Disclaimer: This entire post is about something that happened in high-school, or post-high school. Names are fictitious but the stories are real. The main purpose of this blog is to chronicle my experiences, but at the same time, I am forced to play ‘catch-up’ with memories of the past. I’ve always been a fan of history, more of the stories than the names and dates. So, I think that writing them down is a way of dealing with them. All of these situations are far in the past, and if I met any of the people in these stories in real life, I would be civil.
Also, I’m thinking of doing an entire series like this, where I analyze and dissect interactions such as these. I think it would help me spot some of my own flaws, maybe help others, and possibly entertain others as well. What do you think? Too whiney? Or good entertainment? Let me know.
Other posts in this series:
Part 1: The Biatch
Part 2: The Wannabe Redneck
Part 3: The Necromancer and the Caliwhornian
Part 4: The Spaz
Part 5: Jay-Z
Part 6: The Bimbo
Part 7: The Psycho
Part 8: The Yes Man
Part 9: D-Bow and the Besh
Part 10: The Dominican Diva
I have already formulated an exceptionally long introduction to these torrid, dramatic posts here, in Part 1, so please read over it before judging. I could have copy-and-pasted it here, but that seems tacky.
Also, just a warning: some people, in the past, have accused me of ‘being dramatic’ or ‘living in the past.’ Looking over some of these old posts, and my old actions, yes, some of the things I said were long-winded, and yes, some of my words were hurtful. At the time, (and to a large degree, currently) I maintain that I tried my best to be a rational, good friend to them. Sometimes I blathered on in making my case, but I truly wanted to remain friends with most of these people.
If anything, I was a bit too passionate (which some people might synonymize with dramatic I suppose). I expected people to be rational. I tried to either help my friends avoid unpleasant situations or make them better people, and above all, I hoped they all valued friendship as much as I did. We were all young, mistakes were made on all sides, and I shouldn’t have set the bar as high as I did. Simply put, people aren’t perfect. These experiences helped me weed out a few rotten, false friends and made me a better judge of character; thanks to them, I know what true friends are, and have accumulated a small circle of ‘real people’ who I can trust and who trust me.
With that introduction, I bring you the story of
It was the summer before my senior year in college. I was young and still naive about many things. I was still developing myself, trying to interact with people on a real level, rather than the cold, distant person who I embodied for much of my existence.
To recap my previous posts, I was hanging out with a good group before that summer, colloquially known as “The Flea Market Brigade.” There was D-Bow, a largish baldy. We shared the same kinds of humor, a love of video games, flea markets, and the absurd.
There was Marmalade, D-Bow’s cousin. He was about two years younger, the nicest guy you could meet. Good with the ladies, good at soccer, kinda flaky but nice.
There was Chip, a muscular guy who loved beer, stories, spinning yarns, and just chilling. We usually met in his house, or his garage, where we could drink freely.
And there was The Hump, who needs no introduction.
After I graduated from college, I had no idea I would be doing. I had a few nebulous ideas: maybe the military? Peace Corps? I didn’t know if I would remain in my hometown, a mid-sized yet isolated American city, or venture out into the great unknown. Korea wasn’t yet on my radar at the time, but I was a little anxious. It could be my last real summer vacation, like, ever.
In essence, I wanted to explore. My town has a lot of history, and despite having every summer for the past twenty years off, I didn’t have the car, the motivation, the money, or the experience to explore my area. From my sister, I learned about a lot of interesting places to go. Museums, parks, abandoned buildings, swimming holes, hiking trails, restaurants, day trips, etc.
I wanted to do a lot of stuff, but there was a hitch. D-Bow, Chip, and Marmalade had part-time jobs and a lot of time. But they had a new friend. I only heard a legend about him; about how they got a keg, had a house party, and trashed his place. His parents heard that there was a break-in, despite the fact that the revelers randomly broke dishes and lawn furniture, with their new friend even emailing the furniture company, claiming “frost damage,” and receiving a new set of chairs (insurance fraud).
He was short, pale, with a big head. D-Bow often quipped that he looked like a pedophiliac, or a ‘Fetal Alcohol Syndrome poster child.’ With my sense of rationality, I couldn’t bring myself to make fun of him simply for his looks.
D-Bow hated this guy, and I didn’t understand it at first, but eventually it became clear.
He was a Yes Man, but only for certain people.
Everything Chip wanted to do, he wanted to do. Chip wanted to drink, he wanted to drink. Being my oldest friend, Chip wanted to go to Wing Night, so The Yes Man wanted to go, too. (It was during the Ooh-Ooh Bird! era.) I didn’t really have a problem with him; he wasn’t really a close friend. I’d just met the guy, but D-Bow was insistent. “Ghost, this guy is really bad!” he’d frequently say, desperately insisting with his eyes and tone of voice.
I noticed how he would always follow Chip, always believe Chip’s tall tales no matter what; but to be honest it didn’t really affect me.
Things turned ugly very quickly though.
Where to start, really?
D-Bow was constantly whispering in my ear about how bad it was, how he treated us like idiots and treated Chip like a god. The Yes Man countered, saying that he shouldn’t have to be everyone’s best friend, he should have one best friend and many good friends.
They both made fair arguments and I couldn’t choose between them. In hindsight, they were both shitty friends to even make me choose. The balance tipped when The Yes Man started treating me like he treated D-Bow.
An example: We all decided to meet. The Yes-Man wanted to meet me earlier and hang out, as I was unemployed at the time.
He lived much farther north than Chip and D. I follow his shitty directions, and end up parking in an empty lot, in full view of the highway, with car containing maybe $2,000 worth of stuff. My laptop, camera, and several other expensive things are trapped in my shitty GEO Tracker. After the gym, he gets on the highway…and forgets all about my car. We’re rushing to Chip’s to see a midnight movie premier.
“Um, what about my car?”
“Oh, I forgot. It’s alright, we can get it after the movie.”
I panicked, of course. My sister has told me tales of being locked out and easily jigging the door with a coat hangar or a pocket knife.
After arriving at Chip’s, I was able to convince D-Bow to immediately leave again to get my car, with the promise of a Dr. Pepper in return. The ride there was largely silent, at times punctuated by awkward snippets about what a crappy situation it was and the looming specter of what The Yes Man had done.
Long story short, we made it to the movie in time, and no one broke into my car in the meanwhile.
Another example: Before going on study abroad, I wanted to go to a local amusement park. It’s a nice, leisurely drive. I wanted to go there and spend some time with my friends before a 6:00 AM flight the next day. The plan was to get there early, then go back to my house for homemade pizza. I was looking forward to it greatly.
The Yes Man offered to drive. He then politely asked if we can bring booze. It’s not allowed in the park, but I begrudgingly said yes.
Around this time, The Yes Man had begun de-emphasising Chip. Apparently one of Chip’s tales was too tall for The Yes-Man to see over. On a family trip to Maryland, The Yes Man believed Chip when Chip said that he owned a few houses down there. (I mean, come on!) When this falsehood was uncovered, he called out Chip, they had a big fallout, and The Yes Man moved on to his next target: D-Bow’s cousin, Marmalade.
Anywho, it’s me, D-Bow, Marmalade, The Hump, and The Yes Man. We finally get there, stopping at a family restaurant and a random flea market on the side of the road. I’m really amped up and happy to be there. We enter the park, and that’s where everything goes downhill.
First, The Yes Man demands that we chug our beers in the car. This makes me uncomfortable for a few reasons, not the least of which are the moving and spinning rides. Yet, I wanted my friends to have fun, so I complied.
Instead of buying ride tickets, we bought day passes. The Yes Man claims he bought mine (he later claimed that he also bought lunch, which is a lie), but I think it was D-Bow instead. In short,
- Ride tickets are pay-as-you-go, BUT
- Day passes are unlimited and last all day.
I posited that this wasn’t wise. We had to leave early in the evening, as I had to catch a plane early the next day. Why not just pay per ride and leave early? Heck, the tickets don’t expire and we can use them next time.
The Yes-Man responded that, hey, we’re having fun, why don’t we stay until it closes? Ten PM?
I was flustered. On one hand, I was glad that they were having fun, but very worried about my flight the next day. I eventually talked it down to eight. Angry, I refused to confront him there due to our mutual friends (and the fact that he was driving, after all).
Rushing home, I didn’t even get to my house until 10:30. I was pissed, but there was nothing I could do about it. It would have been useless to confront anyone, because that would cast a pall over their summer and my monthlong trip. I resolved to let the issue wait until I returned.
When I returned, I wanted a real trip. I wanted to make up for what had happened on that day. I wanted a fun event where there were no deadlines, where I could have more control over what happened. So, I made an event on FB. Surprisingly, I could still find it. It was quite spartan but got the message across.
I’ve edited out most names, other than Chip and D-Bow.
Ambitious, definitely. I wanted to go to three flea markets, an amusement park, and finish the day with a drive-in movie.
It’s probably no surprise that so few people were able to attend. The second comment is from Chip. The Yes-Man and D-Bow helped him move, and The Yes Man cancelled going the day before. He was supposed to be D-Bow’s ride to my house, so D-Bow couldn’t go either. It was a forty-minute drive (in the other direction) to his house, and he didn’t want me to pick him up.
In hindsight, the initial trip was my idea (and goodbye party), but The Yes Man wanted to change it to be about him. When I made an event that was more geared towards my style, he backed out.
The final incident occurred after Chip became supremely pissed. The Yes Man had tried to confront Chip and Mama Chip about Chip’s pathological yarns and he was unceremoniously cut off from Chip’s life.
I was at college at the time. By this point I was tired of all the drama. Whenever I wanted to do something, I was shot down, or worse, ignored. I firmly believe that friends should help each other and do things together. Yet, every single thing we did that summer was something that The Yes-Man wanted to do. Feeling excluded, I resolved to make the next summer different, which led to more problems with D-Bow. But more about that later…
Now that Chip (and D-Bow, who had been harboring animosity towards The Yes Man for some time) were cut off, The Yes Man began calling me. Frequently. Whereas he had merely viewed me as a supporting actor, now I became the key to getting back into good graces with Chip and the gang. I offered what advice I could and tried to be polite, but secretly I was angry for being used like that.
In the meanwhile, The Yes Man was working on Marmalade as well. Creepily, he referred to Marmalade as his ‘son’ and bought him a brand new video game, far removed from any holidays, birthdays, or celebrations. He then bought himself the same game and a brand new video game system system, just to play it with him.
The Yes Man even quit his job. His reason for doing so (official reason, mind you, that he gave to his former employer) was that he “wanted to spend more time with [his] son.”
Learning about this, I was angered. I told The Yes Man that his real problem was promising to do things, and then backing out at the last minute. I sent him a long, drawn-out email, with a list of everything he had done wrong. I told him that it was unfair of him to ignore everything I say, and then pretend to be my friend simply to be friends with other people.
The tipping point came when I said that I myself had a few problems with his behavior. He said that, “Yeah, I can’t wait to talk to you, improve your friendship, etc.” I knew he was lying as soon as he said that. I called him at the appointed time (that he appointed) and he said, “Hey, yeah, I’m going to work now.”
After my email, I was accused of ‘living in the past’ and ‘focusing on trivial things.’ He accused me of bullying, forcing my friends to do what I wanted to do. He was angry, and said that I tried to make that day at the amusement park “all about me.” (To be fair, that day was my going away party.)
However, these things weren’t trivial to me. They were all, in fact, important to me, but because they weren’t important to The Yes Man, he declared they were trivial.
The Yes Man eventually did make up with Chip and became friends with him somewhat, but by this time, Marmalade was his big target. The Yes Man promised to give Marmalade his old car and continued to shower him with money, gifts, and affection. It was during this time that he quit his second job.
It wasn’t destined to last. One day, Marmalade’s girlfriend called him. The Yes Man angrily asked Marmalade, “Who was that?” Most of us now believe that he was somewhat jealous of Marmalade’s girlfriend and the attention that she stole from him. Marmalade, sick of The Yes Man slighting his girlfriend, said, “Oh, my Mom.”
To save money, both Marmalade and The Yes-Man were on the same phone plan at the time. The Yes Man checked his phone records, saw that Marmalade lied, and was passive-aggressively furious. As the owner of the account, he cancelled Marmalade’s cell phone service. To add insult to injury, he pulled all of this one Marmalade’s birthday. Marmalade was furious, and The Yes-Man, seeing what a hole he had dug, repeatedly apologized, even going as far as to buy Marmalade a full-size trampoline the day after the incident.
However, the damage was done. Marmalade’s girlfriend was never a fan of The Yes Man. One ultimatum from her, and it was over. Marmalade repented, told D-Bow and I that he was a completely different person around The Yes Man. Chip and The Yes Man drifted apart, and I haven’t seen or hear from him since.
In the short term, The Yes Man made it much harder for me to trust Chip and almost ripped D-Bow’s family asunder. The last time he was mentioned, Chip merely said, “He doesn’t come around anymore” to which I replied, “Good.” The Hump said that he saw him at a bar, and despite the fact that The Yes Man never had an issue with The Hump, The Hump was ignored. Apparently The Yes Man still looks like a molester though.
What I Learned
Basically, I should have just left him alone. If I ignored him or just listened to him there would have been far less drama. Instead, I wrote him a long, damming email. Truth is, people won’t change unless they want to. If you tell someone he’s being an asshole, he’s just going to scream at you. He’ll only change his behavior if he recognizes that it’s wrong and wants to change himself. My email was futile.
The Yes-Man was pranked repeatedly by D-Bow and Chip. Due to the email, I was blamed, and The Yes Man threatened me with legal action via a friend-of-a-friend, allegedly ‘just to scare me.’ I’ll admit, it worked a bit and it was a concerned for some time. If I had never confronted him so completely, he would still be out of everyone’s lives, due to his own asshattery, and I would be sans some stress.
Now, over two years after the incident, the statute of limitations has expired. Since The Yes Man has not gone to the police, he cannot press charges against me or my friends, and I can feel comfortable telling this story. I learned to leave these people – especially the seemingly unhinged ones – alone, and not to provoke them.