Don’t Poke the Bear

The most striking retort I have ever heard happened to me, immediately after I committed one of the most shameful acts of my life. The person I did it to responded with the most pointed and cutting use of a common saying I have ever experienced, “A friend in need is a friend indeed,” which was particularly apt, as I had just mortally betrayed him. Eric, if by some miracle you happen to read this, despite us not having seen each other for ten years, I can only reiterate that that betrayal was one of the most shameful acts of my life, and beg your forgiveness, while promising that the man I have become, in a similar situation, would choose the righteous path.

I recall that moment whenever I feel ashamed of myself, using it as a touchstone, a spur to goad me into righting whatever it is I have done. I recently felt the need to recall those events. I was untruthful to someone about whom I care a great deal. You can stop wondering if it’s you, I’ve already made it right, we talked, it was good. The issue at hand is me.

I was in the sixth grade, and was in a clique that was made fun of, friends with all. And then, as if I was on a mission to prove that I was the shallowest douche in the universe, I turned on one of them when he was being made fun of and exchanged all the friendship we had for twelve seconds of feeling like I belonged with the cool crowd. As I have noted, I have regretted that action ever since.

Most recently my shame was due to the fact that I forgot rule number one for almost thirty-six hours. Rule number one, of course, being ‘make her happy’ (or, in my personal formulation, ‘make her happy, idiot’). In retrospect, I find it difficult to fathom why it took me so long, but I do know that it did. That is all.

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