Sunday, July 22, 2007

An unapologetically double standard

One night last week, I found myself sitting down to a few beers across the table from this fool that I hadn't seen or heard from in going on ten years. You know, one of those kinds of friends who you were tight with back in the days of your wayward youth, then lost touch with at some point, tried to look up a few times with no luck, and had pretty much given up on ever seeing again until one day they drop a comment into your blog and, surprise, sur-fucking-prise, it turns out you're living in the same goddamn city...which isn't really a huge stretch since it's the city you originally met in, but still.

It was good to catch up though, reminisce on our adventures of old and share what we'd been up to in the decade or so since last we met. And it was cool that we had not only the past to talk about, but also the present and even a bit of the future as well. Nothing more awkward
than meeting up with somebody you were friends with way back when and realizing that you now have nothing more in common than the fact that you're both carbon-based life forms and you speak the same language, and are thus forced to keep the conversation centered entirely around the past, lest ye risk the horror of the uncomfortable silence. Thankfully, we didn't have any of that nonsense.

There were numerous moments of relief throughout the conversation, though. See, this friend and I, let's call him "Chief", for that was his nickname back in the day, though I don't think anyone calls him that anymore, but Chief and I used to run in a crowd with some folks who were, shall we say, risk-takers. And, of course, Chief and I used to partake in the risk-taking plenty ourselves. No need to get into details here, but let's just say that there were some of our friends from those days that I was a little hesitant to ask about for fear that the news would be the tragic kind. It just somehow seemed a certainty, with all the crazy shit we did back then, some of us more than others, that somebody would've taken it a step too far. I don't know what made me so arrogant as to think that out of all of us, it'd be somebody else to slip up and not me, but there it is.

Thankfully though, everybody's still alive and kicking, and from the sound of things, even doing well. Which, as I said, was a huge relief. And you know, it's not that I look back on those days and see them through shades of regret. Quite the opposite. In fact, I'm hard pressed to come up with a single goddamn regret about anything we did back then. I'm thankful and glad for every stupid stunt we ever pulled.

Except, then I think about my son doing all that stuff. Running around his first few years of college with his friends, just doing dumb shit in the name of, well, of doing dumb shit. I think about any of my kids doing the things I did, and I have to admit that it kind of stops me in my tracks. I mean, relatively speaking, our insanity only ranged from the light to medium, only occasionally bleeding over into the heavy, and I wasn't around for a lot of the latter. But still, when I think about it, we took ourselves a few risks, any one of which could have gone the wrong way. And the thought of either of my kids having that kind of fun just makes me kind of shudder.

And yet still, I have no regrets. Funny how that works, eh?


Whit said...

That's because you were the one having the fun, not sitting home worrying.

This dad thing is going to bite us all in the ass.

Dan said...

I thought I recognized you. Your that midget from Jackass yes?

You think it's bad thinking about what you're on is going to do in the future. Just try having a daughter.

Jason said...

A few years ago I met up with an old friend I'd lost contact with. He hadn't changed a bit, I had changed a lot. Not surprisingly, we've lost contact again.

radioactive girl said...

This is the most true thing I have ever read. It is so accurate that while I would not trade any of the experiences that I have had (even the ones that I am lucky to still be alive from) when my kids do the same things, I am going to be terrified! I don't want them not to have the experiences, but for my sake, I hope they are completely safe and also that I don't know half of what they do until they are done. Having kids in general is scary for that exact reason. Life is all about living and having new experiences, but maybe my kids could just learn from other people's experiences?

Dana said...

I have thought about this many times before and I have the same reaction each time. I had a blast, but if I ever find out one of my kids did the things I did, I will beat them to a frazzle.