I called in sick at the office yesterday and stayed on my couch at home with three large bags of dill pickle popcorn, a dozen powdered doughnuts and twelve cans of Tab and watched daytime TV all day until my wife came home from work whereupon I slipped out the living room window and then walked in through the front door pretending I was just returning from work.
MY BEAUTIFUL WIFE: Did you go to work in your pyjamas?
ME: The office called with a really important emergency this morning. They told me run right over, and not to even bother changing or going to the washroom or anything.
MY WIFE: All you do is make photocopies there? What kind of emergency could it have been?
ME: Well, the photocopier broke and there was no more paper and the door to the photocopier room was locked and no one has the key anymore and everybody needed copies and I had to make hand drawn facsimiles of everything, and because there was no paper, I had to draw and write on all the cubicle walls and furniture and the back of other people’s hands.
MY WIFE (annoyed): I keep stepping on popcorn.
ME: I must have left the popper on all day.
MY WIFE: Why is my make-up strewn everywhere? Were you playing with it again?
ME: You’re crazy!
MY WIFE: Do you have blush on?
ME: You're making me bashful!
Anyway, during my stay home for the day, I saw a captivating talk show which forced me to stop and think about the people in my life who might be holding me back. The show explained how many of us have individuals in our lives who do nothing but create more problems, like making you do all the work and pay the bills while they call in sick and stay at home, or leaving food lying on your floor, or using your stuff without putting it away and then lying about it.
The talk show host called these people Toxic Friends, and she showed everyone how to just dial them up by phone, in the middle of the day, and to tell them that you can’t be friends anymore. So this morning, from my desk cubicle telephone, I called my friend Randy.
ME: Hi Randy.
ME: You’re toxic and for a long time now, you’ve been holding me back.
RANDY (unsure of what I was talking about): Okay.
ME: The time you spent with me may have been the best you’ve ever had with a friend, full of laughter, snakes and ladders and ballet-jazz dancing but it’s lights out. You could have had all this for a lot longer but you blew it.
RANDY (still unsure): All right.
ME: I can’t be the Eric you want me to be, holding myself back just so you can feel good about yourself. I’m so much more than you’ll ever be, and I’m sorry if that makes you feel horrible about yourself. Lord knows, if I were you, I’d feel much worse, like a dirty piece of trash blowing around in some alleyway. You’re a brave man walking around as yourself, I’ll give you that. Not too many would do it. You might be the only one.
RANDY: Eric, if this is about the vacuum cleaner you borrowed last summer and never returned, it’s okay if you broke it. We already bought a new one.
ME: I don’t even know what vacuum cleaner you’re talking about, but if it’s the one I sold on e-Bay, I never broke it. We’re done, all right. Don’t try and make me change my mind. We’ll never be friends again so stop bringing up everything I’ve done in the past - to you, to your family or to your family’s friends. I can’t be friends with you, ever again. It won’t change anything if you bring up the fact that I once told you I’d remodel your house for free, knocked down all the walls, including the outer ones, and then stopped work for a month before finally admitting I didn’t know what I was doing but you still needed to pay me for all the time I put in, including all the hours I stressed around my house wondering how I was going to tell you that I completely ruined your home. I only said I’d work on your house because you’re so manly and I wanted you to think that I was really good with tools and bricks and wheelbarrows. I know you’ve never said anything about it, but I know you’re jealous of the Lexis I bought with the money you finally paid me. We’re done. Don’t ever call me here again, unless it’s for business and you want something fixed around your home. So let’s make this clear, I’m giving you up as a friend, not as a client. You pay much too well.
And with that I hung up. I looked down at my list. I had thirty more friends to go.