I have a friend who is a compulsive liar. A good friend, I enjoy his company and I would say I even love him as a friend. But its starting to get annoying. Yesterday he tried to tell me that he sold a watch for 1.4 million dollars over ebay. Like please. The worst part is that he does it all of the time, like stupid stuff and he contradicts himself. He once tried to tell me that his father died when he was eight years old but he has a tat with his fathers initials and the year of his birth and death on it and he died two years ago. Its so retarded. I wonder what tends to be under behavior like that, psychologically I mean. I will have to do some research and maybe node it. I think it is probably so that people will like him. But its not like he isn't a pretty amazing person to begin with. I suspect that it probably has to do with insecurity, self-rejection and a lack of self-esteem, or maybe it is a fear of rejection, I think that’s it. "if I give them a front then they aren't really rejecting me" The irony of it, if that's the case is that he has lost friends over his lying. Which just makes it that much dumber. I want to say some thing but I want it to be constructive. I want to help him heal not drive him away or hurt him more. I mean I love him despite the lying. And the lying just makes it harder to get to know him. I am the opposite. I have trouble letting words come out of my mouth unless they are the most accurate representation of what I know to be the truth that I can come up with. In fact I will some times come out with incredibly complex, deep answers to relatively simple seeming questions. Just because the answer I want to give is the real complete truth as I have come to it. It fucks with some people. It used to fuck with my dad because I couldn't answer some questions he asked because the simple answer he was looking for didn't do it. Sometimes there wasn't a good accurate answer to the question, and the over simplified answer he was looking for was only half true. I don't get the sense that my friend is lying to manipulate, control or hurt me because I couldn't tolerate that. That's how I got to hate lying so much in the first place. My family has done that to me my whole life (fuck them). I suspect that, that is why I am so good at conveniently ignoring his lies as well, as I have had so much practice at it. Oh well I had to vent. Thanks for listening it was very kind of you, I don’t have many good listeners in my life that’s probably why I use the day logs so much. The relationship is in the process of becoming therapeutic and I hope things will improve. Also he has stopped doing a lot of the things that were hurting him spiritually in the first place. Anyways if you have any thoughts on compulsive liars let me know.

I drove into the back parking lot of the Assisted Living Facility this morning and noticed a gaggle of nurses and aides standing by the lake. I waved to them, wondering vaguely what they were doing there, and went into the building for my daily visit with my mother.

Once inside, I remembered that I had forgotten something in the car and turned to go out again. An aide rushed past me as I exited the building and I heard one of the women on the lake shore call,

"Hurry up, Maggie, my radio said it just went up!"

"Of course," I thought, "the shuttle. It was supposed to launch this morning." Thick clusters of live oaks surround the parking lot; the women were waiting by the lake where they would have an unobstructed view of the sky.

As I crossed the parking lot to my car I scanned the sky over the lake. Nothing. Then I turned and looked to the south, in the direction of Cape Canaveral. Suddenly a cigar shape, shining in the sun, burst into view. Discovery!

"Hey!" I called. "There it is, over the dumpster area, about halfway between the treetops and the sun."

Discovery continued to rise majestically, pure gold in the sunlight, its vapor trailing behind it. Then it disappeared behind a cloud and appeared again a few seconds later, higher in the clear blue space over Florida.

There were "Ohs" and "Ahs" from the lakeside group and one woman said, fervently, "Isn't it beautiful!"

Another cloud, and when the shuttle appeared again it had turned east-southeast. We could no longer distinguish the length of it, just a diminishing dot and two white lines against the blue.

That was it. A successful launch. But the day remained special for every resident of Central Florida. Once again, our shuttle was up.

The First 20000 Nodes
- or -
Part 2 of What to do if you've got too many votes on your hands

The First: 20000 - 30000 - 40000 - 50000 - more recent stats can be found on the E2 Annex

While most noders consider a node to be a writeup or collection of writeups, the word node as used below includes e2nodes (nodeshells), writeups, superdocs, users (homenodes) and usergroups as well as more unknown nodetypes such as containers, dbtables, htmlcodes, htmlpages, image nodes, mail nodes, maintenance nodes, nodelets, nodeletgroups, and nodetypes.

The following is an examination of the first 20000 nodes. I gathered this data by writing a very simple program that used E2's XML interface to download basic information about each node and save the info so that I could calculate the statistics below. You may ask, "How did you get the upvotes, downvotes, and reputations for all of these writeups?" To that I answer you - the old fashioned way - I voted on them. There are actually very few (relatively speaking) writeups to vote on within the first 20000 node_id's - in fact there is very little of anything useful for your average noder there. Over half of those nodes have been deleted because they were low quality, superseded, or simply not needed any more (thanks for your hard work editors).

As might be expected, the first 20000 nodes really show both the history and mechanics of the wonderful site we call Everything2. Since many (all?) of these nodes were imported from E1, they really do not reflect the current standards or norms we have come to know. For example, Brian Eno by nate is not something that would be allowed to stay if a newbie posted it, but if you read the First node on everything (also by Mr. Oostendorp) you will note that this little node was the first writeup ever on Everything. It's a little like that first dollar bill a new business hangs on their wall. It would be a shame to see it go. You'll learn a lot of interesting things if you start voting from node_id #1 (okay, here's a hint - you can't actually vote on anything until node_id #10156). You'll see many things (and (person)s, (place)s, and (idea)s) that not many people have seen. For example, I found an early E1 writeup that was imported to E2 in November 1999, and it was never voted on (mine was the first). Unfortunately, you'll also read a lot of crap (that writeup from 1999 had a reputation of -1 when I was done with it).

Please keep in mind when looking below that the information only considers the first 20000 nodes (except where specified). Obviously there are writeups with more than 7 C!s, dem bones doesn't really have a merit of 83, and more than 259 users have logged in since the start of the year, but I haven't downloaded and/or voted on every node yet. This is a current look at some historical nodes, and does not focus on the New Writeups nodelet as many of us are used to. Also, I understand that many people will look at the users and writeups linked below and vote on many of them. This information was current when I posted it and will probably change quickly. It was gathered over the course of several weeks, and then later updated after I voted on everything. All data is accurate as of July 25, 2005.

Without boring you further, here's the statistics and lists I came up with. I plan on dayloging the information again once I get to 30000. Let me know if there are any other interesting stats you might want to see, and I'll work on them if possible.

A little nodevertising: If you find these lists and stats interesting, you might like my E2 Link and Logger Client which creates similar reports based on your writeups that you can put on your homenode.

General Node Statistics

Noding Speedometer1,2:     33.36 nodes per day.
(At this rate, the 40000th node should be created at 7/4/2001 9:16:11 PM)

Node Type     Count  Percent  Comments
none          8316   41.580%  (deleted nodes)
user          7995   39.975%
e2node        2650   13.250%
writeup        827    4.135%
htmlcode        61    0.305%
htmlpage        36    0.180%
nodetype        27    0.135%
unknown         20    0.100%  (Permission Denied)
dbtable         16    0.080%
nodelet         15    0.075%
container       11    0.055%
superdoc        10    0.050%
maintenance      5    0.025%
nodeletgroup     4    0.020%
usergroup        3    0.015%
nodegroup        2    0.010%
mail             1    0.005%
image            1    0.005%  (noisy sunset)
Total        20000  100.000%

Nodes with the Longest Titles9

1.) Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (51)
2.) Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol (49)
3.) Gdel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid (43)
4.) University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (42)
5.) Dammit Jim, I'm a doctor not a bricklayer! (42)

Nodes with the Shortest Titles

There are 13 nodes of length 1

User Statistics

Users Seen in 2005:          259
Users not seen since 2004:   187
Users not seen since 2003:   269
Users not seen since 2002:   317
Users not seen since 2001:   441
Users not seen since 2000:   453
Users not seen since 1999:    37
Never logged into E2:       6032 (imported from E1)
Total Users:                7995

The following statistics were calculated considering 'all users' and all 'active users'. In this case, an active user is anyone who has logged in since January 26, 2005 (about 6 months ago).

Users by Level

Level      All Users   Active Users
Level 1:        7678            101
Level 2:          99             25
Level 3:          93             43
Level 4:          42             25
Level 5:          20             15
Level 6:          21             11
Level 7:          17             11
Level 8:           5              5
Level 9:          10              7
Level 10:          4              3
Level 11:          4              4
Level 13:          2              2
Totals:         7995            252

Oldest Users1,2

All Users                            Active Users
1.) CmdrTaco (1998-03-23 20:20:43)   1.) Kurt (1998-03-30 21:37:49)
2.) Robman (1998-03-29 13:45:37)     2.) thefez (1998-04-02 21:17:57)
3.) hartp (1998-03-30 14:20:28)      3.) RudeDude (1998-07-15 15:37:24)
4.) guevara (1998-03-30 17:21:29)    4.) emad (1998-07-15 15:46:59)
5.) DenMother (1998-03-30 17:26:22)  5.) arcterex (1998-07-15 17:04:39)

Users with the Most Writeups7

All Users                        Active Users
1.) ModernAngel (1834)           1.) ModernAngel (1834)
2.) pingouin (1807)              2.) Segnbora-t (1700)
3.) Segnbora-t (1700)            3.) Pseudo_Intellectual (1575)
4.) Pseudo_Intellectual (1575)   4.) WWWWolf (1542)
5.) WWWWolf (1542)               5.) pukesick (1425)

Users with the Least Writeups7

All Users                    Active Users
5445 users with 0 writeups   24 users with 0 writeups

Users with the Highest XP (see also Everything's Best Users)

All Users                 Active Users
1.) dbrown (1000710)      1.) dbrown (1000710)
2.) nate (202025)         2.) nate (202025)
3.) Segnbora-t (112494)   3.) Segnbora-t (112494)
4.) Lometa (74436)        4.) Lometa (74436)
5.) Tem42 (69162)         5.) Tem42 (69162)

Users with the Lowest XP

All Users               Active Users
1.) thefez (-1092624)   1.) thefez (-1092624)
2.) Eco (-922)          2.) Eco (-922)
3.) mhwang (-207)       3.) Goatish (-200)
4.) Goatish (-200)      4.) Zane Corwin (-53)
5.) sonuvbob (-188)     5.) int19h (-40)

Users with the Most Upvotes6

All Users              Active Users
1.) nate (1516)        1.) nate (1516)
2.) Jet-Poop (688)     2.) Jet-Poop (688)
3.) pingouin (685)     3.) pi (469)
4.) pi (469)           4.) dem bones (353)
5.) Frater 219 (393)   5.) Saige (193)

Users with the Least Upvotes6

All Users                  Active Users
1.) Mawle (0)              1.) Zorin (3)
2.) rmeyer (0)             2.) daglo (4)
3.) geekier-than-you (0)   3.) Accipiter (6)
4.) cdamian (0)            4.) PhilHibbs (6)
5.) Shux (1)               5.) Ereneta (7)

Users with the Most Downvotes6

All Users             Active Users
1.) nate (772)        1.) nate (772)
2.) pi (171)          2.) pi (171)
3.) pingouin (163)    3.) Jet-Poop (113)
4.) CmdrTaco (130)    4.) General Wesc (68)
5.) Blackavar (120)   5.) hemos (58)

Users with the Least Downvotes6

All Users               Active Users
1.) mhall (0)           1.) PhilHibbs (1)
2.) ChesterCramme (0)   2.) cjeris (2)
3.) Rockwalrus (0)      3.) uwiz (2)
4.) prwood (0)          4.) gaffney (2)
5.) socialAnarch (1)    5.) cgori (3)

Users with the Most Total Votes6

All Users              Active Users
1.) nate (2288)        1.) nate (2288)
2.) pingouin (848)     2.) Jet-Poop (801)
3.) Jet-Poop (801)     3.) pi (640)
4.) pi (640)           4.) dem bones (411)
5.) Frater 219 (486)   5.) Saige (251)

Users with the Least Total Votes6

All Users               Active Users
1.) socialAnarch (2)    1.) PhilHibbs (7)
2.) mhall (2)           2.) Zorin (7)
3.) pschulz (3)         3.) uwiz (9)
4.) rmeyer (3)          4.) gaffney (10)
5.) ChesterCramme (3)   5.) daglo (10)

Users with the Highest Reputation6

All Users              Active Users
1.) nate (755)         1.) nate (755)
2.) Jet-Poop (610)     2.) Jet-Poop (610)
3.) pingouin (522)     3.) pi (298)
4.) Frater 219 (313)   4.) dem bones (295)
5.) pi (298)           5.) Saige (135)

Users with the Lowest Reputation6

All Users              Active Users
1.) popiel (-8)        1.) daglo (-2)
2.) Pathwalker (-7)    2.) Zorin (-1)
3.) Mawle (-6)         3.) RudeDude (0)
4.) jeffpaulsen (-6)   4.) Accipiter (0)
5.) Falathar (-6)      5.) Ereneta (2)

Most Controversial Users11

All Users                    Active Users
1.) zenseqr (+43 / -43)      1.) RudeDude (+32 / -32)
2.) RudeDude (+32 / -32)     2.) Accipiter (+6 / -6)
3.) JCGregorio (+14 / -14)   3.) Pseudo_Intellectual (+51 / -45)
4.) grossdog (+13 / -13)     4.) Lunarloki (+16 / -14)
5.) Shaft (+11 / -11)        5.) Zorin (+3 / -4)

Users with the Highest Level

All Users                      Active Users
1.) nate (13)                  1.) nate (13)
2.) dbrown (13)                2.) dbrown (13)
3.) Segnbora-t (11)            3.) Segnbora-t (11)
4.) Pseudo_Intellectual (11)   4.) Pseudo_Intellectual (11)
5.) WWWWolf (11)               5.) WWWWolf (11)

Users with the Highest Merit

All Users              Active Users
1.) ryano (102)        1.) ryano (102)
2.) dem bones (83.5)   2.) dem bones (83.5)
3.) Cow Of Doom (60)   3.) Cow Of Doom (60)
4.) TAFKAH (36)        4.) TAFKAH (36)
5.) Jet-Poop (35.7)    5.) Jet-Poop (35.7)

Users with the Lowest Merit

All Users              Active Users
1.) FordPrefect (-5)   1.) Zorin (-1)
2.) Platypus (-2)      2.) Accipiter (0)
3.) Zorin (-1)         3.) Pseudo_Intellectual (1)
4.) Accipiter (0)      4.) Lunarloki (2)
5.) /dev/joe (0)       5.) Ereneta (2)

Users with the Most Cools

All Users           Active Users
1.) nate (23)       1.) nate (23)
2.) pingouin (15)   2.) Jet-Poop (8)
3.) Jet-Poop (8)    3.) pi (5)
4.) pi (5)          4.) dem bones (4)
5.) dem bones (4)   5.) Lord Brawl (2)

Users with the Least Cools

All Users              Active Users
329 users have 0 C!s   24 users have 0 C!s

Averages

                       All Users   Active Users
Average Writeup Count:     8.906        170.742
Average XP:              256.631       5860.071
Average Level:             1.114          3.179

Totals

          All Users   Active Users
Total XP:   2051762        1476738

E2Node and Nodeshell Statistics

Nodes with the most writeups8

1.) Ramen (16)
2.) Enlightenment (16)
3.) e (15)
4.) node (15)
5.) Beowulf (15)
Number of Nodeshells:     203 (7.66% of all e2nodes)

Writeup Statistics

Writeup Types

Person:     138 (16.687%)
Place:       61  (7.376%)
Thing:      416 (50.302%)
Idea:       212 (25.635%)

Writeups with the Most Upvotes

1.) Brian Eno by nate (290)
2.) marijuana by Frater 219 (176)
3.) Haiku by Yoz (155)
4.) Perl by chimaera (152)
5.) Noam Chomsky by ryano (144)

Writeups with the Least Upvotes

1.) Hwoarang by Mawle (0)
2.) Jeff Coffin by Malachi (0)
3.) 3dfx by Malachi (0)
4.) 19 by Segnbora-t (0)
5.) Story Guide by jtraub (0)
6.) Rogers Cadenhead by rcade (0)
7.) Ray tracer by tcharron (0)
8.) Sparty by Pathwalker (0)
9.) Amendment VI by nobody (0)
10.) Verity by rmeyer (0)
11.) Chips and Dips by geekier-than-you (0)
12.) SorceryNet by raistlin (0)
13.) VW Passat by joev (0)
14.) munition by burnsbr (0)
15.) Honda CMX 450 Rebel by cdamian (0)

Writeups with the Most Downvotes

1.) Brian Eno by nate (72)
2.) Sounds cool and means nothing by nate (56)
3.) ass chip by nate (48)
4.) World War II by General Wesc (43)
5.) Zen by zenseqr (43)
6.) Slashdot by CmdrTaco (43)
7.) God by Jet-Poop (43)

Writeups with the Least Downvotes

1.) sourcebook by djensen (0)
2.) Necros by k8to (0)
3.) promotional merchandise by ChesterCramme (0)
4.) MBTA by prwood (0)
5.) class framework by djw (0)
6.) J22 by mhall (0)
7.) user interface by toebee (0)
8.) Intelligent Scissors by Rockwalrus (0)
9.) talker by Sinner (0)
10.) impotence by bonnet (0)
11.) cartoon planet by holliman (0)

Writeups with the Most Total Votes

1.) Brian Eno by nate (362)
2.) Haiku by Yoz (191)
3.) marijuana by Frater 219 (187)
4.) Noam Chomsky by ryano (186)
5.) God by Jet-Poop (173)

Writeups with the Least Total Votes

1.) 3dfx by Malachi (1)
2.) Amendment VI by nobody (1)
3.) SorceryNet by raistlin (1)
4.) NICAM by maugt (2)
5.) AIX by jeffd (2)
6.) Artificial Life by moritz (2)
7.) Android by raistlin (2)
8.) Rogers Cadenhead by rcade (2)
9.) Story Guide by jtraub (2)
10.) J22 by mhall (2)
11.) class framework by djw (2)
12.) antidepressant by lilo (2)
13.) Ray tracer by tcharron (2)
14.) VW Passat by joev (2)
15.) Stephen Fuller Austin by socialAnarch (2)
16.) 19 by Segnbora-t (2)

Writeups with the Highest Reputation

1.) Brian Eno by nate (218)
2.) marijuana by Frater 219 (165)
3.) Perl by chimaera (133)
4.) Miles Davis by pingouin (124)
5.) Haiku by Yoz (119)

Writeups with the Lowest Reputation

1.) Obi-Wan Kenobi by nate (-10)
2.) John Williams by jeff.covey (-9)
3.) Manipulate Shipping by nate (-8)
4.) Howard Roark by jeffpaulsen (-7)
5.) weekend by sporter (-7)

Most Controversial Writeups4

1.) Zen by zenseqr (Votes: 86 / Reputation: 0)
2.) Fox by nate (Votes: 52 / Reputation: 0)
3.) magik by Pseudo_Intellectual (Votes: 32 / Reputation: 0)
4.) RSA Secret Key Challenge by grossdog (Votes: 26 / Reputation: 0)
5.) funky by Shaft (Votes: 22 / Reputation: 0)

The Most Liked Writeups10

1.) Miles Davis by pingouin (Votes: 128 / Downvotes: 2)
2.) John Coltrane by pingouin (Votes: 108 / Downvotes: 2)
3.) Jack Kerouac by Pedro (Votes: 105 / Downvotes: 5)
4.) Jimi Hendrix by Jet-Poop (Votes: 80 / Downvotes: 2)
5.) New Mexico by Jet-Poop (Votes: 61 / Downvotes: 1)

The Most Disliked Writeups10

1.) Hwoarang by Mawle (Votes: 6 / Upvotes: 0)
2.) Honda CMX 450 Rebel by cdamian (Votes: 5 / Upvotes: 0)
3.) Sparty by Pathwalker (Votes: 4 / Upvotes: 0)
4.) Chips and Dips by geekier-than-you (Votes: 4 / Upvotes: 0)
5.) munition by burnsbr (Votes: 3 / Upvotes: 0)
6.) Jeff Coffin by Malachi (Votes: 3 / Upvotes: 0)
7.) Verity by rmeyer (Votes: 3 / Upvotes: 0)

Writeups with the Most C!s

1.) Brian Eno by nate (7)
2.) John Coltrane by pingouin (6)
3.) Miles Davis by pingouin (6)
4.) vaporware by vladd (3)
5.) roving herds of dangerous cars by gfish (2)
6.) Jack Kerouac by Pedro (2)
7.) Sucks-Rules-O-Meter Technology by dmarti (2)
8.) Haiku by Yoz (2)
9.) podified by nate (2)
10.) Batman by Jet-Poop (2)
11.) Japanese by pi (2)
12.) pinball by Saige (2)
13.) New Mexico by Jet-Poop (2)

Cooled Writeups with the Lowest Reputation

1.) Howard Roark by jeffpaulsen (-7)
2.) ass chip by nate (-3)
3.) renormalisation by pschulz (-1)
4.) Eye Candy by nate (-1)
5.) magik by Pseudo_Intellectual (0)

Non-Cooled Writeups with the Highest Reputation

1.) Noam Chomsky by ryano (102)
2.) Meme by Scam (95)
3.) God by Jet-Poop (87)
4.) Fermat's Last Theorem by cananian (81)
5.) The Rocky Horror Picture Show by phexro (72)

Averages

Average Upvotes per Writeup:       21.752
Average Downvotes per Writeup:      8.602
Average Total Votes per Writeup:   30.354
Average Reputation per Writeup3:   13.528 (True Rep5: 13.15)

Totals

Total Upvotes:       17967
Total Downvotes:      7105
Total Votes:         25072
Total Reputation3:   11174 (True Rep5: 10862)
Total Cools:           156

What If...

If all of the writeups in the first 20000 node_ids were submitted by a single user, and they spent as many votes as they received, that user would have the following stats:

Level:         7
Writeups:    827
XP:         9066
Merit:         8.257
Node-Fu:      10.964

1 Several thousand nodes (users, writeups, etc.) were imported into E2 (from E1) over the course of several days. This significantly affects certain values and calculations because the timestamps are not the 'real' create times. The information above is correct based on the data reported by E2.
2 A small number of nodes in E2 (141 in this batch) do not return a timestamp. In addition, it seems that some of the nodes have had their dates manually changed. Because of this, calculations above which require a timestamp ignore nodes that are missing this information, and may give unexpected results. (See also #1)
3 There are numerous reasons why the value of upvotes minus downvotes does not always equal the value of reputation. There were some bugs on the site with voting at one time, and nodes that are restored from node heaven often have this problem.
4 In this case 'Most Controversial' means the writeup where the absolute value of the true reputation5 divided by the total number of votes is close to zero. In other words, the writeup has a lot of votes with about half of the people upvoting it, and half of the people downvoting it.
5 'True reputation' refers to the value calculated by subtracting the downvotes from the upvotes. See #3 for why this might not be the same as the displayed reputation.
6 Calculations regarding votes or reputation only consider users with writeups in the specified node_id range.
7 Since a user's homenode contains the number of writeups that the user has on E2, these writeup counts may include nodes which are not in the specified node_id range.
8 Since an e2node can contain numerous writeups, these writeup counts may include nodes which are not in the specified node_id range.
9 Writeup titles have had '(person)', '(place)', '(thing)', '(idea)', and '(definition)' removed from their length.
10 'Most Liked' and 'Most Disliked' refer to nodes that are very high in upvotes and very low in downvotes (liked) or very high in downvotes and very low in upvotes (disliked). It uses approximately a 5 to 100 ratio for the cutoff.
11 In this case 'Most Controversial' means that the absolute value of the user's total true reputation5 divided by the total number of votes is close to zero
/msg me with with any other statistics you might find interesting, and I'll work on adding them.

Thanks to Swap for a better definition and calculation method for 'Most Controversial' (which he prefers to call 'Objectivity Quotient').

Usually I hate it when the phone rings at home. Oh, I’m not anti-social or anything like that but it’s just that when I’m home, I find it disturbing and intrusive to field calls from various telemarketers offering me the latest and greatest in cable television, trying to sell me the vacation of my dreams to some idyllic island paradise or asking me if I want to consolidate my bills into “one easy payment”.

Yes, my circle of friends is small and for the most part, old fashioned. We still greet each other with a firm handshake and buy each other a drink or two. We prefer to talk face to face, especially when the matter is important and we view the phone as more of a convenience than a necessity. When we do talk over the wires, yes, that’s right, the wires, the vast majority of us haven’t gone the cellular route just yet, the conversations are short and to the point.

Maybe it’s some kind of “generational thing” or something. I was reared back in the days when a phone in your room was considered more of a luxury than the vital piece of equipment that it has become today. Shit, I remember having to ask my parents if I could even use the phone and if they grudgingly said yes, they were always within earshot of the conversation. So much for privacy. To top it off, if I was on for more than ten minutes or so I’d catch a look from my father that would melt the most frozen of ice. It seemed to say “Get off the Goddamn phone”. It wasn’t that he was waiting for a call or needed to use it or anything. He just thought that the phone was for important things and that he had better things to do with his time and his money to be spending it making idle chitchat. It was just one of the many quirks that made him what he was. We’ve all got ‘em in one form or another.

Where was I?

Oh yeah, the phone. Anyway, over the past couple of days and weeks I’ve heard voices over the wires that I haven’t heard for a long time. In retrospect, its been too long and I’m mostly to blame for that.

Old friend,
All the stories to tell
Old friend
Could you bid me farewell?
Old friend
It might be easy for another man to see

Excerpt from Lyle Lovett’s fine song titled “Old Friend”

I don’t think there’s a word in the English language that adequately describes the feeling you get when you haven’t talked with someone for an extended period of time but when you do, it’s like you’ve spoken just the other day. The bullshit seems to be cast aside and forgotten and the conversation is honest and open with little or no pretense to mask whatever feelings and distance separated you in the first place, When I asked the question, some folks said it was “friendship” and maybe that’s the case. In my heart of hearts, I think it runs deeper than that though. Maybe that’s why in my mind, there’s not a word for it.

There’s been some talks of visits that I hope come true and some talks about the future that we all hope to see. There’s been the vague promise to stay in touch more often and to not let too much time pass before we speak again. There’s been the rich sound of laughter that had faded off into the distance that sounded like music to my ears. There was the feeling of regret when you hung up the phone and wished that you had somehow said more but would feel awkward if you called back right away.

Maybe the time will come when I’m more comfortable on the phone, maybe not. I still screen most of my calls to ward off the pests and avoid answering questions that I don’t want or need to. I still usually let the machine pick up these days and let it do its dirty work. Then again, on the other hand, if I hear a familiar and friendly voice, I’m more apt to pick up the receiver and start to yapping and maybe, more importantly, start to listening.

After all, who knows when we’ll get a chance to speak again?

(Thanks to all of my friends from both near and far for all of the concern and care sent my way over the last month or so. Hopefully, if you ever read these words, I hope you’ll know what I’m talking about.)

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