Social grace

My friend Joe and I were at a conference today.

We are both part of the coordinating team and were taking a break from setting up and sneaking out for a ciggie. I was bumming one and he was looking for a lighter. I had to make some conferencey phone calls so he was off on the fire starting mission.

As he was returning I saw a guy with a pack of cigarettes and asked him if I could borrow his lighter. He said “sure!”

Meanwhile, Joe comes up and says, “man I’m glad to see you!”
Guy: Oh yeah! It’s good to be back man!
Joe: Yeah, when did you get back?
Guy: Been back for a bit now man. Let me tell you, it was rough being in the front lines man! Saw a lot of action out there. Right in the middle of it.
Joe: Yeah, well it’s good that you made it okay.
Guy: I got a fat paycheck too.
Joe: That’s important, and you made it back…
Guy: Yeah, I know cause if I had all the money but was missing a leg that wouldn’t be that good.
Joe: I hear you.
Guy: We lost two in the company…
Joe and Thea: make appropriate sympathetic noises
Guy: All the guys I knew made it okay though. Let me tell you, you don’t want to mess with those homeboys
Joe: yeah that’s true
Guy: I’m just hoping to start back in school and all that y’know
Guy sees friend, hollers at friend and proceeds to chat with friend
Joe and Thea get up to go back inside
Joe: See ya man
Thea: Buh bye
Guy: yeah, good seeing ya

As we are walking down the hallway Joe looks behind us and turns to me and says:

“I was just glad to see him because he had a lighter. I have no idea who the fuck that dude was!!”

My jaw drops to the floor: “for real?”

Joe: “Yeah, I just thought it was cool he had a lighter, and then he just kept going on.”

I am not even embellishing this story (as Joe himself surely will when telling it). There are just moments in life that are too weird.

This is also one of the things that makes my friend so special. He had this whole conversation, and I was there, and I know Joe fairly well, and I couldn’t tell he wasn’t genuinely glad to see this guy back. I couldn’t tell he had no clue who this guy was. It might have been more honest to tell the guy that he was just happy for the lighter and move on, but Joe is just a friendly kind of guy in some ways.

Perhaps if I write enough nice things about him, he’ll even read my blog. 😉



  1. Apostrophe Said:

    This guy sounds like a consumate hypocrite, the type of person who can seem to be your best freind when you are there and then you turn around and he denies you (three times… [and then the rewster crows]). I mean, the guy with the lighter seems cool. He is pouring his heart out and this person is there just faking interest. What an a–hole.

    Do not be deceived by the hypocrites.

    P.S.: People who point out grammatical errors are a–holes.

  2. Comma Said:

    I think Joe did the right thing. Why should he make the soldier feel bad? How would you feel if you started talking about your experiences in life and the person that you are talking to suddenly stop you (rudely) and said that they didn’t know you? I wish that everyone was a little bit nicer like Joe, the world would be a better place…

    P.S.: Dylan rocks!

  3. Dieresis Said:

    Well, the world would certainly be more interesting!

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