A few years before my mother died, she surprised me by saying she admired and envied me for never losing a friend. I can’t remember whether that was ever true or was true then. It certainly isn’t true now. I suspect she was regretting sad aspects of her own life and magnifying them. Her only other significant praise was telling me I held the importance of my marriage in proper relation to other family obligations, i.e., it was paramount; everything else be damned.
By now, I've lost countless friends. It’s really disturbing. The final few, who must have been important because they lasted longest/latest, were all utter, unexpected, unmitigated disasters. In each case but one, I tried to salvage something from the wreckage, but was unsuccessful. Cut to the chase, I guess they weren't friends anyway. I wish I had the time back; it was substantial. The last fracture was the oddest, but so-called social media is like that; communication barriers seem to be broken down, but no real connection ever is established. License divorced from responsibility. Over an extended period, I was in daily virtual touch with someone who was searching for an online claque to admire and praise him. Looking back, our relationship reminds me of how my wife who worked with music celebrities for a living advised junior publicists about the divided qualities of “artist contact.” Too often after meeting or working with someone you think you admire, you are never able to enjoy their art again. So it goes.
They say that personal criticism of others tends really to be a form of identification and self-criticism. I kind of agree with that. In that case, my last erstwhile friend thinks he has a lot in common with Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler. That’s funny and tragic.