Friday, December 20, 2013

The Four Types of Childhood Friends

I feel like childhood friends can be categorized in one of four categories.

The Best Friends: These might not actually be your "best friend" but they are the ones you will continue to hang out with throughout life. Even if it's just meeting up once a year for a beer or an email.

These are the friends that hundreds of sitcoms and movies have been written about. Inevitably at some point, you have that, "We've grown apart" fight and then later in the film, when the protagonist is in trouble, his old best friend shows up to save the day. They smile at each other, say some great one liner, and then shake hands. Beers for everyone.

The Extra: When you were children, you probably hung out with this person a few times. Maybe they were on your baseball team. Heck, maybe you even spent the night at their house and had rad Nintendo 64 parties. But, you stopped hanging out. Now they are relegated to background players in some foggy memories you have.

The Eddie Haskell: This was a nickname my dad gave to one of my friends in particular. They are the type that always come over saying, "Hello Mr. Father, Hello Mrs. Mother. My you are looking good today."

Parents always think they are up to no good because their politeness is unsettling. Usually they are completely harmless. Unfortunately, all parents' eyes are on them while the last type of childhood friend runs free.

The Psychopath: A book I just finished reading made me think of this person.

This person is usually that person that you say their first and last name when telling stories about them. Their name is usually five or more syllables long and even if the person you are telling the story to doesn't know the Psychopath, they immediately know they are the psychopath by the name alone.

For me, this person was Johnny Condominium. (That's not his real name, just an approximation. I don't need this psychopath Googling his name and then coming for me.)

I always think of one story to sum this person up.

It was the summer around sixth grade. Johnny, my Eddie Haskell friend, and I were in Eddie's backyard shooting BB Guns. We were doing normal boy stuff. Filling soda cans with water and shooting them. Shooting army guys. Cursing like sailors.

Johnny sees some birds on the power lines and immediately goes to a prone position and crawls through the grass. Eddie and I stare at him in silence and disbelief. I can't speak for Eddie, but my stomach was sick just thinking about what we do if he hit a bird. There's no way a BB would kill it. It would probably injure it enough for us to have to put it out of it's misery.

Eddie tried calling out to Johnny to find out what he was doing, but he put a little extra umph in his question. I think he secretly was hoping the birds would scare away.

Johnny looked back and gave the international symbol for "shut the hell up." He took careful aim and fired a couple BBs. Luckily Johnny missed the birds. (Thank you for that terrible side shot the BB gun had) When he started pumping the gun back up so he could shoot some more, the birds flipped out and left.

When my family moved away from Bellefountaine Neighbors I lost touch with Johnny. Every now and then he would pop up in a story. They usually started with, "I ran into Johnny's mom at the grocery store..."

The last I heard about him was a vague story about how he sort of choked a girl at his bus stop in high-school and was sent to a boarding school.

If I had to guess, Johnny is probably wearing some poor victim's skin as a house robe while listening to Huey Lewis and the News records.