We're All Adults Here
A few days ago I let slip my age to co-worker. He was dumbfounded. His expression suggested that i was no longer the robust and youthful, nay, spry lad he once believed me to be but a decrepit has-been, an over-the-hill curmudgeon, in short, he thought I was old.
Now I don't believe I'm old. But I'm no spring chicken either. in fact I've come to the conclusion that somehow I've stumbled into adulthood. No I'm not on the PTA, and don't pay property taxes, I don't golf, and still listen to 'new' music. But I'm adult nonetheless. Reason #427?
A friend of mine whom I hung out with as an undergrad is officially a home-wrecker.
It's a long, complicated, tragi-comedic story of which I'll presently deliver the cliff-notes. Friend, let's call him 'Kevin', has always been a wise-ass. One of the funniest guys I have ever met, he could wheedle a conversation out of a stone. Kevin likes girls and pursues them in a way super-villains constantly quest for worthy super-heroes to do battle, i.e. he's always on the look-out for his presumed equal, if not better. Mostly because he enjoys a challenge, but possibly because he has a death-wish. hard to say. To illustrate, the following anecdote.
One of the few times I found myself in a bar as an undergrad, Kevin decided he was going to pick up a girl and get her to sleep with him by telling them he was terminally ill with cancer. Offensive? yes. Funny? I find it hilarious and am going to Hell. But the reason i find it hilarious, and the reason Kevin employed said tactic is what makes it funny.
No honest girl is going to sleep with a guy because they say they have cancer. The premise is ludicrous, no matter how good-looking the guy is, and Kevin is no slouch, or how powerful the rhetoric. The whole angle is a ruse. It's how the girl reacts you see. If she's offended? He didn't want to hook-up with a girl like that in the first place. No sense 'using' some 'good' girl for scandalous means. But if she laughs, or better, fires something equally witty/disturbing right back in his face? pay-dirt. Said girl might not/probably wouldn't mind a meaningless hook-up, after all Kevin is unofficially declaring his intentions and is not dissembling in any way. He may not be avoiding a long-term relationship because he's leaving the land of the living, but he is clearly showing off his early exit strategy.
And this was all well and good as an undergrad. Kevin didn't even hook-up all that much. He was a cocky and a braggart, but like most of Braggadocio's retinue, he also has a fair amount of insecurity. Unfortunately Kevin's undergraduate behavior hasn't come to an end. Here we are 5 years out and he's still up to old tricks. And here's where things get dicey.
Kevin's good friend, let's call him 'Fortinbras,' is a preposterously good-looking well-intentioned young man who graduated a year earlier than my class and promptly married while we were still sweating out our theses. Fortinbras set up a nice little home in Anonymous East-Coast City, got a good job at a good firm and things were going swimmingly. Then Kevin graduated (late) and moved to the same AECC Fortinbras had been living in for a few years. At the time Kevin was (and still is) dating a little spit-fire who gives as good as she gets. In other words, she knows exactly the type of man she is with and harbors no delusions he will reform or be corrected by her charming influence. I don't forsee a long-term relationship there, but they are both having fun, and i suppose no harm no foul.
Back out on the town Kevin and Fortinbras soon hook up and become best buds again, frequenting the bars and sowing shenanigans. Old habits die hard. K & F were lady-killers then and are lady-killers now. When Kevin last visited me he mentioned how guilty he felt, chatting up women and bird-dogging all the time right under their loved one's noses. To my knowledge (and K's admission) nothing ever comes of these flirtations, they remain just that. However Queen Fortinbras finally had enough. Unlike Lady Kevin, she won't stand for this sort of thing (and good for her) and as a result (after numerous wanrings, apparently) is divorcing Fortinbras. Serious business.
So it's not exactly like Kevin slept with Fortinbras' wife or anything. But he's still a home-wrecker, however indirectly. I mean i suppose a bulk of the blame falls squarely on F. He's the one who's married, not K. And if he really loved his wife he wouldn't just blithely ignore her frequent admonitions. We all design our own downfall, but Kevin didn't exactly keep his nose clean. I know he doesn't feel good about what happened. I learned all the above in a drunken phone message I woke up to a few days ago. Kevin rambled on about how he needed to talk to me (Yeah, you guessed it, I was the 'moral compass' everyone turned to in college, not because I was a goody-goody [which I plainly was] but because i was the only one who would listen and a) not laugh, and b) not tell anyone else) about serious things, as well as silly tangential topics like 'not understanding the Brothers Karamazov... how that crept into his brain patterns I can't fathom a guess, though it gives you a clear picture of Kevin, muddled and complex, drunk or not. At any rate after descending into less lucid mumblings, Kevin suddenly ends the message by reaffirming,
"Well, we're all adults here!"
And against my instincts and better judgment, yes, I suppose we are.