CLINE: Old friends and older stories

Todd Cline

Todd Cline

The nice thing about making new friends is you get to break out old stories and tell them like new. The great thing about old friends is they expect the old stories; and if they're a good enough friend they might even help you tell them.

Not sure if it's because summer is coming to an end or what, but I've found myself in the mood to dial up old friends lately. And the laughter that comes with telling those old tales makes the effort of finding time (and sometimes finding the old friends as well) to catch up more than worth it.

Finding the new in things is what keeps most of us sane. A new place to eat, a movie we've never seen, a game we've never tried. But there's nothing more comfortable than the old things. Which explains why it's so enjoyable reconnecting with an old friend, not to mention why The Who are still able to go on tour.

I have a couple of local friends I don't get to see enough. But when we do get together the conversations are like shorthand, with no need for punch lines, only the set up to a joke enjoyed many times before. This can be annoying to newcomers, but that and the repeated stories from times and trips past are the way we communicate, like the rewatching of a favorite movie.

We like the familiar, which explains the popularity of a lot of things, including "Seinfeld" reruns. But familiarity has to run both ways, which is why an old story works best when told to an old friend.

I recently had dinner with some friends I hadn't seen in a while. But it didn't take long to get back into the old rhythms and the give and take and back and forth that comes only with time and good knowledge of a person. Heck, even seeing an old dog friend can be that way.

On that note, I discovered this past weekend that you can indeed teach an old dog a new trick. But as my friends may attest, it's a much harder trick to teach an old friend a new story.

Email Todd Cline at todd.cline@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Wednesdays.