Keeping Enemies Close

Album Cover: Vitalogy

"Wait for signs, believe in lies, to get by, it's divine."
Pearl Jam / Tremor Christ

Posted on May 13, 2008 12:40 AM in Personal
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

In high school, I was interested in a girl, who for the sake of anonymity I will hereto refer to as Penny. From what I could tell, Penny was interested in me, too. There was one slight problem with the arrangement, though. Penny was "going out with" a guy one grade higher than us, who just so happened to be the punter on our football team. I'll leave that one alone, though, and will hereafter refer to said guy as Zane, again for anonymity's sake.

Through the high school "grapevine," I began to hear rumors that Zane wasn't very pleased with the rumors he had been hearing about Penny and I spending time together. As days passed, I became slightly more concerned because I began to get the feeling that this dilemma wasn't something Zane was interested in resolving amicably. In other words, I heard he was preparing a knuckle sandwich with my name on it.

In high school, I was quite shy and certainly wasn't the type to go around fighting guys over girls. My main interests at the time were getting good grades in school, playing sports, and not much else. However shy I might have been, I ended up addressing the situation with Penny and Zane in quite an uncharacteristic way. One day, after school, I called Penny and asked her for Zane's phone number. She was caught off guard by the fact that I was interested in his phone number, but I persisted, she finally relented, and before long I had Zane's phone number written down in front of me.

Before I could talk myself out of it, I quickly dialed Zane's number. As the phone rang, I felt the same calm resolve that had led me to call Penny in the first place. After a few rings, I heard a deep voice on the other end of the line.


"Hi, is this Zane?"

"Yeah, who's this?"

"This is Bernie."

"Yeah, right!"

"No, seriously, this is Bernie."

"Whatever, Jeb. I know it's you" (Jeb is what we'll call Zane's best friend, who wasn't a big fan of me either).

"No, I'm not kidding. This is Bernie, and I'm just calling because I heard you weren't happy about me spending time with Penny and I just wanted to clear things up.

"I've spent some time with Penny lately, but I respect that you two are going out and I just wanted to let you know you don't have to worry."

"Oh, okay man. I can't believe you're calling me."

"Yeah, well I just wanted to let you know things are cool."

"Okay, cool man. Thanks for letting me know."

I'm not really sure how the conversation ended, and I'm not even sure how closely I've honored the original exchange. What I do remember, though, is how good it felt to have surprised Zane like that, and likewise how relieved I felt to have cleared things up. Especially after considering the "Jeb" response, and how it seemed to indicate that there had been some premeditated discussions going on before my call ;)

I'm recounting the incident here mostly because it occurred to me today that it was one of the things I've done in life that, though very uncharacteristic of me, proved to be positive and subsequently boosted both my confidence in myself and my faith in diplomacy.

Believe it or not, the same thing happened to me a couple years beforehand, but that time around I resolved it in person (even more unlike me). It's a good thing, too, 'cause that time I was dealing with a halfback instead of a punter ;)

No, seriously.


xncplatn on May 15, 2017 at 5:22 AM:

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