There are few people in this world as lucky as I am.
I’ve got a friend whom I’ve known for more than two decades. I’ve literally known him longer than I didn’t know him.
For those of you who watched LOST (and you really should have, if you didn’t), he’s been my constant. He should like the term at least, just because he’s Mr. Scientist and all that. (Getting back to LOST, there’s actually a Desmond Hume/Daniel Faraday parallel in our ways of thinking.) The highest compliment Mike ever paid me was when he said I would have been a good scientist. Trust me, that’s such high praise I practically had to sit down. Especially from the curator of nearly every piece of art I’ve ever produced. Pretty awesome.
The world outside ourselves exists in a state of balance. I’m not restricting the definition of ‘world’ to our manic little planet, either. I’m going with the more traditional take on the word. The universe. Existence. It’s all about balance.
I know it seems I’ve diverged from the topic here, but stay with me for another moment.
Chaos and Order
Chaos is the rule of the day if you look at the daily operations of life. Particles colliding into each other continually, antimatter discharged in thunderstorms, uprisings and unacknowledged wars waged on a daily basis, tornadoes devastating major urban centers, reporters banned from press pools for having flip cams and reality TV stars punking media-message-obsessed presidents (no link necessary, it’ll be on Oprah).
It’s all pretty crazy, but when you step back and take the longer view you realize that there’s still a balance to it. Order is applied to the overall equation as each action has an equal and opposite reaction. We may not like how the equation balances, but it does.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but Mike has been that universal order applied to a very chaotic friend. He’s always been far wiser than his years and more than willing to share that wisdom with someone who lacked a great deal of it. Through all of my most self-destructive moments, Mike was ready to patch up the ship to keep it from sinking. I suppose in exchange he got to satisfy scientific curiosity to see what insanity I’d attempt next.
More than that, though, he’s been someone whom I can trust explicitly, implicitly and every other icitly you can imagine. He knows dark, terrible secrets that he’s never shared with anyone. He laughs at dark, terrible stories that should have ended with, “and then he got beaten severely.”
There are times when I’m ashamed by how much I’ve relied on him. Not once has he made me feel like the ass hat I know I can be. I’m convinced that after his experiences with me over the last 20 years, he could shepherd rabid dogs. With bazookas (both them and him).
One step further, he’s a more intelligent and thoughtful friend than I deserve. Guys will often refer to another friend as their “bro” or their “brother,” but with Mike I consider him blood.
(Funny story – years ago the two of us were speculating, as we are still wont to do, about creating the perfect being by having our theoretical kids get hypothetically married and we both paused because we thought of it as incest, then had to remind ourselves we were not, in fact, related genetically. I think that’s a pretty defining story about our friendship.)
There have been those who completely misinterpreted my loyalty to Mike. They know who they are and they hopefully will reflect at some point to realize what that silliness reflected about their own psyche. They’re the same sort of people who “see things” that don’t exist between Frodo and Sam in The Lord of the Rings; what a mark on our culture that we refuse to see anything as pure anymore. I shudder to think how Spock and Kirk would be regarded if Star Trek were on TV for the first time now.
Except of Course, “Happy Birthday”
Surely, the best of times.
I have never had it in my ability to thank Mike adequately for everything he’s been. All I can say is, I am proud to have been, and always shall be, his friend.
Happy birthday, buddy. One of these days I might remember to get you a card. Or a gift. Or something.