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I Love You. That Is All. March 14, 2011

Posted by J. in Genius.
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God help me, I love you.

Poops went out on Saturday night for what started as an innocent dinner with some friends.  Said friends bought me several margaritas because apparently it’s really funny when the already unreliable don’t-say-that-out-loud filtration system in my brain is completely disabled by alcohol.

I got up at 4 a.m. on Sunday morning to pee and I was still drunk.  Don’t judge me.  You know you’ve done it too.

I got up at 8 to get the kids ready for catechism and I thought my head was going to rupture.  I drank enough water the night before to float an armada.  I took a handful of Tylenol before bed.  I drank a cup of coffee before heading to church and nothing even touched it.

Auntie Mame was HUNG.  Despite downing the can of Coke that Fr. Albert keeps around the church for just such emergencies (I assume), I never did get rid of the headache which alternated between mildly annoying and throbbing intensely depending on how close my Tylenol were to wearing off.

I have no idea why I was suffering for that long.  I hardly ever get hung over, and when I do, it’s because I drank like a fish and was absolutely gooned when I went to bed.  Now, I didn’t feel all that drunk when I went to bed, in fact, I felt fairly sober when I turned in, so there’s no reason I can think of that explains why I should have felt drunker at 4 in the morning than when I went to bed.  Unless Hornitos is now a time-release tequila.  (I’m not complaining but it would have been nice to know earlier, you know?)

Or maybe Patrick’s wasn’t giving me the good stuff but serving me the cheap shit.  My Mama taught me to never drink cheap booze because it’ll give you a headache.  They better not have been charging for Hornitos and giving me El Pepe brand tequila.  Fuck.

Maybe I got some bad ice.  Heh.

I hang around with the greatest group of enablers friends you could ever wish for.  I would love to talk about them and some of the truly scandalous fantastic times we’ve had over the years, but we have a pact of Mutually Assured Destruction.  It’s a shame, too.  Because I know who built the giant snow penis on the front lawn of the school and it’s a terrific story.  Alas, I can already hear the shouts of “GUACAMOLE!” in my head and I’m reminded to stand down, lest my own secrets get spilled.  (“Guacamole” is our safe word.  When one of us starts getting to close to entering a ten-digit launch code, the safe word reminds us all to take our fingers off the button.)

And, if from time to time I drink a tad too much while under their influence, I guess it’s a small price to pay.  I seem to be okay this morning.  No worse for the wear.

While I sat there yesterday, nursing my hangover and contemplating the sheer awesomeness of my friends, I found myself musing on what exactly constitutes friendship.  How do I define the word “friend?”  How does the world define it?

My husband’s SIL thinks Facebook and any parts of the Internet that aren’t devoted solely to the praise and glory and worship of our Lord Jesus Christ who died for our sins are the scourges of humanity.  Social networking?  A fallacy.  A fraud.  You’re fooling yourself.  “You can’t have online friends,” she said.  “If you can’t sit down in the same room with them and have a conversation, make physical contact with them, you can’t connect.  Not really.  They’re just words on a screen.”

I don’t know how to explain to the uninitiated what it’s like to have dear friends that I’ve never seen in person, much less bent an elbow with.  I imagine that people who are not part of an online community of any sort forget that behind the screen names are flesh and blood people.   Their lives have touched my own in the most profound way I can think of: with words.

They’re just words on a screen.

"Just words on some crinkly, yellow paper."

Think about that for a minute.  Think about the power that words have, that words have always had.  Long before the advent of the Internet, people wrote.  Letters.  Essays.  Epistles.  A letter home from a soldier is a piece of living history.  Most of the New Testament is someone else’s mail.  Don’t tell me that words, be they on a screen, carved into marble, spray-painted on a shop window, or scribbled in crayon, are just words.

There is no such thing as “just words.”

I don’t know if it’s the screen names that are confusing.  After all, I’ve known this bunch of women for years for the most part by their screen names:  Yorkie, PennyKarma, elizabeth, Batty, Bezzie, CBear…there’s lots of them out there and too many to name.  I wondered if you could really get to know a person without knowing their given name.

Facebook answered that question for me.  When it came along, we were able to selectively let each other into our own real-life worlds, and I learned my friends’ real names for the first time.  It turns out that it never really mattered, since I still think of them by their screen names.  I don’t know them any better than I did before, really.  And the truth is, I have people in real life that I think of by their nicknames first.  Hell, if I call Baboo by his real first name he asks if I’m mad at him.

I’m not arguing that it’s not comforting to have a friend by your side to hold your hand, pat you on the shoulder, give you a high five, or hand you a drink.  But I don’t care about you any less because you’re a half a world away from me.  Just because I’ve never held your hand in real life doesn’t mean I don’t care.  I do.  Deeply, in fact.

I think all friendships are a matter of faith, no matter what shape they take and no matter how you define the word “friend.”  The official definition is “someone you know, like, and trust.”  It doesn’t mention proximity at all in any of the definitions I could find.   I assert that all you need to get to know someone enough to decide if you like and trust them is words–yours and theirs, sent back and forth, whether it’s over a table or across an ocean.  Distances no longer hamper us.  With instant messaging, time is less a factor than ever.

It has been said that for those who have faith in God, no proof is necessary; for those without faith, none is possible.  It think it’s the same with friends.  I can’t prove to them or to anyone else that my online friends are as dear to me as my real-life friends, or to convince them that they share the same space in my heart.  But then, my online friends don’t need proof.

And let’s face it, none of them has ever tried to poison me with tequila.  I’m just saying.

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Comments»

1. Rebel - March 14, 2011

“You can’t have online friends,” she said. “If you can’t sit down in the same room with them and have a conversation, make physical contact with them, you can’t connect. Not really. They’re just words on a screen.”

Just wondering if SIL has ever sat down in a room with her Lord, had a conversation & had physical contact with him.

I think you hit the nail on the head. Behind online screen names are real people, sometimes it’s easy to forget, sometimes it’s hard to get the whole picture. But online friends are as real as you let them be. =)

2. CBear - March 14, 2011

I love you. I am CBear, will always be… and you are my Poops and will always be…

*snurfles*

3. Pippa Posey Peanut Butter Pants - March 14, 2011

Nicely said Poops. BTW if you were at Patrick’s on a busy Saturday night you probably got the good stuff for drink one and lighter fluid for the remaining ten or twelve…they’re real sports that way….OLE’!!

4. Penny Karma - March 14, 2011

I’ll have my name legally changed to Penny Karma if you get yours changed to Poops.

5. Yorkie - March 15, 2011

Sounds like my SMother In Law: “A real friend is someone who’d bring you a bowl of chicken soup if you were sick”.

I haven’t needed chicken soup from anyone, and if I did, I’d make it my damn self. What I’ve needed was contact, written words, notes of encouragement, something to let me know I’m not alone. That’s what your friendship has given me, a light in my exile here, a way forward. It has been exactly what I’ve needed, and if it weren’t for you, I’d never know how to channel or even access my Inner Poops.

Our voices might be silent to each other, but like you said, we are REAL people on the other side of the screen. Only folks who’ve been isolated can understand how important that is. Some people will never understand how much it means to us to have each other. Let em suck eggs…no one’s asking them to understand. More Poops for us!

6. elizabeth M. - March 16, 2011

(smooch)

7. elizabeth M. - March 16, 2011

PS: got the Hornitos tequila ad on this blog post. Big Brother is watching you. Or at least, watching your blog.

8. Eileen - March 22, 2011

Some post. The real deal.

Thank you–you’ve said what I’ve been thinking for years about quite a few people–more than a couple on Knitty, and you’ve said it beautifully.

[lindydiva]

9. Anne Frank Never Flew Coach | askpoopsplease - July 19, 2013

[…] you’ve been playing along at home, you know I have lots of Internet Friends, and I’ve talked about what they mean to me. I don’t consider people I’ve befriended online to be anything other than real friends, […]


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