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Gadfly In Training: Caution: sappy last column ahead

Susan Bonicillo
By Susan Bonicillo
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, May 12, 2004
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Throughout the year, I've paid homage to two very essential things that I rely on to get me through the day, those things being caffeine and nicotine.

However, as important as these two things are, I failed to mention another important aspect of my life.

Perhaps it's because of the end of the school year and seeing friends graduate, but circumstances have got me feeling a little sentimental.

Though this might be a surprise for those out there who read my columns, I am capable of emotions other than just sarcasm and a basic discontent with just about everything in the world. I've grown quite soft in my old age and it's all I can do to stop myself from crying during the last episode of "Friends."

And now, with the saccharine-sweet sentimentality worthy of a Hallmark made-for-TV movie, I'm dedicating this column to all my friends, both to those who are and are not speaking to me.

To give some context to the situation, I admit to having a wide range of friends. But it's not because I'm a social butterfly, mind you. I'll just let you in on a little secret about me: I have exceptionally low standards. Basically, the definition of a friend to me is anyone I've met who can tolerate me for more than five minutes.

Additionally, I have this irrational and all-consuming fear of abandonment. I'm not exactly a tactful person, so I know I'm bound to alienate some people in my life. However, to be business-like about it, I've diversified my portfolio of acquaintances, if you will, just so that I don't run out of people to hang out with. I then bounce around to another set of friends until I start to irritate them as well. And then the cycle of annoyance and retreat starts anew.

Like a CD collection, I have certain categories of friends, each of them appealing to different parts of my psyche. For instance, I have some friends who have no idea what the word "tact" means. With an almost allergic reaction to bullshit, I know I will get straight answers from them whether I ask their opinion on a new haircut, outfit or beau.

Similar backgrounds and emotional defects are another great foundation for establishing companionship. Take for instance a dear friend of mine who, like me, was a former fat kid. For people who were porkers in their younger days, you know the mentality of being a fat kid never quite goes away, especially in grade school, where the law of the playground dictates that the pudgy ones are ostracized and have Cheetos hurled at their roly-poly heads.

The emotional scars never quite heal. With her, I have someone who knows the heartache of being a sixth-grade schoolgirl who would be the perfect weight if only she were a 6-foot-2 male.

Then you have the type of friends who are this close to canonization, those people who continually amaze with their sheer brilliance. You know that they're too good for you, and you just hope against the day that they realize it and drop you like a bad habit. If I could just ride on their coattails for the rest of their lives, living in the shadow of their magnificence, I would be content.

And, of course, essential to any modern girl's guide to living, where would I be without the guidance and tutelage of my gay boyfriend?

Yet, as much as I value each and everyone one of my friends, I know that in some cases, there's an unwritten expiration date for the time you two are together.

In many ways, the breakup of a friendship is much more devastating than one of the romantic kind. You never think that you'll break up with a friend. But, sometimes, whatever the circumstances may be for the separation, the sense of loss will be the same.

This year, I'm losing a few people, what through graduation, transfers and just a plain old ugly falling out. Yet, despite these setbacks, I'm grateful for the time that we had and the fact that they put up with my neuroses for as long as they did.

Susan Bonicillo is a sophomore majoring in English. She can be reached at

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