Tyler wrapped his arm around me in a drunken ‘I love you man’ headlock-hug. It was Christmas 2015 and getting drunk with my childhood buddies once a year is tradition.
I’ve known Tyler for 28 years; we started Grade 1 together. I love the guy like a brother, along with the rest of the boys in our group. Even though a lot of us live out of town we manage to stay close (thanks to smartphones and WhatsApp). We cap off the year with a party in Tyler’s parent’s basement.
Tyler pulled me close. His breath reeked like Matinee Gold cigarettes, beer, and garlic sausage.
“Ssssssooooooo,” he said, an inch from my nose. “You’re blogging and trying to become a life coach now, eh?”
I nodded and smiled. I knew I’d eventually be in the hot seat. Tyler was Rowdy Roddy Piper and I was about to get grilled in Piper’s Pit.
Tyler howled with laughter and shook his head. “You know I love you, man, but you’re a fuckin’ weirdo!”
Do you have friends like this?
I love my childhood buddies. I’m happy we stay close. And I love that we revert to a high school maturity level when we’re together. We tease each other and laugh until our faces hurt.
I knew this Christmas my blog was going to be a target. I had tried to mentally prepare for it.
In the past, I’ve covered certain things about my life. It’s just easier, you know? I’ve lived away from my hometown for over a decade. I’ve changed. I leave my tightest jeans at home in Montreal before flying to Thunder Bay for Christmas. I avoid telling my buddies about my swing dancing lessons or my love for superhero movies.
But it would have been impossible to keep my blog a secret. I sent the boys the link a few weeks ago. I hoped most of the flak would come via our WhatsApp group chat before the Christmas party.
Then, at the party, Tyler wrapped his arm around me and called me a ‘weirdo.’
After he said it, I remembered that these were the same friends who thought I was weird when I backpacked around the world. Those two years of globe-trotting were two of the most awesome years of my life.
A few months ago, the boys gave me the gears for my ‘vision quest’ as they called it. That 400 kilometre hike was one of the most awesome personal challenges I’ve ever accomplished.
And here we were, yet again. The same group of friends; the same Eric doing weird shit.
I looked at Tyler and laughed. “I’m happy you think I’m a weirdo! I must be doing something right!”
I might fail as a blogger and life coach. Or, maybe not. Time will tell. But when my closest friends think I’m doing something weird, I like my chances!
Be weird, Weirdo. Own it. The rewards are awesome.