M: “No, I’m not really into the whole ‘group’ thing. The majority of my friendships are scattered all over the place. I’ve never really been a part of a ‘group’.
Me: “I see. So you’re the jerk no one invited because your parents forgot to buy you deodorant as a child?”
For full effect, download “Lean on Me" by Bill Withers, and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.
This semester I have had the privilege of teaching a handful of people how to communicate in small group settings. I know this sounds like an honorable privilege that takes a substantial amount of time and effort to attain, but don’t be confused. Because apparently the rest of the world thinks that absolutely anybody has the skill to teach in the field of communication. In my class we talk about groups. The groups we have now, the groups we have had before, groups like families, co-workers, sports teams, and one of the most important, groups of friends. Which brings me back to last night’s conversation with M about the different groups I have been lucky enough to know.
Me: “Groups of friends are awesome. They are the people that get me through life.”
M: “Honestly, I think groups of friends are kind of overrated, not gonna lie.”
Me: “Hey! M! It looks like your leggings are starting to catch on fire.”
M: “No really! Groups of friends aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. I just don't think they're worth all the time that people invest in them."
Me: “Seriously M, I think your nose is getting an erection.”
Groups of friends are the best. They’re the people that pull you through all of the ups as well as all of the downs you go through in this jumbled mess we call life. They’re the ones who you play Guitar Hero with at 3 in the morning getting crunk on Monsters, or the people that take you to a chocolate-covered buffet when you find out that your 6-month boyfriend has been cheating on you from Day One. Groups of friends are the people who get you from Point A to Point B every single day.
Now I’ve had a couple groups of friends that certainly made sure I never went off the beaten path in my own life. First, there was the Band of Brothers back in high school. A ragtag group of ten Bros who practically invented the code. Bros who were jocks, nerds, choirboys, car tools, game junkies and every other masculine stereotypical character you can think of all rolled into one. We came, we saw, we conquered Roy High School back in the day, and didn’t give a rat's dead body about what anyone else thought of us.
Next, there were the Raintree friends. The scrappy handful of kids from all over who decided to not smoke pot and try to get a college education in the tiny corner of Southern Utah. We L-worded each other more than Roseanne L-words Twinkies. And living in some of the most ghettofabulous apartments with moral standards that would make a Catholic Bishop sick to his stomach, we racked up a slew of memories that to this day bring a tear to my eye.
Then there was the Guy Council. Which was actually a tangent group to the Raintree friends consisting of all the male members of that group. For years we were known to meet up at Denny’s on the Boulevard every Sunday night and talk about all of our weekly vanquishing's of the fair maidens in the land. Yes, those weren’t some of the most gentlemanly of discussions, but they could practically be looked as an addendum tradition to the hallowed Bro Code.
And as for now? Well, at this moment I am surrounded by one of the all-time best groups I have ever had the privilege to be a part of in my short 28-year existence. And not one of us seems to fit the role of a stereotypical friend. We are that different and diverse. We have a Mexican nurse, a raccoon-hunter, an Instagrammer, a steak-hater, a Good Samaritan, a Southern Belle, a Robin, a loyalist, a tooth-flosser, a ginger, a black bastard, a regular bastard, a scripture-seller, and an Asian. The timing for our roles may be a bit unconventional, yes, but I think we're all doing a hell of a job with our performance in this particular act of the play.
M: “See the sad thing is, one day that group is going to fizzle out and the good times you’re having are going to be forgotten and you’re all just going to move on.”
Yes, that is a sad thing to take in. She is right. This group will eventually take their last curtain call and become a memory only held up by a refrigerator magnet, just like the rest of the other groups have quietly faded into. But until that day comes I’m gonna love the Hell out of the cast of characters on the stage of my own life at this very moment.
And you should do the same.