My buddy Stan called.
“What do you want?” I asked.
“Nothing,” he said.
This may seem like an odd way to begin a conversation but our calls often begin like this. Stan will call, anxious to say something, but won’t be able to say it. It then becomes my job to figure out what something like ‘nothing’ means.
“Are you fighting with Daphne?”
(In other words, that will be the topic of another call)
“Do you want to borrow something?”
(Check what is missing from the shed. If Stan does not want to borrow something, he already has)
“Do you want me to store something for you?”
(Check the shed to discover what is there that was not there before)
“Then what do you want?”
“Then why did you call?”
“Because everything is going good.”
“That’s not okay, it scares the crap out of me.”
“Because I don’t trust good.”
What may sound odd often makes perfect Stan-sense.
Stan’s natural medium is chaos. He thrives on it. He is so adept at dealing with turmoil that whenever there is no turbulence in his life, Stan becomes like a fish cast upon stone who flops around until he makes it back into the water.
Usually by doing something incredibly stupid. He knows this and that is why he called.
“Stan, whatever you are thinking of doing, don’t do it.”
“I dunno,” he tells me, “I need to shake things up.”
“Before you go down that route, think about what you might be ignoring.”
“The way I got it figured,” I tell him, “is that the reason you think things are good, is because they really are not.”
I could almost hear Stan’s pulse quicken.
“Yeah?” he said, “this is good stuff, keep going.”
“I’ll bet you got something really nasty going on under the surface and it’s so bad that you don’t want to admit it to yourself.”
“Like what?” he asked – with unmasked delight.
“Any outstanding warrants?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Any calls from creditors?”
“Old girl friends?”
“Hmmmm….. no, not lately.”
“How about the IRS?”
“What about them?”
“Are you current on your taxes?”
“There you go. Now are you happy?”
“Gosh, I am. I thought it might be something worse.”
He truly was delighted.
“Glad I called,” he said, “Thanks buddy.”
I was about to say, anytime, but that is something you never say to Stan.