Friendless and 35 — Punch In The FaceMarch 3, 2009
I just got tickets to the big game. You know — the game where everyone who’s anyone will be this weekend. It’s gonna be huge, and I’ll be right in the mix. And I don’t just have one ticket. Me gots four of ’em. That’s right. Let the positioning begin, fellas. Will it be my pals from my Thursday poker night? Or maybe the guys from the Monday night flag football league. I can’t forget my Saturday morning running club buddies — they love going to the big game. There’s only a few problems: I can’t play cards (can’t even shuffle cards), I’m pretty sure a flag football league would be the 7th layer of H-E-double hockey sticks for me, and the running club doesn’t exist. Check that — the running club exists, and I always picture myself jet-setting around the country with a bunch of others runners kicking A-double $ in Masters’ competitions, but my bed’s too cozy to get out of bed to join them. So what I’m saying is . . .
It’s a fact, and I say it without any self-pity. Okay, maybe an ounce of self-pity. But I honestly don’t take my friendless-ness personally. Maybe I should take it personally, but I’m convinced that whether or not a Gen-X’er has friends comes down to a 4-factor test based on the following: 1) age; 2) marital status; 3) familial status; and 4) employment status. Let me walk you through these factors to illustrate my point.
If you’re 35, you’re certainly not too old to meet new friends. But definitely in a “friend valley” age-wise. I’ve got none of the friends I had at 25 (okay — 2, but we’ll keep it at “none” for dramatic effect) and I won’t have my 50 year-old friends for several years. I wish I could say the loss of my friends from 10 years ago was due to dramatic circumstances that ended in knock out, drag out arguments in the middle of a barren city street at 3:00 a.m. But I can’t. I pretty much lost all of my old friends because I don’t go to Dave Matthews Band concerts and I don’t know what a Fantasy Football League is or how it works. Actually, I know what Fantasy Football is, and I play it all the time in my mind: I imagine I’m running punts back against a defense of swimsuit models who are trying to tackle me with big pillows. So, there you go — Fantasy Football. What I don’t understand is: how do they form leagues around these football fantasies? Would I have to join a “team” of weirdo’s who share the same football fantasy as me? Maybe this is why I don’t have any friends . . . As for my 50 year-old friends, I just haven’t met them yet. I’m looking forward to it, but I got about 10 years before I lower my friend standard to the point where I’ll call someone my friend because we meet for a round of golf every Saturday.
Fellas, I’ll make this one short and sweet: if you’re married, you may have a couple of “married friends”, but no real friends to speak of. All you have is your wife’s friends. And their husbands. That’s it.
This’ll be even shorter. If you have kids, you don’t have friends — you just have other tired parents at 3 year-old birthday parties at the petting zoo. That is if — if — you even have enough energy to nod at these other people while your feeding apples to the llamas.
Got a job? You don’t have friends. You have the “Krazy Krew” from work that teases you about the fact that you like to order the same thing from the Chinese take-out place each week. And they try to convince you to call the local morning show to request some Bon Jovi each Friday — a lil’ Bad Medicine before the weekend.
So, there you have it. A simple equation: 35 + Married + Kids + a job = me and three empty seats at this weekend’s game. If you see me at the big game, feel free to mock me. Heck, beat me up in the parking lot. There’s nothing I can do about it. My posse of friends left 10 years ago. I don’t really know my wife’s friend’s husbands. The petting zoo parents are napping. And the Krazy Krew at work doesn’t really exist — I work at home, and the Krazy Krew is entirely comprised of the cat. And my Curious George doll. Now that I think about it . . . I’ll get ready for the beating now. Feel free to Punch Me In the Face. It’ll be poetic justice.