Every friendship has these moments when you do or say something that’s just unforgivable. We tend to remember the times that we’ve been sinned against rather than the times that we have sinned but we all have that ghastly moment in our past when we’ve let somebody down or simply pissed somebody off with our stupidity.
That time we didn’t stand up for our friend even if we knew that was the right thing to do; that bit of gossip we repeated even though we knew it would hurt or, worse still, that bit of gossip we didn’t repeat even though we knew it would hurt all the more when it all finally came out; that time we got drunk at a party and created a scene; the date we didn’t keep because we found something better to do that day; the phone call we meant to place but never did even though we knew our friend really needed somebody to talk to; or maybe just passed a personal comment that we thought was really funny or true but all it did was hurt the feelings of the person we love.
We’ve been there. Usually by mistake or sheer thoughtlessness.
But how many of us have said our cancer-stricken best friend was possessed of the devil? How many of us wrote a fucking essay about it and had it published? At the New Oxford Review? (Want to read it? Pay $1.50! Or just go here and skip halfway down the page.)
Well, so far, I know of exactly one person who’s done anything of the sort: pioneering Indian American governor of Louisiana and possible Veep candidate Piyush Bobby Jindal.
After reading Bobby’s close encounter of the otherworldly kind, I thought I’d draw up a short list of things to learn about the art of friendship and just life in general from the Experiences of Bobby:
Tumors: They make people behave strangely. Especially when it’s located in the brain.
Cancer: It makes people sad, which sometimes makes them cry. It’s the whole “looking your mortality in the face” thing.
Brown University: Needs to send you a refund for that honors degree in Biology.
Sexual tension: When a girl finds you attractive, especially when she’s known you for some time and you describe her as your “best friend”, it is possible that she just wants to make out with you without wanting to consume your soul. Take a deep breath and relax – let this new idea sink slowly into your consciousness.
Best friends: Spend time together especially when one has a life threatening disease. If you’ve succumbed to peer pressure and don’t hang out all that often for a year in spite of knowing she has cancer, it probably means you are not her best friend.
A cappella: A fun way to spend the evening unless you’re super depressed about something. Like your impending death.
Nicknames: If you chose your own nickname and further compounded matters by adopting it from The Brady Bunch, try not to admit it. Lie instead. God will understand.
Pagans: If you think your friend’s demonic possession was facilitated by her roommate’s mother paying obeisance to a pagan altar, then it’s only fair you blame yourself too because of your pagan Hindu family which is probably burning incense on your behalf as we speak.
McKinsey: Hey, you wanna play that game where we see how many people we know in common who worked there? it could be our desi bonding experience!
Fairy Tales: Appropriate for children. Adults somehow tend to pay more attention to things like snuggling on the bed.
Tardiness: is forgivable. Or I wouldn’t have any friends left. Also forgivable? Flaking on somebody as long they eventually come up with some explanation. Or I wouldn’t be a friend to half the people I’m friends with. These things are doubly true when a friend is sick because of a thing called:
Cutting some slack: It’s the Christian thing to do.
God: Works in mysterious ways. Will not answer prayers on demand. Shocking, I know.
911: Is more than a random series of numbers or a handy abbreviation for a tragedy (that was yet to occur at the time of this essay). Dialing that number will bring you things like an ambulance – a thing you want around you when your cancer-stricken best friend goes into convulsions on the floor and acts “strange”.
Hail Mary: I like it too! And I didn’t even attend convent school.
The internet: Has no secrets.