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The Dashing Life and Exuberant Times of Brian Harrison....And Other Rare Anecdotes

Monday, June 08, 2009

The Thing About Arch Enemies and Good Friends

Yes, everybody has had at least one during their lifetime. At least people with a certain style or verve to their personality. I’m truly sorry if you have never had the good fortune of having an arch enemy. They tend to teach us all kinds of things about ourselves. But for the most part, they teach us how to swagger with a certain panache, and they make one’s daily existence so much more exhilarating.

This is a story not about my own arch enemy. Mainly because to even mention him, I completely divert both our attentions to him. For by attempting to villify him, I would only make him a sort of murky hero. No, it is best when dealing with arch enemies to allow them to tell wild, incredible stories about you. And not vice versa. The stage of a tale is only big enough for one of you. And for my tale, I merely give the arch enemy the worst character, that of the silent, passing through, extra. I will only mention this about him. He is brilliant, smug, and pretentious. And I once nearly got in a fist fight with him at a costume party one night many Halloweens ago. That is all. Now i will make my archenemy leave the stage of my tale, and I will narrate our way onto other things.

There are a few criteria that applies to all arch enemies. It is merely someone that at the same time you cannot tolerate, but yet you respect. Yes, if you dig deep enough, and are able to face it, you find envy and, even, a deep admiration. What’s an arch enemy that you can’t respect? If the cards had fallen out different in your life, you could’ve well have been good friends. But they fell out wrongly and now it’s all an obdurate exchange of sneers and sour grimaces. In many cases, and paradoxically, the set of archenemies agree that the other is their arch enemy without officially communicating it to the other. Theirs is a war pact of scowls and squinty-eyed grudges.

Anyways, a few months ago. I had a similiar conversation with a good friend of mine. He brought the topic up, and I must say, he has further inspired me. Now this friend of mine has many good qualities. He is nice, adventurous, wise, and a good conversationalist. A leader and someone wanting to change the world for good. He has an all around good heart and capable brain. That, and he is one of the funniest people I know. But for all his good qualities, he happened to be rather begrudged towards this figure whom we will call, "Dave". Now, this Dave character, like my friend, is a capable church-planter and leader. But appears to be Soooo very successful at it all. Rumors abound, at how in Nashville where this Dave guy leads an ever increasing church that meets so trendily in a bar. And the people flock to him waiting for him to hand out bread and fishes. It being a bar, he rumors may be that he turns the water into wine, which attracts the crowds all the more. A certain authentic charisma charges the people assembled and he attracts followers, both young and old, male and blushing female, wealthy and (as every church planter is thankfully turning)..towards the poor. All this he does at the young age of 25 or 26. At least that's the way he's depicted. But here's the kicker, my friend met this Dave character and found him to be, so friendly and so nice, such an all around good guy, that my friend could not at all find any reason to hate him. Which of course, fueled an inner dislike of the guy all the more. It was from this interaction, that my friend dubbed him his arch enemy. Now, whether or not they will ever come to blows, or whatever Dave thinks of my friend, these are left up to speculation and a fanciful imagination.

But time progressed, and I left Orlando, and left the church-planters conference where my friend had invited me down. And eventually, I happened to make my way up to Nashville for my sister's graduation. Sunday evening, she proposed that me and a cousin of ours should visit this really neat church where they meet in a pub. We say, okay. And I, of course, knew where this was going to take me. Into the territories and strongholds of my friend's very own arch-nemesis. I was very excited about this.

Well, of course, the place was packed and everybody seemed to be in a state of extreme anticipation. We stood carousing in the back, when I look over at a counter and I see this little sheet of paper. And its where you can request a prayer or even ask for a call from anyone. For some reason or another I was in an extremely giddy, playful mood, so I reached over to the book and wrote that I would really like to know more about how this church started for I was wanting to plant the same type of church. And then I requested for Dave to speak with me, because I was particularly impressed with some of the ideas he has. Then, I did the most cruel thing. I signed my friends name and then got my cell phone out and looked up his number placing his number down. Yes, I know...dastardly...conniving...and so very shameful. But I couldn't help but think how funny it would be when my friend gets an actual call from his arch enemy on how to plant a church. I did this all, while Dave was actually speaking.

After the devotional, I went up to Dave shook his hand. And told him that I had heard about him down at this big church planter's conference in Orlando. He had heard of this conference but was flabbergasted. He was such a humble guy that he couldn't believe that someone had mentioned him and this church that he had helped plant. And I didn't dare tell him, that I mostly heard about him through his arch enemy.

Later that night, I made the bone-headed mistake of calling my friend and leaving a message about how I had shook his arch enemy's hand and found him to be an extraordinary person, a guy that I couldn't help but like. All this was in the spirit of good fun and rollicking camaraderie.

Well, the strange thing was, was that no call ever came back. Usually, I, at least expected him to leave a message back joking about this or that. But no call was ever returned. And if this particular friend of mine does not call to joke back, something must be the matter. And I began to suspect, that it could've been that very night that Dave had called my friend and something very, very embarrassing had taken place all due to my insolent practical joke. Weeks passed. And maybe even months. And for awhile there I thought that I had lost a good friend due to the subject of arch enemies. Who knows, maybe he had thought the extreme, and had placed me in the same camp as his nemesis. I was now his ex-friend, accomplice-to-his-arch enemy. A tarnished category in its own right. In fact, when I first began to write this piece, several weeks ago, I had not heard from him, and I thought that it would help things by writing about the humorous incident. But writer's block or procrastination had swapped me, so I never did finish.

And now recently, we are in correspondence once again. Things appear to be patched up. Though, neither have mentioned the incident til now. I hope he finds this funny.