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Friends

Agriculture.com Staff 03/26/2009 @ 8:06am

I don't have very many friends, and every now and then, I wonder if that isn't too many.

The problem with friends -- particularly old friends -- is that they know all the stuff about you that you might prefer to leave unknown.

Last week, I was having a beer with some new acquaintances, along with a couple of old friends. It had reached the point in the evening when guys can get a little whiny. I waited my turn and then said, "Spending three years trying to work with a utility company to set up a wind turbine project was the most frustrating experience in my life."

My old friend said, "Wait a second. I thought the BBQ pork business was the most frustrating experience of your life."

He was referring to a time about a decade ago when I decided to diversify my farm operation to lessen the risk. It's a long story, but I somehow managed to lose a small fortune (well, it was a large fortune to me) and increase my risk until I lost the last three hairs on my head, my beard turned grey, and I singlehandedly boosted Rolaids' stock 40%.

The next story that came up was about the time I shot myself in the hand with a rifle while preparing for a Norwegian/Philippine/French Independence Day Celebration. The punch line of that particular story is when my wife phoned a neighbor to tell her the party was going to be delayed a week because I shot myself, the neighbor said, "I didn't even know he was depressed." I still find that interesting, because apparently my unexpected demise only justified putting the party off for seven days.

The best story of the evening, in terms of my personal humiliation, came about when I decided to check on how my books were selling on Amazon.com and noticed that there were quite a few in the used book section. I'm sure there are reasons why someone might buy one of my books and then be willing to part with it to a used book store. I can't actually think of any reasons, but I’m sure they exist.

Maybe they had to buy medicine for a sick child and selling my book was the only option. I guess that would be okay.

Anyway, there one of my books was, for sale at the used book store. Here's the hard part. In the description, it says, "Book is in excellent condition except for inscription inside front cover."

Okay, so someone I sold a book to, and personally signed, sold that book at a used book store and IT WAS WORTH LESS BECAUSE I SIGNED IT.

It probably wasn't a story that needed to come out at that moment, but when people know your whole history, that’s just the risk you take.

The evening wasn't all bad, though. There were seven people at the table at that moment and I won the prize for most painfully pathetic personal history, which meant I didn't have to buy the next round.

Friends. I'm working on a theory that friends aren't friends unless they can keep their mouths shut.

Copyright 2009 Brent Olson

I don't have very many friends, and every now and then, I wonder if that isn't too many.

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