home on such-and-such an evening. We said we could do that.
At the appointed time, my buddy picked me up in his car, and we set off to meet our fate.
He said, “Hey, Jimmy? I think that girl really likes you.”
That’s when things started not to go smoothly.
We had the address, but after making several orbits of what we thought was the right street, we were unable to find a house with a number that matched.
Turns out we were on one of those screwy Cumberland streets that comes to what you think is a dead end, only it isn’t. You have to go around a zigzag that takes you across another street with a different name in order to find the rest of it. This has happened to me at least three times.
Upon arriving, we found a party in full swing. Being young, dumb and befuddled, we asked what was going on.
My buddy’s potential target of opportunity pointed to her sister — my potential target of opportunity (the really cute one) — and said, “Her old boyfriend called her today from Florida and asked her to marry him, and she said ‘Yes.’ We’re having a party to celebrate!”
It was at this point that my best friend reached under the seat of his car, pulled out a brown paper bag and held it up, telling the girls:
“But we brought these two bottles of wine!”
I did the only reasonable thing I could have done under the circumstances.
I swatted him across his right shoulder with the back of my left hand and hollered, “Whattinthehell’s the matter with you? Let’s get outta here!”
Froggie went a-courtin’, and he did ride ... as fast as he could away from that place. We went to The Famous North End Tavern and wound up having a better time than we probably would have otherwise.
One of my best friends asked if I would help him coach a Rec League baseball team. I told him I hadn’t played baseball since ninth grade — but neither had he.
Slow-pitch softball, yes, but not baseball, and there is a world of difference. In baseball you have to run farther to get from one base to another, and the ball comes at you faster and is smaller and harder to hit. Softball is far more user-friendly for older guys who smoke, drink, eat too much and have bad knees.
We actually did OK. It was fun, and every now and then we meet some of the other Rec League coaches from that era for lunch. It’s almost like a class reunion.
My buddy and I were mid-twenty-somethings coaching high school kids, a couple of whom were pretty good ballplayers who realized we needed some help and provided it as discreetly as possible.
One was a heck of a nice young fellow who was a bit on the shy side. He showed up for a game displaying a crop of what appeared to be ... let’s see ... I know what we used to call them.
Scattered around his neck and the nape of his neck was evidence of a ... a close encounter: spectacular red, orange and purple examples of collateral damage inflicted with what must have been great enthusiasm by someone other than himself.
“Boy,” I said to him, “you got any idea how lucky you are? Any closer, and one’a them bullets would’a taken your head clean off!” He turned as red as our team ballcaps.
My coach-buddy and the other players took up where I left off and rode his (beast of burden) unmercifully — a mass demonstration of envy, more than anything else.
A few days later, we played our next game. After it was over, and all of our players had left, my coach-buddy asked me:
“How come you got your shirt collar buttoned all the way up, and you never did that before?”
“Probably for the same reason,” I replied, “that you’ve got yours buttoned all the way up.”
Apparently, none of our players had noticed anything was out of the ordinary with us. Or maybe they did notice, but didn’t say anything. Young people back then seemed to have more respect for their elders than they do today.
Goldy’s Rule 128: Your best friends are those who give you reasons to smile and laugh that will remain with you for the rest of your days.
What exactly is a “best friend,” anyway? That’s a term we hear often.
There are an estimated 47,000 deceased veterans whose remains are unidentified and unclaimed throughout the U.S. A group of senators and congressmen hope to do something to
bring these men and women some dignity after death.
For the world’s more than 2 billion Christians, Easter is the day that defines their faith.
The exact date of Christ’s resurrection is unknown, and even the precise locations of his crucifixion and burial are uncertain. This hasn’t stopped some people from saying they know the answer to these questions and others from trying to find out for themselves, or simply arguing about it.
Odds are good that you didn’t know this
Odds or Probabilities fascinate many people. There is a special website called www.BookOfOdds.com and an accompanying location on Facebook at /BookofOdds .This website lists 400,000 odds. Three of the people who are involved in this media display have coauthored a book, “The Book of Odds” that presents some of key odds, drawing from polls and statistics published in journals. The authors are A. Shapiro, L.F. Campbell and R. Wright. This paperback was published this year by Harper Collins with ISBN 978-0-06-206085-3.
Trivial questions you don’t have to answer
Every so often in this life, my mind, all on its own, generates questions that have no real answers. So I have decided to pass them on to you. I’m tired of them. If you come up with any answers, let me know. Remember when TV jealously guarded the time zone before 9 p.m. for wholesome shows that children could watch. My gosh, how many years ago was that? It seems like another world nowadays, when you can see murders, torture and rape, or those implied, every hour on the hour, somewhere on your public screen. It might be comforting then, to remember that most children nowadays are glued to their little machines with whole different worlds on them, that they can access all day long. Except that in these different worlds they also can view murders, torture and rape on demand.
Think it’s not a small world? You’re wrong
Yes, you read that right in the paper a couple of weeks ago. I covered a wedding as a newspaper reporter. I’ve retired from doing regular stories because my primary duties lie elsewhere, and I don’t have the time or mental energy for it. But I agreed to do it for a couple of reasons, one of which goes back more than 40 years. The former proprietor of The Famous North End Tavern told me about a wedding that was to take place at the Lions Center for Rehabilitation and Extended Care, where his wife works.
No Bambi for you, Mrs. Doe
Some people want so badly for deer birth control to work that they actually think it will, even on wild populations.
I wish I had a couple bridges to sell.
A week ago on the Outdoors page we ran the deer there do what deer everywhere do. They eat the easiest food available such as gardens and ornamental plantings. They walk in front of moving cars. They give ticks and parasites a place to live.
We’re certain that Donald Rumsfeld, who served as Secretary of Defense under Presidents Gerald Ford and George W. Bush, echoes what many Americans feel about the complexity of filing income tax returns.
When he filed his return, Rumsfeld sent the following letter to the Internal Revenue Service:
Public libraries remain one of the best uses of taxpayer dollars. They are open to all. Young or old, poor or wealthy, residents can use computers and read current magazines and newspapers. Compact discs featuring a wide variety of music and
movies on DVD may be checked out in addition to novels and other books.
Terps need to move and move quickly
The good news is Maryland will never have to play another basketball game in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Goodbye, good riddance, sayonara, smell ya, no more of you, stay classy, we won’t let the door hit us on the way out.
Until we see you in court.
Legislation that increases hunting oppportunities on Sundays in Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties has passed the Maryland General Assembly and reached the governor’s desk.
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