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savoir unfair
by michel foster

Savoir Unfair

I have a platonic male friend who I’ve known for a long time. We have been through both the good and the bad times together.

I like him in almost every way, except for one noticeable flaw. He has a nimbus cloud following him wherever he goes. Sometimes this cloud is associated with rain. Sometimes it is accompanied by sleet turning to hail. What I mean to convey is that important and meaningful things in my friend’s life never, ever, seem to come out “fair” (at least to him). So even though he is cute, personable, smart, energetic, and fun loving, he has an uncomplimentary attitude that I would best describe as the dreaded “Savoir Unfair”.

Some of his problem seems to stem from the fact that he expects too much too soon e.g. “Why doesn’t she call me? I know that we’ve just met for the first time at the newspaper stand today in the pouring-down rain, but why doesn’t she call me?” And often he feels under appreciated and overlooked. “Why didn’t I get that promotion. I know that I’ve only been there for only three weeks, but I’ve implemented so many helpful innovations already”.

You might ask me then, “why would you want to be around someone that kvetches about his experiences and wrings his hand about all his future possibilities? Doesn’t he drain you? Don’t you get weary of the moaning and the complaining? Doesn’t he weigh you down? Tear you apart? Make you beg for mercy? Compel you to go out and buy expensive clothes that you don’t want or need? Incite you to kick the cat, your neighbor’s dog, or any nearby person regardless of their race, creed, or preference for garlic? Doesn’t he make you want to invade a foreign country? Don’t you want to reach for the chocolates (the dark ones)?”

Well, yes, sometimes. But, then again, no, not really.

My friend’s best attributes will always be healing salves for my mind and heart. Besides being personable, cute, energetic, and fun loving, he’s kind, generous, helpful, hardworking, and prone to hearty laugher at just the right moments.

He appreciates the simpler things of life such as an ice cream cone on a hot summer's day, clean laundry, and the Sunday newspaper.

On top of everything else, he likes me for me and forgives me for my sins without making me profess an Act of Contrition.

Now, if I could just help him get over his “why not me?” attitude.

As I see it, the most direct way would be to tell him about my feelings about his awry mindset, and have him consult with a meteorologist. I fear, though, that that might hurt him beyond forgiveness, and thus, ruin our timeworn relationship.

On the other hand, he might surprise me and listen to what I have to say, mull it over, and try to change his attitude for the better.

I hope so. Otherwise, I will be forced to send him on an all-expense-paid vacation to somewhere far, far away for a very, very long time.

I know that I would miss him.


I was born in Florida. I grew up in Nassau County, Long Island, N.Y., and in the suburbs of Maryland just outside of Washington, D.C. My teachers in New York and Maryland struggled to show me the proper path toward the light. Sometimes, that light appeared (at least to me) to be yellow and blinking. Other times, it would turn suddenly from green to red without the perfunctory warning of a yellow. A few of my literary heroes have included the artists and writers of Mad Magazine, the Bible, Shakespeare, Cole Porter, Ogden Nash, and Erma Bombeck.

more about michel foster


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