I’ve always said to anyone who would listen – and you’d be surprised how many won’t – old friends are the truest friends. 

And by old, I don’t mean wrinkled and bad posture, although in Charlie Wynn and Al Simpson, I have two great friends significantly long-in-the-tooth. No, I’m talking those long-term pals from back when you both had pimples.

Speaking of pimples, Al was our guest on “Sports Nuts of the Round Table,” (KODI every Thursday at 5 p.m. That’s known in the biz as a “plug”). Relating his high school sports glories, Al admitted he was no chick magnet with his pesky pimples. I interjected, “Al had so many pimples, he fell asleep in the library and woke up to a blind man trying to read his face.”

That probably didn’t really happen, but loyal listeners know I’m on the panel more for inappropriate comic relief than precise sports knowledge. But I digest. 

I’ve been ruminating about best friends and how old ones compare to more current, less-invested ones. I see little comparison.

We all have that decades-old friend that upon reunion, we pick up pretty much where we left off so long ago. Ol’ best buddy Donnie Eash and I still talk on the phone occasionally since too many Bloughs have passed for planned trips home. I might begin, “How many potatoes you think you picked today?”

Eash might say, “About five bushels,” to which I retort, “That ain’t bad.” 

A rubbernecker might conclude, “Wow, these two are mentally ill,” having no clue we used to skip school to pick potatoes for profit and one day a busload of patients from the state hospital unloaded to do the same. 

One endearing fellow constantly talked about, “My boy Lucci; he’s a good boy.” He’d slowly drawl, “How many bushels ya got?” I might say, “Maybe about 50,” and he’d boast, “I got three bushels. That ain’t bad.”

I’m guessing you see where I’m going here? Sipping a prune juice at the Trailhead recently, I saw Al at the end of the bar chatting up the manager. I sidled down and whispered, “Don’t you think you’ve had enough, sir?” 

Al wrapped those Ichabod Crane arms around me and said, “Dougie, follow me; I want you to meet a dear friend.”

Follow I did and was introduced to Japanese-American Norman Mineta, who Al met at 12 when Norm was a child internee at the relocation camp and Al was a wayward Boy Scout visiting the shameful facility. 

They ultimately served in the Senate together from opposing parties and have remained great friends all these many decades. (You’d swear they’re both in their 60s if not for the elevated belt locations).

My tortured point is that old friends have always been there and always will. But occasionally there’s that longtime friend who had you not known forever, you probably wouldn’t even like. These disloyal mooks feel they’ve moved on to more influential friends and you’re kind of relegated to a backup, second-string team for when advantageous options are limited.

Not casting judgment, but they’re the opportunists who would switch name tags on your sack of potatoes when you’re distracted by Lucci’s dad.

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