GUEST POST from Don – Bad Friends & Broken Tools

I believe that if a friend is not trustworthy that person is not really a friend.  Why bother having a “bad” friend?  If you can’t trust him to show up when you plan to meet at a coffee shop or just for a friendly foursome tee time why invite him at all?  If his advice or counsel often misses the mark, why seek it?  If he is rude or mean or a troublemaker, you are worth MORE than that.  

Repeatedly in the last year I have read complaints in advice columns about friends who are not being nice.  At first I thought it odd.  I do not believe I have ever had a friend who turned out to be a bad-actor…so it was difficult to relate.  Then I began to see a pattern.  The problem was more with WHO one chooses to trust with personal information and valuable possessions, than with the bad people who were chosen to be friends.  There had to be clues.  The bad people did not TURN BAD on one random day, months after you have allowed them to take a significant role in your life.  They were bad all along and you chose to ignore the signs.

I went to a wedding reception once where almost every friend of the groom was loud and obnoxious.  My heart went out to the poor bride who was not only mortified at her own wedding reception, but would have to put up with those “friends” of her new husband in the years ahead.  My sincere hope was that, up to this point, she had been ignorant of her beau’s group of chums.  However, my guess was that she was not.  One is known for the friends one keeps.  Unfortunately there is often a steep price to pay when one ignores the truth.

On the other side of that equation, one of my college buddies became an attorney.  Whenever I had a legal question I sought his advice.  He steered me the right direction every time.  (He also discounted my fees, for which I was grateful, though I would have gladly paid full charge.)  He is gone now.  I consider myself fortunate to have known him as my friend.  He was a quality man who gave cheerfully of his time and talents.  He was worthy of the title “Friend.”

I feel the same way about tools.  They should be trustworthy.  I do not keep a screwdriver that no longer grips the screw head.  Sometimes I try to re-file the tip, but that seldom helps for long…the metal has become too weak.  It is just taking up space better used for quality working tools.  I believe that a clutter-pile of useless tools indicates a possible mental illness … DSM 5 needs a diagnostic category for that (maybe they have one?).

On the other side, I thoroughly enjoy my compound saw.  I am better at breaking things than fixing them.  Yet with this saw I am king of home repair.  If I do my part, it cuts a perfect compound angle.  Pieces fit together.  The angle is true.  No one can ask more of a tool.

GPS, on the other hand, is often unreliable.  I am FORCED to use it because almost no one can remember every street and maps cannot direct you as you drive.  There are roads GPS “swears” don’t exist.  That would not be much of a problem if it did not “make up” alternative routes across streams where no bridge is built, or across public park foot paths, or through some homeowner’s back fence.  Let’s just say I would not use this tool if I could find a more reliable one.  In the last year it has failed the trustworthy test at least 100 times.  My time and safety are valuable.  I say the following with ZERO humor: There is one subdivision in the nearby city where GPS consistently invents roads and changes its “mind” just after I have passed the only street that leads to my destination.  

My points?

>Be smarter than your tools and wiser in choosing friends.  

>Re-evaluate the relationship whenever the device or friend lets you down, or when the device or friend exceeds expectations.

>Sometimes a failure is an indication of a much larger problem.  Do not put off what is necessary.  You may save yourself a heap of unnecessary trouble.

Seriously!!  Life is too short to waste one minute on bad friends or broken tools.


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~ The Dying Generation ~


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