PLEASE NOTE! This is supposed to be a HUMOROUS post. However, it appears I've done a poor job of communicating that! So if you should happen to arrive at something other than humor between myself and the friend I am writing about, please let me assure you that is not the case. We were dear friends yesterday, we are dear friends today, and we will be dear friends tomorrow. With that said, I hope you enjoy this little incident and the comments and reactions it has engendered so far:
Yesterday the following conversation took place with a good friend:
She: I've been thinking about a couple of things you've said recently. You really might be superficial. I think you probably are superficial. It's ok, I don't mind that you are superficial. In fact it makes it easier for me because I am superficial too.
I of course had free will to respond in any number of ways:
Me: What the hell are you talking about? or,
Me: Are you crazy? or,
Me: What's your fricking problem?
Me: Um, um, gee, stutter, stutter, wow. I don't know what to say. What you're referring to happened 35 years ago...Gee...well....wow....um...gee.
I have been called names and described many ways in my life. Among them: insensitive, impatient, careless, self indulgent, oblivious, mean spirited, thoughtless, impulsive, petty, obnoxious, demanding, intense, emotional, and dramatic. I'm sure there are another three dozen adjectives and two dozen adverbs that I have either overlooked or have been thought about me but not spoken outloud. But I have never ever been called superficial.
Following this exchange with my friend my feelings ranged from hurt to confused to shocked to bewildered to insecure to curious to stupified to defensive, and finally, to the following delightful response, sent via email this afternoon:
The Superficial Rascal
Ok, I admit it:
It’s only your talent and humor and well oiled oratory
That drew me in and
keeps me coming.
It’s only my boring fascination with mundane details
That grants me the patience
To hear about your 4th grade teachers
And your preference for little flying pigs.
It’s merely my missing pieces
That accepts and follows your opinions
On everything from entitlements
To Aristotle to every way the world works.
It’s my starved imagination
That greets your colors
With unbridled enthusiasm that could be real
But is probably just my pathetic boredom.
And, of course, it’s my shallow approach
To all people and things
That so lovingly adores cardboard
and so easily avoids anything with moving parts.
How fortunate I am
To live this linear life
Where I so skillfully sidestep
Everything except a few choice facts!
So it’s quite a wonder
That you put up with me
In my boring simplicity
And shallow pretenses.
I should warn you:
There have been times
When things that matter
I’ve made a choice or two
That moved beyond the surface.
Don’t you just hate that?
It's ok, I return quickly to flat again.
You paint. You write. You laugh.
You’re different. You’re smart.
I just love labels.
Just labels--me, your dearest superficial friend.
What? You care about me?
Hey! How can I support you?
What wasteful thoughts
When I can be my happy shallow self instead.
It takes some work, you know,
Sticking with surface illusion
And avoiding the appearance of depth.
But because it's you, I make the effort.
This should be the end of this story. But alas, my friend is too clever for that. She somehow manages the last word even when that honor is clearly mine. Afterall, I am the offended party. She has responded to my poem with one of her own. It arrived in my email messages two hours ago. Typical. You might have an interest in her poetic response, but no way am I including her poem in my post tonight! I'm just not going to. I refuse. It's pretty well written but forget it. I won't reward the superficiality she displayed in accusing me of being superficial. Or should I? If I should, why don't I? Is it because I'm superficial?
Oh geez. OK. Here's the damn response:
Well, we are perfect for each other.
We fit to a tee
You and me
Both superficial and carefree.
However, I am the more superficial.
My interest in you is merely borne out of curiosity
There is no depth and meaning
I am as fleeting as a bee.
I love labels.
I name everything.
You are that and I am this.
You fit there and I belong here.
I am only drawn to your poems
In the hope that someday you will be famous
Then I can say
I know her.
I am intrigued by your lifestyle.
I often wonder how the other half lives.
I wonder if you chew your food
Before you swallow.
I wonder if your underwear match,
If you coordinate your purse with your blouse
Or is it your skirt?
Or even your shirt?
It's only my shallow interest
In whether you light candles when you entertain
What kind of foods do you serve?
Or whether you eat organic food.
I feign interest when you talk about your expectant daughter
My concern is merely automatic due to my training
I really do not care and it is all in the surface
When I wish her luck and I pray for the best
It is the same with your mother
It is only her elegant and feisty charm
That attracts me to her
When I listen to every word she utters with tenderness
I am not capable of feeling
When you say J.B. loves you.
I never think for one moment it is worth a dime
When you tell me you love J.B. so.
It is all a show when I say I love you, softly, dearly.
And it is only indigestion when I feel the aching of missing you.
It is only gas when I feel the pain of wanting to see you
And it is only a dream that I think of you as my best friend.
Um...um....gee....stutter...stutter....wow. Go figure: this must be why we are good friends.....