Lodinews.com

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

Steve Hansen Sometimes old friends deserve a fresh look

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Steve Hansen

Posted: Tuesday, August 7, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 6:21 am, Tue Aug 7, 2012.

Should old acquaintances be forgotten?

Well, maybe. People and times do change.

When I was in the 10th grade, a young man sat in front of me in Spanish class. His name was Manny. I admired his brilliance and ability to retain facts and figures about various political issues of the times.

He was hardly an attractive person and certainly no ladies’ man. But Manny had a great sense of humor and was always an interesting conversationalist.

I lost track of my friend until 40 years later, when a phone call came out of the blue. It was Manny. He had tracked me down via some classmates and was now living in a Northern California city — a long journey from his original home in Bethesda, Md.

My long-lost friend wanted to get together, and we agreed to meet at my home.

But 40 years can make a big difference in the lives of people. The first thing I noticed was his overweight condition — a far cry from the skinny kid I knew.

His nose was running and he made several trips to the bathroom where I could hear sniffing sounds. Ruminants of white power residue dotted his navy blue collar.

We talked about old times, but Manny was extremely critical of his life and everyone he knew in it. Negative vibrations emitted from him like gamma rays from an atomic bomb.

He had never amounted to much in life. He did not attend college. As a matter of fact, I’m not even sure if Manny finished high school. He tried to make a living as a freelance writer but supported himself primarily on the labors of an admiring girlfriend.

Manny wanted to get together with me again, but needless to say, I made sure a future date was never confirmed.

Then there was Roland. He was an interesting kid I met while attending college. Well-liked by his peers, they elected him to student government. But Roland never felt he quite “fit in.” He was from a farm community near Bakersfield and somehow got the idea the people from the cities did not like rural people. He believed they only pretended to accept him.

Ever since childhood, Roland wanted to be a physician but could not cut the extensive work involved with the hard sciences.

After college, life was not an easy road. The disappointed potential healer spent most of his life as a military officer until asked to retire because of alcoholism. His first wife died of a rare disease in her late 20s. The second marriage ended in divorce. Roland entrusted his entire life savings to his stockbroker son, who in turn stole every dime.

The last time I heard from Roland, he was seeking new employment. He didn’t contact me after that. When I did an Internet search, I found out why. Roland was living his physician dream as a “life coach,” fraudulently claiming to have a degree in psychology as well as an M.D. degree from a major medical school. He also attested to have done a residency in psychiatry.

Another long-lost friend had gone over the edge. I did not want to be a part of his self-destructive process either.

People and times do change. Sometimes it’s for the better, and sometimes it’s for the worse. I suppose what attracted me to these two fellows in the first place was their exceptional creativity, intelligence and ability to laugh at all of our human imperfections.

However, 40 years and a variety of unwholesome circumstances can make all the difference as to whether one reaches the final road with contented happiness or unmitigated misery.

Steve Hansen is a Lodi writer.

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don’t pretend you’re someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don’t threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don’t insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the ‘Report’ link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.
  • 9 Don’t be a troll.
  • 10 Don’t reveal personal information about other commenters. You may reveal your own personal information, but we advise you not to do so.
  • 11 We reserve the right, at our discretion, to monitor, delete or choose not to post any comment. This may include removing or monitoring posts that we believe violate the spirit or letter of these rules, or that we otherwise determine at our discretion needs to be monitored, not posted, or deleted.

Welcome to the discussion.

Recent Comments

Posted 13 hours ago by Mike Adams.

article: Letter: Obama may be protecting his chi…

Excellent points Treacy, Christina, Thomas. Conspiracy theorists have a bottomless pit of intrigues and stories of mythical events perpetr…

More...

Posted 13 hours ago by Mike Adams.

article: Letter: Many states allow guns in schoo…

Thomas, More hyperbole......"proposed firearm seizure warrant". How riduculous. I don't know if you remember, but one conspiracy…

More...

Posted 13 hours ago by Mike Adams.

article: Letter: Many states allow guns in schoo…

How long have you been alive? You've been reading something for 25 years (by your own admission). You're not a member of the NRA, but ev…

More...

Posted 14 hours ago by Andrew Liebich.

article: Letter: Questions for Obama supporters

13 unanimous Supreme Court rulings against President Obama are not a "bogus insinuation" Mr. Heuer. Ignoring these 13 rulings si…

More...

Posted 14 hours ago by stan taves.

article: Letter: Questions for Obama supporters

...Interesting indeed. I guess that if there is one word that sums-up liberalism then it is "fairness". In other words, the lefti…

More...

Video

Popular Stories

Poll

Loading…

Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists