If you ever wonder whether or not you have true friends, I’ll offer a litmus test; don’t see or talk to some for 10 years. Then, randomly, pick a night to go out to dinner/drinks with them and, if after all that time, you can sit down and pick up as if you saw each other yesterday, it is safe to say that you have some true friends.
Last night I did just that with some guys I went to college with. The bonds of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity made us brothers (gasp) almost two decades ago and this bond is as strong as ever!
Given that my job as a marketing consultant is a lifestyle job (i.e. there is a very blurry line between my professional and private lives) and that I am an active father of eight-year-old triplets, I don’t make the time to see old friends as much as I would like. This is unfortunate given that most of these guys live within a 12-mile radius of my home and some are literally right around the corner. Even though family life and professional responsibilities take priority, it is still important to maintain these old friendships. Every now and then you need to relive the old days while, at the same time, create new memories.
Seated with me at the table were the following (referred to by nickname only) Conan, Sloth, Zach Daddy, Big D, Slaw, and Po. A cast of characters indeed! During our time together, we of course played the “remember when” game and had the opportunity to catch up on more current events; what our kids are into, what we do for work, etc.
After being kicked out of a restaurant in Norwalk at 10 pm, we found ourselves looking for a place where we could extend the evening. We wound up at the Ash Creek Solution; one of those places I have passed a thousand times but never entered. What appeared to our wandering eyes as we entered this fine establishment? Karaoke night in full swing! Couple that with the fact that everyone in that place seemed to know each other and we immediately felt like the odd men out. We immediately knew that this was a world that we could not break into so we went off in the corner and had our final beer.
One by one each of us left citing either having to get up early with the kids in the morning or having to get to work earlier than usual as our primary alibis for leaving (mind you, these thoughts never crossed our minds 20 years ago when leaving Yellow House, Huskies, Teds, or the Upper Deck). As such, I was struck with two sobering (literally and figuratively) thoughts: 1. It is possible for men with nicknames like Conan, Sloth, and Slaw to grow up and 2. Our alcohol consumption has dropped by 110% over the time we have known each other.
Neither of these points are negative, just surprising to anyone who knew us 20 years ago at the University of CT.