My friend Alex once challenged me to our own personal adaptation of the Nathens Hotdog eating competition. Only we actually upped the ante, we ate chilidogs. “anyone can do hotdogs Alex said, but Chilidogs??! Now that will be fun!” It was one of those great moment in time that you know is probably not going to turn out well but you do it anyway. After 8 chilidogs I blacked out in the bathroom lying in a pool of bile and hotdog parts. Last Halloween my friend Jeff looked me in the eye and insisted that twenty-two is not too old for trick or treating. He skipped through the streets on Halloween that year with all the other kids, dressed as President Bush, pillowcase filled with jujubes and mars bars. He even teepee’d my house. He came over the next day and sheepishly helped me collect the used toilet paper roles. When I broke up with my girlfriend my friend Mark agreed when I said it would be a good idea to watch the first two seasons of LOST nonstop over a rainy fall weekend. He didn’t seem to mind when I decided personal hygiene was optional. These people are the best friends, roommates, partners, and accomplices of my life.
Because of them, I believe that true family is not always connected by blood; your true family members are those that are cut from the same essential cloth as you, those singular individuals who for some reason just “get” you. Life becomes fuller if you are lucky enough to have these people around you and is sadly empty when they are gone. These people become part of who you are, they fold and alter your personality in ways you don’t notice until suddenly your stuffing 14 pancakes down your mouth in a IHOP pancake eating contest and wondering how you could have decided this was a good idea, and despite moments like this, your better for having them in your life. Because sometimes things happen and it is so easy for people to become ignored, belittled, or simply dismissed in everyday life. It’s the sad truth that people can go through their whole life like that, overlooked. That is why it is vital to find some people who truly see what is exceptional in you. These people may not be blood but their connections run deeper, they are the connections of true friendship and joy in each others life.