They say, 'you can tell a lot about a person from the company they keep'.
I'm not sure I'd agree with that.
(And I'm pretty damned certain my friends wouldn't. Or my family. Or my wife. Or the dog, for that matter.
Frankly, it's probably in my best interest that they don't think too carefully about it, so don't fricking remind them, all right? I think I spend quite enough time alone as it is.)
As a matter of fact, the assertion is so ridiculous and out of date that I think we should replace it. Not simply expunge it, you understand -- certainly, you need something to 'tell you a lot about a person'. Without some sort of handy barometer to make snap judgements with, how would we ever feel anything about anyone? Who's got time to form opinions of other people based on real personality and wit and character? Not I. 'Forging relationships'? Honky, please. You're exhausting me.
But what to replace 'the company one keeps' with, eh? It's a tricky question, and one that I can't answer definitively just at the moment. However, I can provide a few suggestions, and let you decide which you think is best. Or make your own list; maybe you can tell a lot about a person from whether they like to make lists or not. I don't know. But again, I think I hope not, 'cause here's mine:
'You can tell a lot about a person from the contents of their pockets.'
Probably true. Certainly, my own life is usually pretty well summed up by six dollars, a smudged ID, a fistful of lint, and a set of keys with a nifty attached bottle opener. It's downright metaphorical, really.
But I already know a lot about me.
(Too much, some would say. What can I tell you -- I'm all about any kind of 'self-exploration' that doesn't involve petroleum jelly. And maybe a couple that do. But only on weekends. Moving on.)
And how often do you get to go through someone else's pocket stuff? That's the weakness of this one -- by the time you get to what's actually in your subject's pockets, you already know all you need to know about them. I've tried it, and I've found that the people willing to participate are usually one of three types:
(And specifically, a dead drifter, because those are the only ones who let me rummage through their shit. And they always have pretty much what you'd expect a dead drifter to have in his pockets. Namely, six dollars, a smudged ID, a fistful of lint, and a set of keys with a nifty attached bottle opener.
You know, suddenly I'm liking this one less and less. Next!)
'You can tell a lot about a person from the names of their pets.'
This one's a little trickier, of course, because lots of people have kids and spouses and imaginary friends, and sometimes those people are also involved in the naming of the domesticated critters.
(In which case, you can pretty well judge a person by the name of the person they've married, or what they've named their kids, or their pretend friend.
Honestly, it's one thing to have a cat named 'Snookums' strutting around the house. Maybe one of your kids is responsible for that. But if the kid in question is named 'Delbert' or 'Bunifa', then you've got no one but yourself to blame. I don't give a damn whose idea it was.)
Just for the record, our dog is named 'Susie'. I'm not sure what that says about my wife or me, exactly, but it seems fairly innocuous. And if it helps my case at all, when we adopted the dog, her name was 'Xena', and we changed it.
(Of course, since then I've tried to get my wife to answer to 'Xena', with only marginal success. She won't wear the costume, either. And the dog won't fit into it, so it's just a waste of good leather and spandex. Sad, really.)
Let's try another one.
'You can tell a lot about a person from how far they spread their legs to pee.'
Okay, this one might only apply to the men out there, seeing as how we usually stand up to pee. If a woman tried to suddenly spread-eagle herself on the can, the stream would probably smack right into the stall door. With enough arch, it might even shoot over it, which is not something that anyone wants to have to explain. Liquid seeping out of an occupied bathroom stall is one frightening, willy-inducing thing. Any sort of squirting action is quite another, and not in a good way.
So let's limit this discussion to the gents in the hizzouse. From casual observation -- no, dude, really, it was just casual observation; I wasn't 'peeking', okay? Get back to your 'business at hand', so to speak -- I can tell you that there's quite an impressive range of 'urinal stances' in use out there.
Some guys, they like to spread out -- I guess the idea is to air things out down there, while they're lightening up the old bladder. Other guys play it more conservatively, with feet together and furtive glances over their shoulder from time to time. I'm not sure what they think is happening behind them, exactly -- but they seem to want to stay apprised of the situation back there, regardless. Maybe they're prone to stalkers. Or maybe they've been involved in some sort of 'unpleasantness' while standing at a urinal in the past. Like in prison, perhaps. I can understand how that might make one a bit skittish.
Me, I'm in between. I don't click my heels together and wish for Kansas while I'm taking a 'wiz', but neither am I doing a fricking split in front of the pisser, either. Shoulder width, baby -- shoulder width. Nice and easy, that's my style. And I only shake it twice -- just for the record.
Folks, this list could go on indefinitely -- and keep getting progressively sillier, no doubt -- but I've troubled you enough for one night. Hopefully, though, I've convinced you that 'the company one keeps' is not the only measure of a person's character. All you've got to do to gather more information is dump out their pockets, spy on their pets, and watch them use the bathroom. And doesn't that sound a lot easier than paying attention to who they hang out with? Honestly, I can't understand why no one's had these ideas before. This is basic shit, people.