Thanksgiving friends back page

by Annie Beltran

A good friend will bail you out of jail, but a best friend will be wearing the identical orange jumper.  I didn’t coin that ideology; it might have originally been written in something great like the Bible or “The Odyssey.”

Every person on the San Diego State campus has a plethora of stories about his or her friends.  I consider myself to be good friend, and I’m sure my friends would support me on that.  But before you go long-distance running along the road of friendship shenanigans, how can you tell if this other person would equally go that distance for you?  How much is too much in the friendship bucket of favors?  What would you not do with your best friend?

I haven’t always been a social butterfly. When I was in junior high school, the nerdy trend wasn’t cool yet, so I was just another Steve Urkel to pick on.  In high school things changed—not just physically, but my confidence level improved as well. Following the trends of the popular kids throughout high school kept me at a good social status.

My father gave me some great friend-finding advice: “If the cool kids are jumping off the rooftops, would you jump with them?”

Thanks, Dad. I took that advice like everything else he told me back then—I flipped it around, flipped him off and jumped in my car to find the rooftop where all the cool kids were hanging out.

I made fast friends who, after high school, I quickly discovered had stayed on that rooftop and never left for better things.  I’m not saying I started my early twenties any better than the rooftop dwellers.  I just did it simultaneously while achieving certain goals that contributed to where I am today.

At 19 years old, my friend Big Head (such a name is needed for the considerable amount of noggin that rests on his shoulders) and I received a police escort into a county overnight drunk tank. The reasons are still a bit blurry in my mind, but the bologna and biscuit breakfast was enough to keep me from going back.  For me, orange will never be the new black. But that’s what friends do; they stick by each other.

When one friend decided there was a necessity to go to Mexico for Tijuana hotdogs, I didn’t shy away.  If you have never experienced a TJ dog, I will say there isn’t a Yelp review on the planet that could do those bacon and jalapeno wrapped beauties proper justice.

When that same friend dropped her contact lens on the cement bridge crossing the international border, I promptly picked it up, poured some water on it and helped place it back in her eye.  Like said, I’m a good friend.

Friends will ask you to do many things.  Offer that warm shoulder, give those harsh truths or pretend you’re in a crisis so they can let unworthy suitors off easy.

I do draw the line at certain favors, even if it makes me less of a good friend. I won’t help people pack when they move.  Don’t pretend this is an uncommon request. Several times I have been tricked into completing this shoddy task.  I will always help move the boxes, but why do people need help packing their belongings when they are moving?  The six-pack and pizza is no payment for having to dig through another person’s personal stash of random things.

I don’t allow friends to live on my couch longer than comfortably convenient for my cat, hamster or roommate, T-Bone.  Thank the heavens we haven’t run into this situation, because I strategically picked T-Bone to be my roommate when she listed “crushing people” as a favorite pastime.

I won’t “out” my friend’s or anyone’s sexuality, even when I thought my female friend’s boyfriend was a homosexual man.  Coming out of the closet was something I thought he had to do on his own.  I tried to give them subtle hints about my thoughts of his orientation confusion. For example, I started conversations like, “Hey, who do you guys find more physically attractive, Michael Phelps or RuPaul?”  As any good friend would, I strongly support the things people in relationships have in common.  For these two, they both like men. I will say that her style and wardrobe never looked more incredible than it did during this relationship.

What more can be said about good friends, before we all hang out with some turkey and candied yams?  Friends will always be on the “thankful for” list during the upcoming holidays.