Now Hiring: Full Time Friend

(Self-Centered Snobs and Flaky Ditzes Need Not Apply)

There’s a scene at the beginning of the classic movie "Charade” where Cary Grant introduces himself to Audrey Hepburn, but she cuts him short, saying "I’m afraid I already know a lot of people.  Until one of them dies I couldn’t possibly meet anyone else.”

Well believe it or not, skinny neck aside, Audrey and I actually have a lot in common.  You see, a while back I lost a friend.  No, she didn’t die (or at least I hope not.)  I just lost her address.  After my last Christmas card to her came back I went looking for her, I really did.  But I struck out on Google and she’s apparently not on Facebook.  So after all these years I guess this is it.  Goodbye, Sylvia.  Or in the words of that old Woody Guthrie song, "So long, it’s been so good to know you.”

What this means, of course, is that with Sylvia’s unfortunate departure a slot has opened up and I now have room for a new friend – only this time, I’m going to be a lot more deliberate in my selection process.  None of this haphazard, willy-nilly, catch-as-catch-can business.  You can end up in some seriously wacky relationships that way, and believe me I ought to know.  In fact, I once had a girl (or shall I say she once had me) who proved it.

I first met Agrippina (not her real name, but it fits) at a preschool roundup when our sons were four years old.  We immediately hit it off, and over the next few weeks we had a blast taking the kids to museums and water parks.  Everything was going great – until the weekend I was invited to a lake house with some of my neighbors.  When I got back I discovered that Agrippina had her nose all out of joint at being left out.  She had a similar reaction when I signed up for a pottery class without asking her to join me.  Soon a pattern developed.  We had tons of fun when we were together, but heaven forbid I should put anything on my social calendar that didn’t include her!  I overlooked it for a while, but the day she suggested I drop my Wednesday Bible study group so we could take fencing together, I’m sorry – that was just creepy.  I finally stopped seeing her altogether.  (So long, Agrippina, it’s been so good without you!)

Next there was Lana.  I don’t even remember how we became acquainted.  All I know is that the moment she found out I’d recently had an article published in a national magazine, she was my new BFF.  Coincidentally (but it turns out, not very) she was trying to break into print media herself, and to her my "friendship” was simply a means of getting a foot in the door – as in "You scratch my back…” – only without the other half of the saying.  By the time we parted company I was ready to smash her foot in the door!

Then came Sherry who constantly badmouthed her husband; and Kayla the ditz who couldn’t remember her own birthday, much less mine; and let’s not forget Lisette who stiffed me for her half of a huge bridal shower we co-hosted!

But don’t get me wrong.  Not all my friends have been weirdoes.  I’ve actually had some terrific ones over the years too.  A few, like Michelle, go all the way back to childhood; others, like Anita, have come into my life more recently.  These girls mean the world to me and I treasure their friendship immensely.  I guess that’s why I’m being so persnickety about choosing someone to join their ranks.

So here’s the deal.  If you’re interested in applying for the position recently vacated by Sylvia – great!  All I ask is that you read the following job description first, to make sure you are qualified:

IMMEDIATE OPENING for experienced, loyal friend.  Sense of humor required.  Degree of common sense preferred.  Candidate should be proficient in laughter, honest sharing and splitting lunch tabs.  Must work well in group settings and be willing to frequently admire photos of grandchildren.  Flexible hours.  Some travel to outlet malls and flea markets involved.  Familiarity with classic movie quotes, 1960’s sitcom theme songs, and Bunko a plus.  No back-biters, sour-pusses, air-heads, or snobs.  Send recent, un-retouched photo and references with resume.

And by the way, Sylvia (wherever you are), don’t even think of applying for this job.  You had your chance and you blew it.

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