This blog is in honor of my friend, Barry Johnson, who doesn’t read my blog. I met Barry in August of 1972. I was carrying my gym-clothes in a paper bag. Barry noticed, but never made fun of me to my face. That’s a good way to start a life-long friendship.
Barry turned 55 today. Whenever I see him he suggests book titles to me. This time his suggestion was, “55 and Suicidal.” This is Barry’s idea of an excellent self-help book title. He told me that the fact that there’s no confusing 55 with midlife (which remains possible at 50) makes 55 much more emotionally painful. He also told me that being 55 and past mid-life is liberating because basically his life is over and so he can say and do whatever he wants. And Barry is an expert in eating and so I think this statement had something to do with him being able to eat whatever he wants . . . which is what he has always done except for when he briefly lived in Montana and decided to face that experience by doing a Melon-only diet (Watermelon only one week, followed by Cantelope-only). Barry is no longer an advocate for either Montana or the Melon diet.
Barry has funny ideas. He’s single. He’s a biofeedback practitioner turned real estate agent. He’s a gun-toting liberal. Sometimes he starts snorting uncontrollably when he’s laughing hard.
I think Emerson or someone said that consistency was the hob-goblin of little minds. Barry has a big mind with room for contradiction. He’s also one of the kindest people I’ve ever known. He’s been one person I can count on to make terrible fun of me . . . which he typically does exactly when my ego needs deflating.
It feels like big-minded Barry has been my friend forever. One of my next life goals is to convince him to try a little exercise and a healthy diet. I’ve been doing this for a couple decades and failing, but “Hey Barry” if you’re out their reading this I’m writing this because I love having you as a friend and so you should start eating right and exercising to take care of my own selfish needs.
There. That should do it.
Happy 55th Birthday Barry. Live long and prosper.