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On Friendship...the ties that bind

Updated on January 23, 2013

The color of friendship

I am a RAT. I was born in 1948, so according to the Chinese way of horoscoping I was born in the Year of the Rat. Rats, as per this unique orientalist perspective, are very creative and honest, spends money freely and are friendly enough but rarely make long-lasting friendships.

Which describes me to a T. I suppose it was just a matter of time that some kind of generic and short personality trait description would finally nail me to the wall, and I with not a whimper of protest would say... guilty as charged.

For one thing, I am not very good at remembering names, which in most social settings becomes very awkward, and not at all very conducive to starting a friendly conversation. It takes me a while to warm up, and the initial cool mist evaporating from my every pore becomes off-putting to most, to the point that I have been labeled a snob....inordinately so.

There never is any intent on my part to snub anyone. My natural inclination when being introduced the very first time to someone is to gloss over his or her name, and it is not until my interest is piqued by the other person's skill at drawing me into the conversation, either with his(her) inate charisma or intelligence or both, that I start to warm up... and fast.

During my early and even late childhood, I could not remember a particular person that I could consider impactful on the way I generally perceive other people. I suppose at that stage of my life, the only thing that mattered was family. Early adolescence (High School) opened up to some intriguing but inchoate possibilities, the 4 short years of High School not really conducive to forming the solid and stable bonding for any friendship to last longer than those 4 years.

Late adolescence and early adulthood( Pre-Med and Medical school) was long enough for a few strong bond to incubate, then hatch and grow into full-fledged meaningful friendships. In fact, however the distance among us, we remain friends because the connection has not been broken all these years.

Marriage of course, is the strongest bond there is between two people, and if the bond has not been strained irrevocably and irretrievably, then your partner, (in my case, my wife of 40 years) becomes your very best friend ever... the mutual loyalty, understanding and belief in each other becomes the glue that makes the friendship, the ties that bind.

On a different tangent, marriage and its basic underpinning ... the love that holds two people in a tight embrace has undergone quite a bit of revision lately. The tradional definition, held still by a majority of the American people posits that it is a contract between man and woman, but now that the issue of gay marriage has become front and center in the national discourse, more people are becoming convinced of its viability as a contract... the same viability that they typically and generally associate with heterosexual coupling.

As friendship goes, marriage, like most forms of human interaction or undertaking should be gender neutral. As a contract, gay marriages should be given the same legal formulation and protection as heterosexual marriages. Despite the seemingly unbending biblical injunction against gay coupling, God with love and understanding may not look askance at such an expression of love and understanding among those he created in his spiritual image.


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