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Funny Friend

By @Val

I spent years believing I was the funny friend. It wasn’t a prestigious title, or a coveted one, but I liked it for the simple fact that it gave me a purpose. Being funny friend meant the world to me. It made me something. Anyway, it was better than being the ugly friend. The fat friend. Or the friend that wasn’t really a friend. Funny friend was an identity, and I thought it suited me well. I walked with my head held high, crowned with the jester’s hat only I could see. My voice was always heard, though with indifferent ears that turned away as soon as the bit was over. They laughed, of course, but this was done mechanically and without soul.

There came a day of revelation when funny friend became someone that was not me. I meant less and less every day, and my words roused smaller acknowledgments until I heard the laughs directed elsewhere. To someone much funnier than I. A new funny friend. A better one. Someone, I realized to my horror, I had helped to create. My own laughter helped them rise to the title of funny friend and soon I was dethroned.

Usurped and betrayed by even myself, I felt as though I had been emptied of what made me me. This persona that I once embodied dutifully and gratefully, was stolen. The realization hit me hard that I was, in fact, not funny. Not even a little bit, in that passing, witty sort of way. Not at all. Not when so many other funny friends did it better than I did.

But what could it mean that I was no longer funny friend? Had I ever been? No. No, I realized, I had not. What I had been was loud. Always desperate to be heard. Lewd. Seeking humor in the macabre. Annoying. Every ill timed word disturbing the peace of conversation. Friendless. Now that was a concept: how could funny friend be friendless? A paradoxical ******* with a simple answer: I was not the funny friend.

I decided to test myself.

Remaining silent was hard for me at first. Cheap quips had become so reflexive for me, after all it was what gave me an identity, but I held myself back. Bit my tongue. Foot in mouth. Someone would notice. Surely, I thought, they would see. Something is wrong with funny friend. They would ask what had happened. What was eating me up inside. What kept my tongue froze.

No one did.

My funny heart was broken, and so I withdrew. Renounced my title without a fight. Allowed for a better, truer, funnier funny friend to take my place. They did so seamlessly, and with great review.

Friendless ex funny friend – this is what I became.

I lemented my once-reign as funny friend, if that it even was. Regret filled me for the stupid words I had used, the unfavorable bits, the insensitive mutterings. So stupid. Why had I done all that? Why had I made myself stupid for them? A fool for inattentive ears. Ears that turned away without memory of my humor, but only of my idiocy. All I wanted was to be heard. Not in passing, as they always did. They were not listening. They were waiting impatiently for me to be done, hoping the joke would be over quick and their time no longer wasted.

Why did I want to be someone, anyone, so bad that I let funny friend be the best I could do? It was the simplest of rolls, and I tried to embrace it though it did not embrace me back. Funny friend had not become me as I hoped it would. In truth, I was destined to simply be friendless.

Eventually something strange did happen. Something funny. Not lewd or loud or paradoxical, but funny. What was this happening, so strange that it was funny, you ask? Well, I made a friend. This was funny, to me, because they did not need a funny friend. Not funny. Not entertaining. Not anything at all. No demands for title or purpose was made. Without pressure to behave as someone I was not, my voice was heard by this new friend, who later became many friends, and they taught me something I once had believed impossible: that I can be wanted without reason. No jokes. No humor. No talent. No nothing. I can just be wanted.

There are so many better things to be than funny friend, and not one thing has to be my everything. I can be compassionate. I can be understanding. I can be supportive. Cheerful. Protective. Loyal. Loving. Friend.

And on occasion, even a little funny.

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