my friend ________, an introduction

I have a friend who is a Chronic Motherfucker. If you don’t like rap culture and you’re not 13 years old you might misunderstand so I’ll explain. This doesn’t mean he has sexual intercourse with his mother often or that he is frequently nasty and awful. It means he smokes marijuana a lot. “Chronic” can mean anything to do with smoking marijuana. I use “Motherfucker” to mean that he is serious about it because that’s a pretty serious word, I think. Maybe I shouldn’t use it. I know it’s rude but it would be dishonest of me not to use it. I have to be honest with you all the time so that you’ll believe me if I ever have to lie about something important [Ed: We assume that’s a joke; we haven’t found one lie in this manuscript and we’ve run the lie checker on it three times].

We’ll call him CM from here on. I can’t tell you his name because being chronic is illegal right now even though many of the people who made this country and wrote the Constitution were chronic. President Clinton did a little chronic but things are so bad that he had to tell the worst lie I’ve ever heard in my life about it. When I say the worst lie, I don’t mean that the thing he was lying about was bad I mean that the lie was bad. It was a bad lie. Like if there were cookies missing in your house and you only had one kid and no pet monkeys and you asked him if he did it and he said, “No, mom,” with cookie all over his face. It was a bad lie. Syntax can be misleading sometimes. So I felt like I should explain it fully.

President Clinton is a bad liar. Most Presidents are great liars. I don’t know how Clinton became President. I guess Perot split the vote. I voted for Perot with 20% of America. Perot was either the worst liar or the only honest candidate. You know what I think already. But Americans vote for handsome men with smooth voices who get laid, not honest men with big ears and funny voices who are faithful husbands and bosses. Clinton was the handsome one. I guess I understand. I don’t know why it took six years to figure that out. Seems obvious.

I can’t tell you my chronic friend’s name because I don’t want him to go to jail now. But I told you I have to be honest so if you want to know him I’ll tell you that we used to be in a four-man band and his name is not Marcus or Cort. Marcus got in a car accident and damaged his head. He was messed up for awhile but he’s okay again which is great because he’s a really nice guy and it isn’t fair that a really nice guy would get his head hurt in a car accident when so many spaced out assholes drive around without having accidents, like Cort.

My chronic friend makes me very jealous. I envy him and sometimes hold it against him.

I envy him because he doesn’t hate. Hate is the only four-letter verb I can think of that he will have no truck with (he’s especially interested in the one that rhymes with truck). I, on the other hand, have a truck full of hate. It’s not that I like hate. I don’t. Not one bit. I appreciate its evolutionary and revolutionary roles and some of its aesthetics but I don’t personally enjoy feeling it. No, not at all. That’s why I envy him.

He’s writing a book. I don’t envy that. I’ve written three-and-a-half—one is very-very long and it got an award—and he’s still on his first one. Maybe he envies me a little. He hasn’t said so but that doesn’t mean anything. He’s a good writer so he doesn’t need to envy my writing but I write more than anybody I’ve ever heard of. I think another writer might have to envy that. I do, and it’s me. I recommend having envy for yourself. It will take you off guard sometimes in a great way. Man, I really wish I were more like me. Hey! I am me. That’s so cool.

Since he doesn’t hate he has a lot of friends who I don’t like. I hate them. Not quite killing hate but pretty close. But he doesn’t feel hate, even when people do really bad things to him or are just hateful in general. You might suppose that having no hate is always nice but I don’t think he even hates Hitler. So you can see how that isn’t any good. Anybody who doesn’t hate Hitler has a problem. It made me mad that he had friends that I hated because I said to myself, “If he’s YOUR friend and THEIR friend then YOU and THEY have something in common in his mind.”

So I wrote him a letter and said we couldn’t be friends anymore because I didn’t want to have anything in common with a bunch of hateful pricks. I like to write about one of these goodbye letters every two years to somebody. It was his turn. As soon as I mailed it I felt kind of sorry about it. I thought I would feel better and I sort of did but not all the way. When I saw him a few months later the first thing he said to me was: “I, uh, got your letter.”

“Yeah,” I said, “I actually wanted to talk to you about that.”

“Yeah,” he said.

We never talked about it.

He lives in Portland now and I live in Seattle. We trade four or five pieces of e-mail every day. I sent him my movie script and he sent me his CD. He gets high and I get drunk and we complain about women to each other. We’ll stay good friends until one of us gets a girlfriend. I envy him less lately. I’m not sure if it’s because he’s getting more like me or I’m getting more like him.

PS: I’ve never been chronic. I don’t mind drugs. I think they should be legal if booze is. I just don’t like smoke is all. I’ve never seen anyone who was stoned do anything bad except waste time but I’ve seen drunk people do bad things every single day of my life.

PPS: I just read this to my chronic friend. It was on the phone because he’s in Portland but I like to read to people in person too. He laughed really hard. I think it’s funny too but not as funny as he did. I think maybe he was high. See what I told you?

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