How often do we take time to recognize our best friends? I’m not talking about your run of the mill Facebook friend, acquaintance at work or someone at church; I’m talking about someone who knows you and still likes you. Someone who has seen you soar like an eagle then a few hours later watches you get sick because you drank too much. Someone who is brave enough to tell you when one of your ideas really stinks and one that celebrates your successes (as infrequently as they may be). Someone who knows who you’re talking about when you ask “Do you remember that guy who used to date what’s her name, the one with the red hair and funky teeth? Well they had some ugly looking twins.” Your friend will know exactly who you’re talking about. “Fred Anderson” they’ll reply matter of factly. Some would argue that my wife Connie should be my best friend. While that’s a good point (as she knows me better than anyone). Connie is my wife, she’s not a friend…so that disqualifies her from the running (she also sees me naked-so you’d think that alone should get her some serious points…and it does, but you should check my archives and read “Why I needed a good wife” blog for that). Anyway…my point is that best friends are pretty rare.
I’m real blessed to have two best friends. My longest tenured best friend was my best friend back before the whole “BFF” thing was popular, his name is Dave. Dave is like no other. Anyone who has met Dave knows what I’m talking about; a unique individual. I first met Dave back in the fall of 1984, our freshman year in college. We shared similar interests of: cool cars, drinking beer, music, a fascination of women and a weird sense of humor. It’s that weird sense of humor that’s kept our friendship afloat through the years…making us laugh at our career choices, lack of a potential female companion (dude…she was out of your league) and life itself, as the other interests have fallen by the roadside (each found a wife of his own, thank God). Dave has the ability to retain tons of information. Tons. If you want to know about the latest electronics or cars or the last album released by the rock group YES…ask Dave, he’ll know. Sometimes it’s almost spooky how much he knows. Dave and I have had so many shared experiences through the years that a whole day could be taken with the retelling of our exploits…but we’re waiting for a movie deal from Hollywood before we start talking too much. Dave is an excellent family man and is my best friend.
My other best friend is Brad, the newcomer to my inner circle…only gaining this distinction after a rigorous physical fitness test administered by a retired Navy SEALS commander, learning the secret Rich Ripley Best Friend Handshake, and paying the membership dues upfront (its $225, but it gets you two iron on patches, a belt buckle, a vintage 1980’s tee shirt that says “I’m with stupid” and an official club jacket that looks eerily like a Pioneer Seed Corn jacket with the patches ripped off…hence the need for my iron on patches). Brad has only been my best friend for about ten or fifteen years. I didn’t document his transition from the basic “friend” status to the current “best friend” status…but it doesn’t matter. I can call up either Dave or Brad and can start a sentence and they could finish it (it might not make any sense…but they get it close). Like Dave…Brad possesses an odd sense of humor that has endeared himself to me. He does this funny trick that….well…I won’t go into the specifics other than stating that any guy who witnesses him doing it laughs out loud and thinks that it’s hilarious, while any woman seeing Brad attempting that trick would roll her eyes and say a quick prayer for Brad’s wife and two children. It’s a real funny “guy” joke. He calls it “The ol’ 3 point stance”.
Brad has a few redeeming qualities as well. I’ll list two. He’s changed careers several times over the past ten years, each time taking a step up. That’s hard to do, learning new things, being around new people and taking risks so that his family will have a better life. I’ll bet that there’s been more than a few sleepless nights for Brad, but instead of just “settling for what life has given him”, Brad has sucked it up and moved up. Not everyone would do that; folks don’t like change…Brad’s embraced it. His second redeeming quality is that he’s a real nice guy. I know that sounds like an easy enough distinction to fill…but no, it’s not. Brad, too, is an excellent family man and is my best friend.
Both Dave and Brad were conscientious enough to marry women who tolerate me to a great deal, laughing at my jokes and not calling the police when I pull a prank on their husbands. Both have two daughters each who think that I’m only vaguely entertaining, but who wants to waste their “A” material on kids under the age of 11? Not this guy…that’s why I buy them chocolate or offer them a $5 bill if they can jump up and touch the ceiling (kids gotta have goals)
While both Dave and Brad are my best friends they both have a few character flaws. Dave is a huge Minnesota Vikings fan, while Brad is a huge Florida Gators fan. I’ve come to overlook the deficiencies in these two men just as they overlook my unwanted title of me being labeled as “the cute one” of the three of us. All three flawed, but totally equal…they’re my best friends; and I thank God for ‘em.
I hope that you have a best friend, too.