Yes; we actually did coin the term WTF. We’ve been using it for years before the internet used it.
DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF PAT DAVIS; Godspeed Brother.
“You are a tough guy to get to know James”.
I rarely trust anyone anymore and I remember one of my best friends said that to me once when we were just starting out being friends about 15 years ago. Unfortunately he was right. This is probably the most open I will ever be. I’ve always had a huge disconnect with friends from my high school days. Most of it is my fault. We lived such different lives that we never really mixed after our crazy party days.
As a young punk, I was a party boy for sure. I could play quarters as good as anyone on the planet and could drink like a fish. I was athletic, loud and fun. I underachieved and until I grew up when I went to college, I really didnt’ accomplish much.
As more and more of my old school friends contact me I have been cynical. I mean if they cared, why didn’t they contact me before? And sure, most are just curious. They want to know what happened to you and then they want to go back into the abyss. Some really did miss me, but some just wanted to know. Growing up in a small town, gossip is the norm. I know people that I haven’t seen in years talk about me like they know me and saw me yesterday. You are judged often by who you were in high school and you can’t shake it.
I left my town early because I wanted to be a big fish in a big pond. It has been a fun ride and I loved the pressure, the sense of accomplishment and the challenge, but ties still remain. My friends mostly married young and had kids. As time went on we grew apart. They couldnt’ relate to my life and I couldnt’ relate to them. Calling them and listening to them correct their kids every 5 seconds on the phone made me realize that we were too different and that wouldnt’ change.
When you marry and have kids you are now in the club and single people aren’t and there is a disconnect almost like you’ve failed or that you were too dysfunctional to marry anyone and sometimes you are even looked down upon. I could have gotten married lots of times in my life. As a young college guy I had 2 great girlfriends that I should have married but after hearing about their own lives over the years I’m glad I didn’t. I was still pretty young too and I was so ambitious. Again, time changes people for the good and bad. I also had many scars.
I had lost people in my life at a young age and it hurt me more than I ever told anyone and will ever admit. Daily their memory is with me and I miss them dearly. The men in our family are hard to handle sometimes. We go off in our own world when things are bad, dealing with it by ourselves which is never a good thing but we dont’ want to bother anyone. It’s our weakness.
I’ve had many successes in life that I’m proud of but because of the differences in our lives I never felt good sharing them with friends from the olden days. Many times they didnt’ seem to want to hear it. Maybe they thought I was being arrogant or bragging, or that they were a little jealous, or worse yet thought I was lying or making it up or making it out to be something special when it wasn’t. It sucked. I longed to share these things because in a way they were partially with me along the journey of life, helping me become who I was and being a part of that success. I then began to share things with my family and present friends more because they knew me and had seen what I had accomplished, where my high school friends just remember someone who could party with the best of them. The mistakes of my youth also followed me. Many judged me for them and it hurt me tremendously. Outside of my home town I was respected by many all over the world and many looked up to me and even counted on me. It bothered me to be judged that way. If I do something wrong or make a mistake it eats at me. It’s very hard for me to forgive myself and in some instances I never do. I joke around and have fun a lot to keep people from knowing me. As a kid like most guys, I was out of control emotionally and was very immature. In small towns once you are labeled though, it’s hard to beat it. I’ve come into contact with people I haven’t seen in years and some were pretty nasty to me and that stunk, but it is what it is.
In time I realized it was funner and more fulfilling to share my life with those that really knew me and my friends from the olden days never did. People that saw me do all of my accomplishments could trust me and relate to me where others only saw the person they wanted to see. It’s sad because my youth meant a lot to me. I love my friends from high school; they were a great bunch of guys and girls that have turned into a great group of people that I enjoy to be around. Unfortunately there still seems to be that wall and it may never be climbed with some of the people I knew and have always held dear to me. I hope that the bridge will continue to be built though and in time our relationship will be fun and easy again. Here is to WTF night 2014! Let’s do this!