Friday, May 16, 2008

Confessional Quid Pro Quo

The Town Halo - A.C. Newman (mp3)
Testimony - Robbie Robertson (mp3)

Hey. You. Come closer to the screen. Like, really close.

I need to tell you a secret that I've never told anyone before. I'm very afraid to tell it, because if I do, you might not like me anymore. But keeping it to myself is torturous in its own right, because it feels like I'm lying to everyone. And if I'm the only one with my secret, it starts feeling like I'm lying even to myself, living out this fantasy where the secret stays buried even though it says so much about me.

But... can I trust you? Can you keep this secret? Can I rely on you to be my friend, even if you don't particularly approve of my secret?

If not, please don't read any further. Stop right here. I'll give you a paragraph of meaninglessness so you can slow down, reverse, and move on to another web site before stumbling on something you don't want to see.

Still here? OK. How's the weather up where you are? Gettin' hot down here. I friggin' hate summer. No more corduroys. No more sweater vests. No more windbreakers. No more jackets. Gone are the fun layers of winter. OK OK, enough BS. Here's my secret:

Some of my earliest sexual fantasies involved "The Golden Girls." Although my primary target of lust was Betty White, I had plenty of drool for Rue McClanahan and Bea Arthur. Estelle Getty didn't really do it for me. Too old.


Um. Wow, those crickets sure are loud tonight.

Can I trust you to keep this, y'know, just between us? Are we still friends? I know how totally screwed up this is, I do. It's wacky. Which is precisely why I can't just keep it pinned down in the butterfly album of my soul.


Now there's this thing. This thing between us. This sense that I've let go of too much, revealed too much of myself while you're there, covered and comfortable like Hugh Hefner in a bathrobe.

Maybe you can tell me a secret now. You know, so there's not this thing between us, this difference between the knowledge you hold over me and what I hold over you. Not that knowledge between trusted friends is a weapon, necessarily. It just... makes things weird. The best friendships are a see-saw where both sides carry equal weight. Sure, there's times when one friend is up and one is down, and then weight and gravity work to shift sides. But the best friendships could, when they wanted to, balance that see-saw perfectly. Like the scales of justice.

I'm not sure which is worse, being the friend who unleashes the heavy burden, or being the friend upon whom that burden is unleashed. My memories of times when I was on one side or the other still linger like barflies after last call, even from my childhood. In fact, it seems like most of these moments occurred between elementary school and college.

In the world of disclosures, confidants and friendships, someone always has to jump first. Worse, the very cautionary tale your mother gave you as a kid becomes the very thing you're supposed to do as a friend. If your friend jumps off the Golden Gate Bridge, do you jump in after him or her? In this case, yeah, you sorta should if you can.

"The Town Halo" is off A.C. Newman's most recent CD, The Slow Wonder. "Testimony" is from Robbie Robertson's (formerly of The Band) absolutely stellar self-titled 1987 CD that included a bevy of phenomenal guest musicians including Stewart Copeland, Peter Gabriel, and U2.

And I never actually had sexual fantasies about "The Golden Girls." Not that there's anything wrong with that. I was more just trying to make a point about the nature of confessions and friendship.


Bob said...

Billy, here's my secret:

I love you.

jbradburn said...

Are you drinking already?