When your eyeglasses fall off…REALLY???

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By Kenneth Justice

~ Yesterday I was having coffee with one of the Jewish lawyers who hangs out at the little café (actually there are a lot of Jewish lawyers who hang out at this one particular coffee shop, I’m not sure why but they do) I frequent and he was telling me a story about a legal case he had eons ago,

So there I was driving to Philadelphia in the middle of the night to drop off the papers for the client…” he said, but suddenly stopped and looked at me with bewildered eyes, “uh, why was I telling you this story? Uh, I’m sorry Kenneth I can’t really remember what the point of the story was….” His voice trailed off.

No worries” I said, and I took another long sip of coffee

Actually, that was not the first time this lawyer friend of mine had suddenly forgotten why he was telling me a story and it most likely won’t be the last time. He’s a very dear friend of mine and we’ve been having coffee together for years. He looks a little bit like Albert Einstein thanks to shock white hair that when he forgets to set it in place tends to be wild and runs all over the place. He’s been wearing a pair of eyeglass frames that have been broken for more than a year; it only has one of the temples (the part that hooks around your ear) so that if he tips his head the wrong way his glasses fall off.

My Jewish lawyer friend is also one of those guys that is really bad at telling jokes. He knows a LOT of jokes but he nearly always butchers the punch line; he either forgets the punch line or forgets the order of the joke.

But in the midst of eyeglasses that fall of him randomly, bad joke telling, and forgetting why he is telling a story I’m always thankful that he is my friend; he’s a genuinely good guy. He’s the type of person that if you called him in the middle of the night from a jail cell he would come bail you, no questions asked. Of course, I haven’t actually tested the whole, ‘calling him from a jail cell in the middle of a the night’ but I’m pretty sure he would come through for me, so I keep his number in my wallet in case I’m ever arrested for drinking too much coffee.

Sitting with him yesterday reminded me how we often look past the imperfections of others when it comes to the people we love. In some ways this is a good thing; after all, none of us are perfect and if we only were friends with perfect people we’d end up having a lonely life. Yet at the same time, there have been people in my life with whom I was blinded; people who ended up being destructive to my life yet whom I kept ignoring huge red flags.

Isn’t there a proverb or colloquialism about hanging out with bad company or bad friends and how it ends up wreaking havoc upon yourself?

The people I am friends with says a lot about who I am as a person, and yet at the same time I need to find a balance between loving all people, yet at the same time putting up boundaries in order that the negative and nasty people don’t bring me down.

Just a few simple thoughts while I sipped my coffee this morning,

Kenneth



Categories: Culture & Society

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30 replies

  1. You can also be a positive influence for “bad” friends. My (ideal) criterion for friendship is simple: whoever wants to be (so long as they don’t endanger me).
    I’ve had “bad” friends–like family you don’t necessarily choose them all–really help me out.

  2. Ah, this is the stuff of stardust! The blog I mean…
    While I admire the attempt of “loving all people” and I don’t want to “piss on the parade” I believe it is impossible and that people who have bad effects on one’s life should just be cut out. period. Nobody needs to put up with another person’s not-so-sincere agenda… Cut out the drama if it’s not your drama, cut out the meanness that is uncalled for and the sun will shine even when it’s overcast! 🙂

  3. Friends. Your US sitcom did that word a bum deal. Colleague friends, acquaintance friends, situational friends, getting to know you friends, convenient friends … and then Friends (just don’t get me started on the “Lovers” list) 🙂

    Lovely post KJ – gentle and affectionate

  4. Learning to distinguish between “looking past the imperfections” and “blindly ignoring huge red flags” is not a lesson everyone learns in life. I’m not sure what it is that causes people to hold on to toxic friendships but I know it’s been a struggle on husband’s part for years. When red flags popped up in my past I would give them a chance to prove they were worth sticking around for, but if I was the only person putting effort into the relationship I’d cut them lose. I think what you mentioned is a great tool for deciphering between the users who would blind you and the genuinely nice, albeit imperfect, friends…are they there for you, do they have your back, is there a concern for your well-being? People who actually care about you are worth dealing with a few minor annoyances. Nice post!

  5. Good one, Kenneth, to put boundaries. And I need to do so.

    Yoshiko

    >

  6. I had three different high schools growing up, so I didn’t make too many friends, not close ones, with a couple of exceptions. It was in college that I discovered the absolute joy of being part of a large group of friends, and my whole perspective changed. There were some who I wasn’t always happy to see, and some I smiled whenever they entered the room. But just being there, knowing I was accepted, was such a complete change from anything I’d known that I soaked it all in.

    Your description of the friend, glasses and jokes and all, reminded me of that type of friendship. We’re friends because we see that person, accouterments and all, and we love that friend even more for the faults and strengths we see.

    Now I need to call some friends up.

  7. I’d guess you’re alright Kenneth, the nice people would naturally gravitate towards you, and the not so nice,, well you just have them on their best behavior for a while.

  8. As was mentioned above – boundaries. If something or someone is clearly not good for you, then know that you can stop being around it. On the other hand, as another person mentioned, you never know what someone’s affect on you might be, even it they aren’t such a good friend – or your affect on them.

    Personally – I have many acquaintances. Only a few would I call up to hang out and have a beeer with.

  9. I think the teenaged years are most difficult in this regard. You’re drawn to the wild kids because they’re so much fun, but you know no good will come of it. It takes years to develop that sense of whether you should shake someone off and eventually you can keep them at bay entirely without causing offence. Growing older and wiser means you suffer less with guilt too. :o)

  10. I think the teenaged years are most difficult in this regard. You’re drawn to the wild kids because they’re so much fun, but you know no good will come of it. It takes years to develop that sense of whether you should shake someone off and eventually you can keep them at bay entirely without causing offence. Growing older and wiser means you suffer less with guilt too. :o)

  11. Idiosyncratic people, I believe, are people that do not worry about being themselves. They do not try to cover up their flaws and don’t pay attention to things that don’t bother them, Although they may bother
    the general public much more. They tend to be strangely superstitious. I would guess your friend has
    money and even time to replace those glasses and yet he may be “attached” to them like a quirky
    old friend.
    This post illustrates a simple style of writing that made us fall in love with you. Welcome back.

  12. Kenneth,
    Right on! I am in the process of learning them now at the great age of 44. Neither of my parents taught them to me as they were narcissists. I ended a few relationships last year because I needed boundaries. I am teaching my children the beauty of bethel as well!

  13. Lawyer with broken glasses?? Funny character; he’s your friend cuz he makes you smile and you see him behind his broken glasses 🙂
    Albanians say: tell me who you with, I’d tell you where you from! In some cases can fit, but I like to walk through bad and good friendship, cuz I’ll learn a lot from both;some lesson are learned best through pain (unfortunately)
    Balance of loving people? Pretty shaky until they build something in your heart. 🙂
    By the way if you ever end up in jail for overdrinking (coffee) You can count on me;I’ll bail you out..lol
    Enjoy the cloudy, cool day! Maybe perfect for more reading in the patio .

  14. Yes, the “proverb” you spoke about says something like “Bad company corrupts good morals,” and we always used that with our kids to encourage them in choosing friends… that you cannot change someone to the good. Most of the time, it goes the opposite — the bad friends change a person toward the bad. My dad always used to say “It’s better to be alone than in bad company.” So it takes a strong person to be able to walk away from the bad influence, but it’s better for you!

  15. The umbilical cord of friendship can be a hard one to cut. But once cut, you have to have the courage to tie that knot, otherwise all your insides will slowly seep away, and you´ll end up an unsightly puddle on the floor.

  16. Maybe, or maybe its that core of goodness inside YOU that draws us all like bees to honey. We admire your ability to constantly see the light in our darkness. It’s a gift. Can you deny that gift?

  17. your friend reminds me of a friend of mine as well. Similar hair and career, and this one time, we were in Philly (south) meeting up for some paperwork signing, and we met at this crab shack. The best crabs anywhere! so, wait, why was I telling you this….

  18. It’s been a long time, but as always a pleasure to read your lines.

  19. “so that if he tips his head the wrong way his glasses fall off” – hahaha I love this image! So funny and sweet! I’m a fan of the slap stick so. . .

    Great points you make, Kenny. Removing the toxic stuff in yourself and your life is very often a good idea and sometimes it catches us by surprise.

    Thank you for the smile 🙂

    Peace to you, guy,

    Allison

  20. Perfection is an ideal and only found in the flaws.
    But why does one need boundaries. Would someone not have enough faith in their own judgement if the need walls and rules to keep them from doing wrong.
    It is in the end always your own choice whether to listen to others or hide behind a wall/boundary.

    Give yourself a little more credit on your way to become a better person.Step up stand up for yourself

  21. I personally enjoyed this post because it
    reminds me of those rare times I can actually be around those kinds of friends in my life. Despite their imperfections, and mine, they pour into my life something beautiful. I walk away feeling filled with comfort that they are there.

  22. Yeah, I’m happy to be friends with whoever wants to be friends with me but I will seek out those who lift me up and avoid those who bring drama. Those who are destructive, well, I have to find out how they are being destructive and put up boundaries around that part of myself that gets hurt by them. For example. I have a friend who often invites me to do things and then doesn’t show up or is VERY LATE! Therefore, I have to just know that is her and that she is going to flake. I have to take her invitations with a grain of salt. I’m not that person naturally. I never lend people money or important things that I want back. I still get hurt every now and then.

  23. I always say your don’t have to trust someone to be their friend, but if you can’t trust someone unless they are a friend.

  24. We instituted a policy of “no drama” years ago when we were drumming on the pow wow circuit in New England. Anyone who wanted to be our friend was welcome until their drama quotient went too high. We’d tell them to their faces, “we don’t accept other folks’ drama”. Some understood (and/or were avoiding drama themselves) and are still friends. Some would look at us funny, then continue to spout about he-said, she-said, I’m-gonna . . . and be very surprised when we’d walk away. I even had one “friend” tell me, “Oh I agree with you. Drama is so bad,” then proceeded to explain in great detail why her affair with a married man was just so wonderful. She eventually stopped trying to drag us into the mire of her life, but she never really understood why we moved on. We can only control our own lives, not those of others – they have to learn their lessons themselves.

  25. A lot is said about avoiding toxic people in your life, not much is said about forgiving the imperfections of those you do care for…or the good guys. Glad to see you post on this.

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