Number three in an on going series of collaborative nodes…
Being as yesterday was my birthday, I and a couple of friends decided to get together after work to raise a few glasses, make a few toasts and as is our ritual, settle the events going on in the world. My local watering hole, in honor of the prestigious occasion, even saw fit to put my name on the sign outside extending their wishes. Since this is my week to have my kid, she also made an appearance and took part in the festivities.
When we got to the place, it was empty. Nothing beats that feeling of being the first one at your own party. There’s always that doubt sitting in the back of your head that maybe nobody else will show up. I made a joke to the bar staff that by putting my name outside, they had effectively lost any hopes of attracting any customers that evening and probably wouldn’t make any money. (Note to self: Do not bring up the subject of making money to the staff in an empty bar). After about a half hour or so, some of my friends began wandering in and we assumed our normal positions in what has affectionately been named “funf corner”. (“Funf”, the German word for five, is another nickname I somehow managed to acquire over the years. That’s another story for another time though.). All in all, maybe seven or eight people showed up and a good time was had by all.
When we got home, my kid remarked that she thought that the turnout was rather small. I guess she thought it would be like one of those kids parties where they invite every one of their classmates for fear of offending somebody. I tried to explain to her that while the turnout was indeed small, the people that came fill a big place in my life. That they are my friends and I think the world of them and in turn, I think they feel the same about me. That as a group, we’ve all shared the many ups and downs that life has thrust upon us and somehow as a group, we manage to weather each and every storm.
After awhile, we got to talking about the subject of popularity. While it may not be that important to me anymore, I’m pretty certain it registers high on the scale when it comes to nine year olds. The pressures, real or imagined, at school, at the soccer field, at the Brownies or wherever, to be in a large circle of friends and to sometimes be the center of that circle must be, at times, daunting. We went round and round on the subject and I tried as best as I could to answer her questions . I asked her to write down her thoughts and here they are…
”Is it hard to be popular?”
“Well, that depends. There are two populars. The first is when you are always on top on nobody is REALLY there for you.”
”The second popular is in you heart. Where every single one of your friends you can depend on. Those are the ones I can think of. There a re some people who are neither.”
”It is extremely hard to get to number one but extremely harder to get to number two.”
I think my message might have gotten through…