It seems like it just a minute ago we were all so young.
I met up with some friends from high school earlier this month and I can’t stop doing the math.
Was it really that many years ago that we all first met? Are we really that old?
And, for the love of God, can we get a recount?
The mini-reunion got me thinking about other people I knew back when I was a teenager and I decided to waste some of the time I have left by poking around on Facebook.
I noticed that one of my friends had friended a guy I knew in high school who was nicknamed “Pooch.”
We weren’t close, but we were friendly enough, at least for a while. At some point, though, things soured somewhat between us and I’m not sure why. I am certainly partially to blame for the rift because back then I was quick to take offense and all too eager to hold to it.
This is still a problem, by the way, but at least now I acknowledge it and I’m trying to improve.
I never saw Pooch after high school and I didn’t think about him at all until I ran across him on Facebook. He had become a doctor and was also the father and a grandfather--which spooked the hell out of me.
I started feeling badly about how we had left things off back in the Seventies. I thought it would be a nice if we could talk and clear things up—assuming, of course, he even remembered who I was.
But I made absolutely no effort to turn this thought into reality. I just…thought about it.
And then I clicked on to his page and saw that Pooch had died last year at the age of 59. It felt so strange looking at his photo while recalling the kid in high school. And I feel so badly for his family.
Back to Work
A few months ago, a freelance reporter contacted me about a murder case in the Poconos I had covered in the 1980s.
He was working on a book about the case and wanted to shake up my memory, but honestly, I was of very little help to him, as I had just covered the arrest and very little else.
At some point I mentioned my old editor at the paper and he told me that he had died a few years ago.
Now I was not friends with this editor in any way—in fact, we had some pretty nasty encounters during my time there and I was convinced that he showed extreme favoritism to another reporter whom I absolutely despised.
But now all the bickering and the hostility that occupied so much of my time back then seem meaningless now.
Yeah, the situation at that newspaper sucked big time, but I know I could’ve handled things better.
And, failing at that, I could have—and should have—gotten out of there a hell of a lot of sooner than I did.
People are always going to butt heads. That’s inevitable. But you have to guard your own health and happiness, so if you’re in a bad spot, get out of it as soon as possible. If you want to patch things up with someone, do it as soon as you can.
Keep the toxic emotions to a minimum and you won’t have to be sorry later on.