Monday, January 12, 2009

Who You Run With

In case you missed it (and I'm sure most of people did), Bruce Springsteen won a Golden Globe for "The Wrestler" last night. The song is awesome and is available on iTunes right now. Go buy.

In my journeys on the internets, I recently came across an article written by a guy who has received this nugget from his grandmother:

"Show me who you run with and I'll show you who you are.'

I really liked that one right away. Bet then, I always tend to go crazy over marvelously pithy phrases like that one. Then, I started to think about it a little, and it might not necessarily be a universal truth. It probably could be applied to people who run with arch-criminals (which would make them criminals themselves), but not everybody. I know it means to say a lot to people about their identity, but I think the key is the first part.

I like to poke fun at comic book nerds a lot, which is strange because I buy my share of comics every week. And read them. And file them neatly in a box by number. However, I always felt that the fact that I can separate fiction from reality set me apart from most comic book fans. In effect, I do not run with them. Probably because I'm too judgmental.

But why should all comic book readers be lumped together? There are sports fans and then there are people who paint their faces and go to every game and yell and holler at anyone who will listen about how great their team is, regardless of how great or awful their team really is. It is universally accepted that these people are crazy, but not all sports fans are. However, I feel that all comic fans are sort of lumped into one category: geeks. Despite the fact that there are levels of fandom, just as there are with everything, most people lump us all into the geek group. So, I don't always tell women that I hope to sleep with one day that I enjoy reading comics. maybe I'm just being paranoid.

The point being that I don't run with them. So, who am I, is the question. Who do I run with? Back in high school, with all the cliques and groups, I enjoyed being a sort of floater, a friend to all yet not really "running" with any particular affiliation. Clearly, I was much less cynical back then, but hopefully, I still am that kind of person. Hopefully, I can still be a friend to all. I remember several years ago when I was with my ex-girlfriend and my car had broken down and had to be towed. She marveled at the fact that I could make small talk with the tow-truck driver all the way home, like I was his best buddy, even though he was talking about the weirdest shit you can imagine. We were not similar at all (he was a burly, foul-mouthed tow truck driver. Probably not a comic book reader.) I would not run with this person, but I can carry on a conversation with him.

My floating ability will be put to the test soon enough, I suppose, as I just joined the AHS Class of 1994 Reunion Group on Facebook. Wow. Hey, a least Facebook can be good for something. Truly, can I still be friend to all, after 15 years of cynicism and bad breaks? Will people remember me for the guy I was, or the guy I thought I was (who was kind of a weiner.) It will be interesting. Hopefully, I'll be better dressed at the reunion that I was in high school, at the very least.

So, who do I run with? Sometimes, I think it's no one. Sometimes, it seems like it's everyone. I guess that's why I'm so conflicted all the time, because if who you run with determines who you are, and you don't know who you run with, then you may have a hard time figuring out who you are.

Life'll kill ya.

No comments: