Wednesday, January 9, 2008


Saw an old enemy at the YMCA tonight. His name is Barry L., and like a lot of enemies he used to be a friend. I don't think he thinks of me as an enemy. When we were friends, in retrospect, he probably never thought of me as a friend.

I haven't seen him in a long time, but he was still sporting the same mid-90s look: ironic tight thrift store t-shirt, strange facial hair. Of course, in the mid 90s, neither of us would have even thought about going to the gym, but we're older and his ironic thrift store t-shirt is tighter around his gut.

So here is how the shit went down.

I lent the guy a pair of headphones. I was trying to get them back for a while but he kept dodging me. Finally one day I just went to his house; his roommate let me in, and I got the headphones from his room. They were completely fucked up. I remember sitting in the kitchen of their place with his roommate just confused and angry.

I went to the video store where Barry worked and confronted him about it. He told me he was never even interested in borrowing the headphones anyway. I don't remember what else happened in the store but I left pissed.

Now, Barry and I had been friends for a while. We had a lot of friends in common, but Barry had generally known them longer and was closer with many of them. He has a personality that people like. He's very non-threatening. Endearingly depressive, even. People feel protective of him.

Barry went and talked to all of our friends. Did he tell them about the headphones? No. He told them every strange and embarrassing thing he knew about me.

Think about the genius of this. The sheer crushing, violent blow a friend could deliver if he or she suddenly turned into an enemy. Think about what your close friends know about you.

There was nothing so bad, but there was a lot of little silly stuff that looked bad. Example: he came in one time and found me sitting on his bed in my underwear. Well, actually long underwear, and it was extremely hot in his room, and there was nothing weird about it at the time, but it did happen.

He knew what girls I had crushes on.

This all happened in a few days. Before I realized what he had done, I was finished. Blackballed. I didn't lose any real close friends, but this guaranteed that a lot of acquaintances never became friends. I mean, fuckin ostracized. People stopped saying hello to me. It was mean. Disproportionate to my offense, which was confronting him in public about something he did wrong.

So nah, I'm not going to talk to that guy. He's capable of being pretty dangerous with the social weapons at his disposal. Frankly, he still kind of scares the shit out of me.

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