Sunday, November 27, 2005

"Thanks For Nothing"

...I see while I was absent, AOL has begun placing banners on our journal pages, and has created a controversy! 

    While being a paying customer, I have always felt that AOL was like a friend. Full of information....connecting my ideas , my questions where they needed to be. Filling many of my nights with music, poetry from a soul in Pennsylvania, laughter, joy and warmth from you J-landers, Photo images from around the world, and ideas on how to improve whatever it was I wanted to improve. I was "Thankful" to pay my monthly fee to AOL...it was like a friend that needed a few bucks from me.

...Then this "betrayel".....I pondered...."what do you say to friend that has betrayed you?".......and then, I recalled........

        "THANKS FOR NOTHING"

    Alex, Ray and I were typical ten year olds that lived on the same block and hung out together. Alex's house was real nice inside, nicely furnished. His mom collected figurines. She had hundreds of them in that living room. They were crowded on every table, on every shelf, every square inch of that living room had a small figurine on it, it was like a China Shop! Naturally, we were not allowed to go in that living room, not even one foot in!

    One day we were home from school and after having a boring catch outside, Alex invited Ray and me back to his house. No one was at his home. He opened the door and walked straight into the livingroom! "Cmon, don't be scared, you guys can sit in here" he cajoled. Reluctantly, we sat down, and looked around us, stunned by the massive collection of figurines that seemed to be staring at us. Alex removed the tennis ball from his pocket, and began tossing it in the air. "Hey Alex , not a good idea" we cautioned him. He laughed, and then tossed the ball over to Ray.."catch!" he said (implying a dare to drop the ball). Ray caught the ball, then tossed it to me. Call it pre adolescent Bravado, but we began tossing that ball around...faster...and faster...til, my toss to Alex sailed over his outstretched hands and sailed towards the end table! The ball landed and figurines were scattered about, and one slid off the table and onto the floor! We jumped up and ran over to asses the damage. Alex leaning over the figurine exclaimed, "My Mom is gonna kill me!....This is her favorite horse and its all busted up!"I tried to mitigate the circumstance with "favorite horse? There must be 100 little horses here, and THIS ONE is her favorite?"   "You better believe it" said Alex..."She paid 200 bucks for this one...it's her favorite!"

     My stomach collapsed, I broke a 200 dollar horse! My Mom was gonna kill me too!...... "Hold on" I said as I tried to gain control of a situation that was going out of control. I began rearranging the animals that were on the table, trying to compensate for the empty space left on the table. "There!, Now she will never know her horse is missing..the display looks the same as when we first walked in here."   Ray nodded his head in agreement and we decided to bury the broken horse figurine in the backyard.

    The next day at school, Ray and I met up with Alex. "Boy is my Mom mad!" He exclaimed. As soon as she walked into the living room she cried out, "who messed up my end table?....and then  that is when she noticed her favorite horse was missing!" "What did you tell her?" I asked with panic in my heart. "I told her that I didn't know a thing...that maybe my sister and her friends did something to it".  "You won't ever tell her that it was us, will you?" I asked. "Nope" said Alex..."I don't squeal on my friends" "Man, you are the best friend that someone could have" I said as I placed my arm around Alex..."I really owe you"......

     Time passed, my gratefullness for Alex not bailing out on me played into our friendship. I would loan him nickels for candy and let him use my bike whenever he needed. 

    Several months passed, it was now Spring and just when that incident was as deeply buried as that horse, my Mother confronted me. "I just got off the phone with Alex's mom, and while she was working in her garden she found a broken horse figurine buried there. She says that you, Alex and Ray were playing one day and broke it....is that true?"..........  I was caught!  .... In shame and for Mercy I put my head down and   put my best puppy dog eyes on...."yes Mom....we broke it".  "Well, you will be grounded for the next month and I told her that I would share in the cost of replaing that horse..so you will be losing 5 weeks of your allowance money."   My head was spinning....I can't believe that Alex caved in and confessed...especially 5 months after we broke that horse!.....Grounded and no allwance for....  Five weeks? That's it? I got 75 cents a week.....how does that add up to 200 dollars?

      The next day came and at first, I did not want to even look at Alex.. Over the past 5 months,I had thanked him a million times, bought him candy, loaned him my bike...all that "Thanks" and gratitude..and what does he do?  Rat me out!  But I was curious about why I was only losing 5 weeks of allowance...so.... "Hey Alex!   Thanks for Nothing!...you couldn't deny it?"...... "No I couldn't" he said with his head in shame...."Besides, I'm the one that has to face her everyday...I am the one who hears her..I am one who is paying for this"... Then I asked about the cost of the horse...."oh, I made a mistake, the horse was only a few bucks..."  He put out his hand to me..."still friends?" he asked.....I slowly put my hand out there.."yeah...we're still friends"

   and so I learned....no matter how thankful you are and how grateful you might be to a friend, it is not a guarantee that they will always perform in a manner that is to your liking...there will bea time when they let you down . A friendship that is based on being grateful and thankful can only last as long as the "thanks" are being repayed.....

        The years passed, and Alex and I remained friends. As we entered adolesence we shared the gossip and secrets of who had a crush on who. He was the first to know about a girl that had caught my heart.   He, of course, set out and let her know....which was no problem ....as this "betrayel" had led me to my first kiss!

    I hope and trust...that this breakdown that AOL had with us, will teach us with something meaningful .......and one day we'll look back and all say "friends?"

Peace and Blessings     Marc :)

10 comments:

sdoscher458 said...

Love the story. I think about one hundred of us left. They all did not shut down their journals, so perhaps they will return, I hope so. That's a great saying "Thanks for nothing"... definitely can apply to AOL....Sandi http://journals.aol.com/sdoscher458/LifeIsFullOfSurprises

wildflower1764 said...

Thanks for the story. :)

eml625 said...

I LOVE that story.. Thanks for sharing, friend.

Ellen
http://journals.aol.com/eml625/Onedayatatime

jtuwliens said...

A wonderful story that is infused with youthfulness and hope.  Like a child, AOL has thrown sand in my eyes, impairing my vision and making navigation difficult.  Through it all, I remain hopeful.
Judith

highlander6246 said...

Marc, your story should surely bring calm in the middle of this raging storm.  Seriously, the ads had been there for several days before I even noticed, and then it was only because I read about it in someone else's journal.  They're easy to overlook if your purpose is to just enjoy your journal as it was meant to be enjoyed.  Wendy

bedazzzled1 said...

Are you certain you aren't one of the Three Wise Men? Sure seems like it to me.

lissamom2 said...

Friends? I certainly hope so.
Melissa

globetrotter2u said...

Marc,

I'm really glad you're back to add a semblance of dignity to this wasteland.

Maryanne
http://journals.aol.com/globetrotter2u/Myfeelingsarereal/
http://insidethegildedcage.blogspot.com/

sierrajazz said...

I don't approve, agree, or like EVERYTHING any of my friends do.. but if I have a true friendship with them I will work to keep the relationship alive and grounded, and that means putting aside my feelings at certain times and accepting their faults, forgiving, and just loving them the way they are even if they disappoint me. Over the years I have discovered calling someone a "friend" only when they do what you want or make you feel how you want to feel is a sure recipie for a very lonely life. I have learned how to pick my battles and they are fewer and calmer .So here's to saying  "Yea still friends!"

alphawoman1 said...

Great walk back into the innocence of childhood. I read the story and was transported back.