Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Superficial Rascal

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?

But instead,

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
Sneak through.

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.....


  1. i think you are a saint. your friend is extremely lucky to have such a deep and substantial person as you obviously are.

  2. Gee I wonder what led your friend to think of you as superficial. There must be a compelling reason, or perhaps she may have thought of such a quality only for those particular instances?

  3. I am confused! If your poems to each other are literal, well then...I'd say you need to call a truce. If they are playfully ironic, well then... I wonder how those words came so easily to both of you, even in jest. I can't imagine that anyone would think you're superficial, but I do know that so often we project onto others those things we don't like about ourselves. So maybe you and your friend are "superficial" and that's why you've been friends for so long... although I don't think either of you fits that label. The poetry belies a superficial nature. I don't know...like I said, this is a confusing post, but the poetry is great! I hope your Christmas was wonderful... and peace, love, and much depth to you in the New Year!

  4. oh my. this made my stomach flip just reading it all -- I'm so bad at conflict. I'll just say that you're one of the least superficial people I know! Hugs and love!

  5. ces, hey, girl! please assume 100% that there is no compelling reason and no particular instance. i am a handful, but not superficial...

    carla: no truce needed. playful irony is accurate. the poetry comes because my friend and i are muses to eachother. or at least i think so. at least superficially...

    melissa: the conflict ended comically. that's a good way to resolve anything, so i appreciate the lesson. thanks for the endorsement, my friend. xox

  6. Superficial Rascal Says:

    I read this post yesterday before you posted my response. See what you have done. I think you owe it to your blog readers to tell them that I am not superficial at all but rather was just being playful. So you cannot call my response a cheap shot. I think it is pretty clever. Also because I am not a poet, I think I ought to be given credit for responding in your poetry format, even though mine does not rhyme and may not follow any of the rules of poetry, are there rules? I don’t know. I always like to push and break those rules as long as I don’t get arrested. I don’t think jail would be a fun place at all. That orange jumpsuit is so atrocious! It would never match with any of my purses. There I go again, being superficial. I can’t help it. But I still love you dearly.

  7. Well, I joke and tease the few really "best girlfriends" that I have, but never would I or have I talked to them like your "friend" has to you. I suppose this was meant to be playful, but what I read wasn't anything more than mean. I have only known you from Ces's blog and now mine and I can't imagine you being anything close to the description given to you. Your stammering is expected, I hope you get to the real underlying feelings she is harboring so your friendship can get back on track.

    I hope your Christmas was great. Ours here at Joys was wonderful. Thank you for your visits and comments, they are so wonderful.

  8. Superficial Rascal says again:

    I really am not superficial at all and I certainly know that KJ is not superficial. I tell her to lighten up sometimes. I cannot defend what I said and I am sorry that KJ found it hurtful. She is a word warrior and could have sent a poison dart my way but she is most kind. I feel like a scumbag, a trash and a total jerk BUT please do not repeat my words and do not confirm them, thank you.

    I just thought that the poems were very playful and since I am not a poet, I was very proud of myself for writing one. I love all of KJ’s poems and I thought it would be fun to answer her expressions in similar fashion. Alas, I was more concerned about my victory in writing the poem. I did not realize how much I have offended KJ. Please let me say that KJ is a wonderful human being, a loyal friend, a caring person, loving to her family and a dedicated humanitarian. I also love her.

    I have the utmost respect for her. She is a friend of mine. I am very sorry. I am not allowed to reveal myself and I don’t want to be revealed either but rest assured that I am not a mean person.

    If anything else, I am very happy that KJ’s friends are out here assuring her that she is a fabulous, marvelous person, because that is exactly how I view her. I realize how much you admire and respect her and believe me, I am truly happy for that.

    We are truly gentle and kind to each other 99 % of the time. The 1% is reserved to my weakness and faults and yes, my vanity could be construed as superficial, but I am not mean.

  9. yikes! this is the second time i have posted something i think is very funny and it turns into something way too serious!! (the first being my poem about the blog stalker...?)

    so it falls upon me now to clarify that i am blessed with a wonderful, loyal, and kind friend who would never intentionally hurt my feelings! geez....!

  10. I love competitive relationships.

    Happy holidays, Dear KJ x

  11. babe: you are so sweet. you always give the best advice.

    cp: to the point! you are so cool!

  12. What a relief! I am so glad to read that this was really just joking around. Great friends are so hard to find and once you have one they are a treasure.

    You two are just scamps, maybe a little too much sugar from all the Christmas sweets. Don't worry about what your putting in your blog, we will eventually figure out your just pulling our legs. :>

  13. This was great! The poems were witty and truly poetic.

    I enjoyed this very much, thanks!

  14. It's all about different styles of humor ... I'm from England and could see the humor in it; Brits talk to one another all the time like that, with love and affection and tongue in cheek. (Just in case, as my grandmother would say, we get too big for our britches.)

    So if you're both ok with it, have fun!

  15. Oh I wish I had the wit to write the way you and your friend wrote!

    I smiled at the way you and your friend talk to each other. It's like how my sisters and I talk.