In years past, I discovered a group of people who quickly became close friends. Two people specifically. Ed, and Kila. It didn't take long either. We shared the same interests and generally had the same sense of humor. And even though we did things that annoyed each other, though I can only speak for myself, we overlooked them because that's what friends do. But some things just never sat well with me. And apprently, some things never set well with Ed.
In the not so distant past, I lost two close friends. Ed, and Kila. This is the journey to the end.
So quick backstory. I met Ed and Kila at a shitty little game store across town when I was looking for a RPG group to join up with. There were several players, though only one other ever became friends of mine. I played a few sessions with them, even tried DMing with them, though that was as much a failure on my part as it was theirs. We quickly became friends, followed by close friends.
That's enough backstory.
I think I'll start with Ed. Yeah. The douche cannoe.
Anyways. It takes a special kind of person to set off my douche cannoe radar, but it's rarely wrong.
The first time it was set off, hewas spouting some nonsense about an issue with the shitty little game store across town. At the time, I assumed it was because he was as pissed as I was, but hind sight tells me otherwise. I don't remember exactly what was said, but the way he said it struck me as odd. Odd in that he was talking as if he was some sort of important person who commanded respect everywhere he went, yet he was dressed and acting like someone who lived day to day like the rest of us. At this time, I didn't know him well enough to see what the true problem was.
The second time it was set off was at his house. We were hanging out on the back porch, and we decided to make a fire. He had a bunch of old papers that we could burn, in addition to some logs. The problem was, he wouldn't let me take the papers out of their bags to burn properly, and instead threw them in the fire pit in a big pile. Needless to say, it didn't burn worth a shit. As in, at all. I tried to tell him we needed a bed of coals first, but nope, I didn't know what to do with a fire pit. (Side note: I've been building fires for decades and can get a fire started in situations where other people cannot.) I eventually quit mentioning the idea of using the fire pit, because every time I mentioned it, he blamed me for the "mess" he had to clean up.
I wish I could say my douche cannoe radar was only set off a few times, but I would be lieing.
There are a fewtimes it's been set off with Ed that are the most important.
The second most important instance was when Ed spouted off about where his money comes from. I never asked him because I didn't care. I don't pick friends because of money. I talked about work, he didn't. So what. Who cares. Apparently he did. He felt the need to show off his new Alienware gaming laptop, and when I said with all honesty "nice", the conversation changed slightly. It went from showing off a new toy, to plain bragging. As the conversation continued, I quickly grew tired of it. For the first time in our friendship, I was truly annoyed with him. I tried to politely tell him I don't give two shits about where his money comes from.
Tangent: If I were concerned with my friends having money, I would hang around people who are better off than he will ever be. One of my closest friends owns a LearJet 35, Cesna 152, Cesna 510, several high end cars...you get the point. Another friend owns two businesses and is constantly buying cars to mod them into really fast cars. And yet another close friend was CEO of a multi-billion dollar company, who I still go out to lunch with. I DO NOT give a shit about your money.
Nonetheless, Ed just had to tell me where his money came from. And that was truly the first time I considered breaking ties with him. I don't give a shit about money, and he wasn't just telling me where his comes from. He made it very clear that I wouldn't have the things he did, or could, because I didn't have a source of income like him. Honestly, I didn't talk to him for a few months after that one. And when I did talk to him again, it wasn't because he reached out to me, or me to him, it was because I reached out to Kila, who suggested we get together again.
The third most important instance is actually two parts.
Part one happened at the mall. There was a mix up with the order at the food court. The poor girl at the counter was on her own, her boss hadn't come in for whatever reason. The mix up was an honest mistake, and it was an easy fix. But rather than being reasonable, Ed said some extremely insulting things to the poor girl and walked away. Being the person I am, I waited until he has well out of ear shot and apologized to the poor girl. I stayed there waiting for the rest of the orders so that Ed wouldn't go back to the counter and make things worse. When I jumped his ass about it back at the table, he loudly proclaimed "I don't give a fuck what anyone thinks about me. If you don't like me you can go fuck yourself." Now at this point, you might be wondering why I didn't break things off at this point. That's a bit of a TL;DR, but it's simple: as his friend, I was willing to let it go unless it kept happening, and, he had been dealing with his ex-wife who always set him off, so I was half-willing to give him a soft pass. But still, he said it loudly and proudly. And it wasn't the only time he had said it, though the previous times had been in private. It was around this time that I started to really notice the change in him. His whole attitude was different, though I couldn't explain exactly what had changed.
Part two happened at AMACON, a local convention for...well, it's supposed to be for gamers, but all it really ammounts to is a vendor weekend. I digress. Ed had ordered a $15 game from a local game store, and when it came in, the manual was missing. Not trying to gloss over the details, rather than behaving like an adult, he proceeded to tell the store owner (who is a very good friend of mine) that he is a theif and a liar, apprently quite loudly. I first heard about it from an employee from a different game store (who was also at the con). When I met up with Ed a while later, he told me his version of what happened and told me I should avoid going to said store.
Tangent: Don't tell me who to associate with. Just who the hell do you think you are telling me something like that? And don't try to claim it was a simple statement between friends or a suggestion. My own parent's don't talk to me that way.
We were supposed to spend the entire day at the con and go out for food that evening. Nope. Ed was so "upset" that he left with the rest of his crew. I suggested I could call him when we were ready to go out later, but he just blew the suggestion off and left.
I really didn't have much to do with Ed, or Kila by proxy, after that. The few things we did were passe and bland. Mostly going out for low budget meals.
So it might surprise you to know that I happily attended Ed and Kila's wedding. Which, apparently is where things really de-railed between Ed and I.
I have a rule with everyone I meet. If you do something that pisses me off, I'm going to tell you so, ask you not to do it again, and if you make things right then it's done and over with. If you do it again, I'm probably going to blow you off. In return, I tell everyone I call a friend that if I do something that pisses you off, please tell me so I can make an honest effort to not do it again. I'm not going to bend over to take it in the ass without lube, because I believe in "to thine own self be true", but I will make an effort. If you choose to not tell me I've done something to piss you off, that's on you asshole. Don't hold it against me. I don't play political games. I don't play grudges. Either be honest with me, or get over it.
So at the wedding, there was a running joke. Kila had been going around saying "This is the first time we've done ____ as husband and wife!". It was cute and funny. Many people were making semi-crude remarks and suggestions along those lines, though nothing extreme as we were in a public setting.
I refuse to not be who I am, especially around my friends. While I won't go out of my way to be an asshole or crass, I see no reason I cannot be exactly who I am around my friends. So, me being me, as we were leaving, I said "Go enjoy your first boink as husband and wife.", which isn't anything worse than things I've said in the past to the both of them. Seriously, that's tame compared to other things I've said.
But herein lies the problem. It apparently pissed Ed off. Did he tell me it pissed him off? No. Did he tell me why it pissed him off? No. How did I find out about it? *sigh* A Facebook message from...Kila! "Please don't do that ever again. It really upset Ed. I don't want Ed upset." and other such ranting. He couldn't even be man enough to talk to me about it in person. Out of respect for our friendship(s), I called and appologized. Apparently, now that they are married, I can't joke like that any more.
Frankly, what the hell kind of logic is that? Not married, sure, say things like that, and worse. It's no big deal! Have fun! Be yourself! Married, fuck off with that shit and die. It still doesn't make sense.
At this point I really had no desire to be around either of them. That doesn't mean I still didn't consider them close friends, but just because we are close friends doesn't mean we can't be mad at each other. But the whole situation rubbed me wrong.
Tangent: A couple years ago, Ed's mom left her cell phone at a resturant while he was out of town. I got a call at 10pm from Kila asking if I could go to the resturant and pickup the phone to take to Ed's mom. I don't do this for just anyone. I dropped what I was doing, threw clothes on, and headed there in time to get the phone before the resturant closed.
So, nearly a year goes by. I haven't done much with either of them. I think in that year we got together maybe...twice?
So, the first most important instance is coming up. It's a whole bunch of things rolled into one, you'll see.
I get a call from Kila, not Ed, that they are going to be moving and wants to know if I can help. Certainly I can help. They're my friends after all. In getting things setup, Ed says that he is going to pay me/us, even though I've told him it's not necessary...because they are my friends. He insists, so I relent. What a glorious mistake that will turn out to be.
The whole time leading up to the move, Ed was constatly wanting to go over everything "to make sure we are on the same page". There were things that "nobody other than him" would touch, not even Kila, his wife, because he didn't trust anyone else to move them. Some of it I get. Family heirlooms, delicate models, stuff like that. Most of it though...I digress.
The day of the move, he started to piss me off with his rantings, and I told him plainly that he could either let me do my thing or he could do it on his own. Here's the thing. I've moved so many times in my life, its a secondary job of sorts. I can move pieces of furniture by myself that most people would need an army to move. I am extremely skilled at maximizing space to make sure everything that can go will. Taking things apart to get them through doors is second nature to me. I know my shit when it comes to moving. I certainly don't need a rookie telling me what to do. And I told him as much.
He accepted it and moved on. But you know those changes in his attitude I mentioned earlier? They were much more pronounced. Some of it was the "stress" of moving, and I accept that. But, there was something different.
I can honestly say, if I hadn't been there, Ed wouldn't have gotten the entire house (minus smalls) moved in two days like we did. Ed told me his father had done moving as a job once, but if Ed was around for it, he didn't pick very much up from it.
Which brings me to one of the major things that happened during the move. Ed has a nice, but average, 2000-something Mustang. It's nothing to brag about honestly. We needed to get it over to the new house, but the only people at the old house where Ed, his son, my son, and my daughter. Ed made it a point to say he would trust my daughter to drive the car but not my son because he didn't trust my son. He didn't trust my son because he likes to talk about racing fast cars, explosions, tanks, videos he saw of wrecks, and other such nonsense. He also didn't trust my son because his "squirrel" might go off. Ed KNOWS my son has ADHD. Hell, Ed went to college and got a useless degree for helping kids with special needs. And yet, he talked down on my son for the very reason he would have been teaching kids...
Had things not gone south, this would have been addressed directly.
So, the major move is over. Everything is in the new house. There were only two dings that happened during the entire move, and frankly, one of them could have been avoided if the people who were helping me had actually been helping me when I called out for help. I'm still pissed that it happened, but it could have been completely avoided.
Now comes the culmination of events.
We are sitting down, relaxing, enjoying the pizza that's been delivered. Yet again, I'm being myself, and I sarcastically say to Ed "Yer just jeallous that I gave her a better compliment.", referring to compliments that were being given to Kila about some furniture that had been assembled. For fucks sake man. Grow the hell up. Apparently, this comment "upset" Ed...again. Did he tell me it pissed him off? No. Did he tell me why it pissed him off? No. How did I find out about it? *sigh* A Facebook message from...Kila! Yeah....again. Another Facebook message from Kila. Only this time, it came with an unwarranted ultimatum.
"You are my best friend but if it comes between choosing whose side I'm on, I choose Ed every time."
I'll address this ultimatum in a little bit.
The ultimatum was followed by "This conversation is between you and me. Do not talk to Ed about it. I don't want him to get upset again.".
So....I'm not allowed to talk to the person who is pissed off over sarcasim...because he will get upset again? We can't handle the situation like rational adults? Are. You. Fucking. Serious.
Now is the time to bring Kila into this story. I'll skip over some of the details, because they overlap with events from above.
Just like Ed, I met Kila at the shitty little game store across town. It didn't take long to realize she has a big, kind heart, and want's to love everybody.
Her biggest failing is she's a follower. She's willing to let others take the lead and tell her what to do, what to think, what's right, what's wrong. She's afraid to be her own woman. Why that is, I'm not sure, but a lot of it has to do with her family life before I met her.
I always considered myself to be close to Kila. At one point, when she needed a friend, she and I were very close. Ed and Kila were dating, and Ed made a huge mistake by breaking up with Kila for another piece of ass that wasn't worth the time of day. As Kila's friend, I was there when she needed someone to talk to, someone to listen, and a shoulder to cry on. I know her secrets, and even though it does me no good to keep them still, I will, because I made a promise to her as a friend, and I'm not going to break that promise simply because she's chosen this path. And frankly, some of these secrets would end relationships, quickly.
I never had a single problem with Kila. As I said, she has a big heart and wants to love everybody.
But she too changed after their wedding. Whatever Ed said or wanted, that's how it was. It's astonishing to me just how quickly she assumed the role of being entirely submissive to him.
And then all of a sudden I couldn't be myself because I might upset Ed.
So shortly after the move was done, my calls to Ed were going unanswered, and my calls to Kila were going straight to voicemail.
After the ultimatum, I told them both plainly.
The fact that either of them felt the need to tell me who's on who's side is a travesty. It's obvious neither of them know what travesty means, because they both took it as an attack.
Do us a favor, get educated.
Shortly after that, after making a few attempts to resolve the apparent issues, all my calls started going to voicemail, and I was blocked on Facebook. Let's get something straight right now. I don't give a shit about being friends on Facebook. Add me. Don't add me. Block me. Whatever. But it's pretty damning in this era that all of a sudden I'm blocked on Facebook.
Being the person I am, I removed myself from the pages that Ed forgot about. Not to mention the alternate Facebook accounts... Not to mention Twitter... Yeah, they did a real good job cleaning house.
Unlike them however, I'm not going to block them. I removed their numbers from my phone, but they can call any time.
Looking back, I realize now exactly what my relationship with Ed has been.
I've always been looked down upon. Despite claims otherwise, I've never been a friend, an equal. Despite the acts of goodwill, I was always below your status.
Frankly, go fuck yourself. And don't for a second think I wouldn't say this in person. I'm not so callous as to show up un-announced at your house to has this out. But if you ever grow a spine and stop running away from this, don't think I'm going to hold back.
Do you realize that over the time of our friendship I can count on one hand the number of times you called me to hang out? That should have been a warning about your true nature. The only time you reached out was when you needed something.
And then let's not forget the time you started barking orders about Innovative Rom Solutions. I offered to help you as a friend with things like the website and getting it all setup and working. You told me in no uncertain terms that I would be at the first and only booth you ever setup. When I called you out on it, you had a sudden realization that...oh shit...I wasn't that into the project. Arrogant is too polite a word... This should have been a warning about your true nature.
We could also discuss your relationship with my son. You were border line a few times, but you figured out quickly that you had better back off. That doesn't change the fact that you were dismissive and condescending to him the entire time you knew him. You went to college to help kids like him, but it was all a farce. You never once took a moment to befriend him. You belittled him, but wisely stopped short of calling him anything stupid in my presence. I'm probably not wrong in assuming you said those things when we weren't around.
And I'm calling you out. I'm calling you on your denial that your own son doesn't have ADHD or similar issues. There is nothing wrong with being wired, but denying that he has it because "no teacher has ever said they suspect he has any issues" is absoulte bullshit. You pulled him out of public school because neither he nor you could handle the traumas of publich education. So how the hell would any teachers beable to tell you they suspect he might have issues? What the hell kind of logic is that? You are so embarassed by the idea that he might need help because you are so vastly more intellegent than the rest of us you couldn't possibly have a son who needs help. Talk about a travesty...
As I look back, you have been a classic abuser. You can do no wrong. Everything that happens is none of your concern. If people don't like how you act, it's their problem. If people don't like what you have to say, they can "go fuck themselves". You like to surround yourself with people who are sheep. The more you can control people, the more you get off on it. Well guess what ass clown...I'm not a follower. I'm not a sheep. We can debate who's more intellgent all you want. I know the answer to that question.
It's pretty clear at this point. Our association has run it's course. The odds of you making piece with me are virtually zero. I won't be a dick in public, but don't expect a warm response, and do expect that if you act like your typical self I'll respond accordingly.
And you Kila...I promised to keep your secrets, and I will. But that makes it impossible for me to say what I truly feel about this whole ordeal. Despite how you've ended things, I still respect my promise to you. I wouldn't be much of a man if I broke my promise simply because you chose sides.
Much like to Ed, I won't be a dick in public. But don't think that if you see me at someplace like AMACON or YC3 that running up to hug me and saying "HI!" will fix this.
There are other things I would say, but I've covered the major points. Maybe someday I'll revisit this topic, but I doubt it.
I am who I am. I've always been transparent about that. You know damn well you can talk to me if I've done something to make you mad. But you've chosen to take an epic swan dive when falling from being decent human beings. Rather than being honest, you've been petty.
Such a travesty. A travesty of friendship. A travesty of your marriage. So many travesties.