I had a friend named Mike who I met when I was in college; we were friends for sixteen years. He passed away a year ago, today.
I can remember at some point early on in our friendship I was complaining to him and his wife, my friend Melissa, about some slight that a thoughtless co-worker had made toward me. At the time I was working at Smalls Formalwear in retail, and our Assistant Manager was one of those very tall, very skinny guys who could eat an entire cow and remain the same size. He couldn’t abide ‘fat people’.
I don’t remember what it was he said or did that so hurt me, but I do remember Mike’s response. He, also a skinny guy himself, snorted with impatience as though he in turn couldn’t abide stupid people such as my Assistant Manager… and he said to me; “Carolyn – don’t ever let some idiot convince you that you’re not pretty.”
He said it with this amazing air of truth, as though it were quite plain for anyone with eyes to see – and anyone who couldn’t see it was too foolish to be bothered with.
I remember immediately feeling touched, and comforted, and I believed what he said because he said it in his no-nonsense way that simply brooked no argument. I was pretty, and my Assistant Manager was in fact, a real moron.
Years later he would spend the entire morning of my wedding day running back and forth from my parent’s house to the church in his car carrying messages, or supplies, or whatever needed carrying and generally making sure that everything was okay and running smoothly.
I guess that’s just the kind of guy he was.