It is now Thursday and I am finally feeling close to normal. Last weekend was my annual “boy’s weekend” event. As is our custom, several old buddies of mine gathered to eat too much, drink too much and swear at each other a lot. We also played cards and this was where a lot of the swearing occurred.
This is a weekend that I spend most of the year looking forward to. The only part of the year that I am not looking forward to it is the week immediately following it. Three-plus days filled with an over-indulgence of bad things require a respite.
Upon my return to the “real” world from these weekends, I am happy to be home. It feels nice to see my wife and kids. It feels nice to eat a vegetable and drink something besides beer. Naps feel good, too. Real good.
Having day four under my belt, my recovery seems imminent. I have survived. At this stage in my progression towards “normal” (or at least sober), I begin to reminisce about a pretty awesome weekend.
Meeting with old buddies, sans the women in our lives, for a long weekend filled with an over-abundance of food, booze and bad ideas cannot NOT produce some funny sh#t. This weekend was no exception. I laughed a lot. I smiled at a sunny day surrounded by smiling people. No pretense exists between old friends. As such, on a regular basis “B.S.” was called and mocked and toasted. To an outsider, these sometimes brutal exchanges would be off-putting. To the insiders, they are the lifeblood of the weekend and, indeed, our relationships.
Filled with innuendo and nuance, being mean to your best friends is a true art. Knowing each other’s histories, struggles, battles, and fears makes picking on them easy, but also delicate. Part of being an old friend involves remaining one. This involves walking a fine line and never cutting things that shouldn’t be cut. Beneath the sarcasm and brash, cruel-sounding words lies love. This is the foundation upon which friendships are built and it is the reason I am still friends with my unique collection of beautiful jerks.
Through births and deaths and laughter and tears our lives are intertwined as grapevines. We each represent a piece of the puzzle, without which the puzzle would be incomplete. We understand this and we cherish it and guard it. Life creates distance, but once in a while, or at least once a year, that distance disappears and life is as it was. Time holds no sanction and we are just the “boys” with a refrigerator of bacon. We share steaks and shots and words.
An actual exchange: Jeff: “Markwell, you’re just mean. You’re a bully.” Me: “Hey, I’m not mean. The truth’s mean. Don’t blame me. Blame the truth.” Jeff: “F#ck you. Do you need another beer?” Me: “Sure.” And the day carried on uninterrupted….
[EDITOR'S NOTE:"Feel Good Friday" is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, who extols to all neighbors: "Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!" Also, you can "friend" Dave on Facebook here. Or work out with him at his exercise company Waterland CrossFit!]