Date: Sat Feb 10, 1996 9:56:24 AM America/New_York
Space, as a follow-up on that friends dilemma, I know my assessments can appear harsh and wicked at times, but as much as I would like to detract or sugarcoat them, my perceptions are as real as snow on top of Mount Fuji.
Sue spent a couple of hours on the phone last night with the seventy year old mother of one of my closest "friends". He is 29, and except for the two quarters of Wooster College partying til he dropped and flunked out, and a three-week stint in a crack house he fled to after on our advice his parents kicked him out a couple of years ago, he has never left the roost. He was educated at the finest catholic highschool in the city, studied Latin and Philosophy. His father is a retired attorney and a daily drunk. They live only a few blocks from us in a hell hole dominated by two stupid dogs, a Rottweiler pup as huge as he is moronic, and a hapless, mixed female shepherd. The son is a complete mess. Used to work as a bike courier until his own drunken ways led him to fracture both collarbones in separate accidents, and a few other minor breakages, all during after hour blackout events. He is the penultimate sponge because he is always borrowing on money he'll never make, as he soaks up the little he does make shooting heroin junk. He worked a year with me on a land surveying crew as my rod and chainman after I convinced him to leave his carpetlaying job he despised back some eight years ago. He was already a hardcore drunk and pot addict at the time, but he managed. Now he is seemingly without redemption.
Name is Shipman, but we call him Shipwreck when the fevers run high. He actually prefers to answer to Satan, a moniker slapped on this fellow by his courier buddies years ago. I refuse to oblige him with that one, and sneer when he boasts of it. I've tried to interest him in my world of computers, as he told me he had considered the writer's game when I first met him about a decade ago, and while he feigns some level of interest, he is always plotting for the next hit of whatever he can get, and soon enough just becomes a bothersome irritant in my coif as he fumbles for a beer, his can of tobacco and papers, and then some punk rock tape he brought over. Don't get me wrong. I am not badgering anybody about their chosen lifestyle, and my own list of alienated turbulence has gotten me banned from more than a few places, but there is a time and a place, and Tim, like a few others who stampede over to our house once what little money or excitement has expired in their own sweep, seems to think that my domain is simply an extention of his own. I just don't get it. I can scream and yell, politely doff my cap, or post my 95 theses on the door like Martin Luther but all I get is resistance to my way of doing things in my own house by a bunko squad of starving for sanity goons who embrace the full & feisty shadow of decadence unlike you or I ever have or ever will. Is just not my scene. Each to his own. I moralize, but keep my judgements to myself, as I try to get along just to get along.
All of which leads me into the topic of my second (or first closest, longest?) "friend" in DC or anywhere for that matter. Jack is a guy who lives to enhance the facts and residuals of his own life. The guys is as sharp a wit as I've ever known, and not too shabby with an occasional keen insight. He's scientifically grounded, knows electronics, and music. But he embellishes way beyond any reasonable doubt anything he says about himself with absolutely no hint of shame or embarrassment that a knowledgeable someone standing right next to him could ever contradict his version of the truth.
I have a brother and a mother EXACTLY like this! We're not talking about slightly shaded differences of opinion, or faint fuzzy details reshaped by the moment at hand, no, we're talking full blown unadulterated lies and exaggerations no one who knows him, and we all do after a few weeks, can believe he has the gall to utter much less try to convince us or some stranger is the dyed-in-the-wool truth of the matter. And Jack is a "friend" to every star he's ever laid eyes upon. Bosom buddies who'll do anything for him, and with that kind of power he'll make any newbie coming down the pike into a star. Oh yeah, Jack's the great talent manager wannabe. Another on again off again pal of mine Scoot suffers the same delusions. These are not mere exaggerations these guys deploy. They spout off spectacular impossible schemes as a conquering device, so as to enhance their own self-images as a way of manipulating those they wish to conquer socially. Final word? They tell lies. And those lies spread from the obvious image-manipulation techniques into other areas, all of which trouble me beyond resolve. Why do I continue to greet them as friends? Because they are simply here tracing the same circles in the air as I do? Because they "act" like they care about me? Because they suffer me and in fact rally around my own deficiencies and eccentric dalliances, applauding me as some kind of skewed pied piper while they simultaneously try to trash what gives me strength? Because I am painfully needy of friends even though I'm not shy about drawing heavy lines in the sand to distinguish me and my psychological inheritance from theirs?
It's a queer world I know here in DC. I hope I survive it.