March 26, 2007


Were you the mean friend in high school? Did you say, unforgivably, to some boy obviously interested in you and even more scared to death of you, "don't even look at me."
I wasn't the mean friend. But I also wasn't the girl that all mean friends verbally punched and kicked either. Granted, there were times when, for some unknown reason, my friends would decide they weren't eating lunch with me one day. Or, they'd all wear a certain color and forget to tell me so I didn't fit in. But I think that's the usual fare for junior high and high school.
What I do know intimately are the results of those terrible days where I felt like an outsider in every respect. That hollow feeling; seeing the world in a blur where everything sounds like I was listening with my head in a bucket of water - those feelings I hope NEVER to cause in someone else. Now I try to remember everyone's birthday. I try to let everyone know they are welcome at lunch, or a party or my house. If I accomplish only one thing in my lifetime, it will be to avoid making someone else's stomach hurt the way mine did on a particularly difficult day in junior high.
Ira Glass, host of This American Life on NPR and the show of the same name on Showtime, did a fabulous story this week entitled, The Allure of the Mean Friend. This is a great listen with clever commentary and great first-hand experience from individuals who were the mean friend or a victim of the mean friend. I giggled; oh how I giggled.

{isnt' Ira cute!}


tiffany said...

I just listened to this while working, thanks to your recommendation. I love this program, and this one was very intriguing. I found my fifth grade journal not long ago and found some banter back and forth with one of the oh-so-popular girls in the grade, and everything she said was so mean. Why did I like her???

jordan said...

Paul and I watched the show on the internet over the weekend but it was stories we'd already heard. I wonder if all the episodes will just be radio programs rehashed??

Tonia Conger said...

I think that the TV episodes are rehashes of the radio show since it came first. I seem to remember an interview with Ira where he explained that he was doing both radio and TV on the same topics.

ali said...

I recall the same information, Tonia. It could work, if it offers new perspective (visuals).

I love Ira's voice, but it's nice to see his face too. :)

I think I'm all commented out, now.