“Sean” was the typical bullying victim. He was the new kid at school, noticeably overweight, and donned wide-rimmed glasses before they became hipster apparel. Like most 5th grade transfer students, Sean was shy and struggled to assimilate into his new environment. Despite all of this, I found Sean to be a pretty chill guy. We spent hours quoting our favorite lines from Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, an unremarkable film that we thought was God’s gift to the cinematic arts. We both shared an affinity for the Oakland A’s – a badass baseball team with the likes of Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada, and the “Big Three” of Hudson, Mulder and Zito. In computer class, Sean and I would compete to see who could draw the most inappropriate portrait in Kid Pix.
However, not everyone took to Sean as I did. Girls didn’t find him particularly attractive, for what it was worth in 5th grade. Most people ignored him. Unfortunately, my homies decided that ignoring Sean would not suffice. Tired of being douchebags to some other undeserving kid, they decided to make Sean their next target. This included countless fat jokes, hiding his glasses in random places, and stuffing Twinkies in his backpack during recess. For the most part, Sean kept his chin up and took it like a champ. Nonetheless, I noticed an inevitable rift in our friendship. I was caught in a pretty shitty situation – Do I stand up for Sean and risk alienating my friends? Do I bail on Sean and join my friends in harassing him?
With some light coercion and a heavy dose of immaturity, I chose the latter.
Being part of the “popular” group with my friends was fun, but it was also bittersweet. By the time 7th grade rolled around, Sean and I hardly acknowledged each other. I knew my actions were wrong, but I couldn’t step away. Peer approval was like crack at that age. After graduation, Sean and I attended different high schools and lost touch.
Nearly 8 years would pass before we spoke again. During my first year of law school, I received a Facebook friend request from Sean. I wasn’t sure why he wanted to be my virtual friend after I ruined our real-life friendship and treated him poorly. Still, I accepted the request. A few days later, I received a message from Sean congratulating me on getting into law school. I was genuinely touched by this gesture and decided to strike up some small talk. He was surprisingly friendly and didn’t seem to harbor any resentment. After telling him that I would be visiting the Bay Area soon, Sean replied:
That’s awesome. Do you play Xbox 360? Come over, let’s hit a blunt, and mash on some Call of Duty.
I was floored. Did this guy forget everything that happened? Was he really inviting me into his home to smoke?
When I arrived at his place, Sean greeted me with a big smile and a hug. He was taller and slightly thinner. After catching up on a few things, Sean offered to roll a blunt and gave me the honor of choosing the strain. I went with Sour Diesel since it was the first strain I ever tried and had nostalgic value.
We puffed away while gorging on sour gummy worms and Chex Mix. After getting my ass handed to me in Call of Duty, Madden, and Halo, I decided it was time to broach the fateful subject. Properly stoned, I turned to Sean and said something along the lines of: “Hey man, look, I’m really sorry for everything that happened. We both know I fucked up.”
Passing me the blunt, Sean just grinned knowingly. After a few moments of silence, he looked at me and said, “Dude, it’s all good.” Cheesy as it may be, Sean explained how time healed all. Our antics considerably bothered him for a few years, but he eventually learned to move past it. Sean’s desire to rekindle our friendship outweighed his bitterness over these past events. I distinctly remember having to “fake scratch” my eyes in order to hold back a couple of tears. As I left with a cleaner conscience, it felt great knowing that Sean and I were friends again. Not even the flat tire on the way home could kill my vibe.
Sean later joined the armed forces. We haven’t talked much since then, but his ability to let go of the past carries on with me today. Call up an old friend. Apologize to someone you’ve wronged. Share a bowl, joint or blunt… or all three. Relive good memories or be courageous enough to make new ones.
Perhaps Danny Vinyard in American History X put it best:
Life is too short to be pissed off all the time. It’s just not worth it.
~ How Weed Gave Me a Second Chance at Fixing a Friendship I Fucked Up ~