For the most part, people just want to be told the truth. Yeah, much like the bite of an insect, it might sting and hurt for a bit. It would certainly itch for a while but for the most part, it won’t carry a lasting scar. No, lasting scars are usually the result of something traumatic like a car accident or being stabbed with a knife. They usually take a lot longer to heal and while they might fade over time, they never really go away.

Did you ever have two people that you consider friends that came from the opposite ends of the spectrum? One might tell you everything that you might want to hear and the other tells you everything you don't but need to hear anyway.

I feel really uncomfortable being put in the middle of them because at times, I need them both.

Brew the coffee in a bucket
Double straight man and banjo
If you don't got the snake oil
Buster, you don't got a show
Who puts the do-re-me
In our pockets
Keeps the party going on?
It's the man
Who sells the potions
I'm just one who plays the songs

Have you ever been desperate to believe something even though you know in your heart of hearts that it’s probably not true? It’s like grasping at straws or trying to pick up that pretty girl at the end of the bar. The one who, just because she looked your way once or twice in an evening, is now embedded in your heart and mind and it’s all you can think about. Believe me, I’ve spent plenty of time going that route and always wound up going home alone.

So yeah, some bait was offered up and I sure as hell swallowed it. I took it much like a hungry shark that smells blood. I grabbed at it like a drunk fumbling for that first drink to calm their shaking nerves and downed it like a man stranded in the desert dying of thirst.

And in doing that, I disregarded everything else around me that told me that I should know better by now.

There stands the bottle
Ladies and gents
All these bottles
Don't have to tell you, friends
These days miracles
Don't come falling from the sky
Raise your glasses to the doctor
To a stand up guy

When you stop to think about it, it’s rather amazing to consider all of the different types of people one meets over their lifetime. Naturally some of those encounters are only brief interludes and people are drawn together more by circumstance and timing than by the fickle gods of fate. Yep, one person might be your best friend one day and the next they are old news. People move on, times, scenery and agendas change. That’s just part of life.

When the monkeyshine is flying
And he's promising the cure
He says the French
For your lovesick blues
La maladie d'amour
He gets the chumps all laughing
But he gets a few to buy
Here's to beefsteak
When you're hungry
And whiskey when you're dry

Ah, but when the gods and fate do conspire to grant you a wish and make a decent friend or two along the way, you’d best heed their calling. Straight shooters don’t come around all that often and I’ve got a theory about why that is.

It’s hard fuckin’ work telling some people things that they don’t like to hear but instead, they need to be told anyway. Just like in the movies, nobody likes to be the bad guy or the bearer of bad news. They’re not the ones riding off into the sunset, kissing the leading lady and living happily ever after.

Come to think of it, nobody likes con men too much either, especially if you’re the one whose just been conned.

Now the band'll blow their moolah
Like sailors gone ashore
Now we're going to west Helena
To gamble, drink and whore
Let's you and me
All make whoopee
Here's mud in your eye
Here's to all the gals you ever want
And heaven when you die

So I wonder if all the scheming and subterfuge that people go through just to get somebody’s goat is all worth it. I mean, gossip is everywhere. All you have to do is look around. It’s in schools, the workplace, the office, the local tavern, the newspapers and on the television. Shit, some shows and whole sections of magazines are dedicated to just that kinda thing and people listen with their jaws agape just waiting to get the latest bit of dirt to make their day a little more palatable. I wonder what satisfaction they derive from it all?

Does all the backbiting and innuendo and character assassination fill a void somewhere where something else is lacking or is it just somebody trying to play the class clown and entertain us for a while?

It’s a wasted effort if you ask me, those talents could be redirected into actually making something rather than destroying it.

Besides, now I’m left wondering when and if they’re ever going to come after me.

There stands the bottle
Here's to absent friends
All these bottles
Dead soldiers in the end
These days miracles
Don't come falling from the sky
Raise your glasses to the doctor
To a stand up guy
To the doctor
A stand up guy

There’s an old saying that goes something along the lines of “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.”

For once, I hope wishes don’t come true.

Selected lyrics to “Stand Up Guy” copyright Mark Knopfler and released on the album Shangri – La

CST Approved

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