Please share your stories of “friendettas,”™ “party fouls” and breaches of pal protocol by e-mailing email@example.com. Our panel of internationally renowned legal scholars, etiquette experts and party ethicists will adjudicate any alleged social crimes. It's all anonymous--names will be changed to protect the innocent...and, actually, the guilty, too.
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One of Anecdotal’s subplots deals with a relatively minor transgression committed by one friend against another within the social milieu…one that took on a life of its own and festered into a full-fledged “friendetta.” ™ In my discussions with people who have read the novel—especially book clubs—I have been utterly amazed at the way this brief literary side trip stirs up bitter memories.
The International Court of Social Injustice lays down judgments on alleged violations that fall somewhere between “illegal use of the ‘shotgun’ rule before a road trip” and “my best friend stole my wife” on the spectrum of social wrongdoing. The Court grew out of the UN Commission on Party Fouls to become one of the world’s most esteemed legal entities.
According to legal scholars, in cases of Social Injustice, the wronged party is often unclear as to exactly how miffed he or she should be. In order to avoid coming off as hypersensitive, victims of alleged violations often begin their tales of woe with statements such as “I’m probably over-reacting”, “I don’t know why I let this bother me so much” or “I probably need to grow up a little bit.” But make no mistake, their nerves are still raw and their feelings frayed, sometimes years after even the most innocent of mistakes and the slightest of slights.
A surprising amount of Social Injustice stems from inequitable financial transactions among friends. The fellow who didn’t honor the $10 bet on the 18th hole of the golf outing last year. The gal who never chipped in for the wedding shower, yet had the audacity to make a speech. The couple who always offers up only half the cab fare when they share a taxi with a single friend. There are some people out there with extraordinarily precise spreadsheets in their heads and, believe me, they are very aware of the state of the financial ledgers vis-à-vis their friends and their “friends.” Most are forgiving of small irregularities in accounting--although they are definitely cognizant of them and they recognize patterns when they see them. And they hold grudges. For a long time. Some even plan their revenge through complicated friendettas.
When the aggrieved tell their stories, their faces turn more crimson by the second. Since I've become somewhat of an Oprah-esque or Dr. Phil-like expert in this arena, people have sought me out to tell me their tales. Their compelling testimony, rife with social conundrums and financial awkwardness, is the reason I have decided to convene the Court.
Some condensed versions for your reading pleasure:
I was going to a wedding outside of LA and I could have stayed at a relative’s house about 40 minutes away. However, I talked to a buddy who lived in Manhattan Beach, a little more than an hour from the wedding site, and we decided to chip in for a room together in the very expensive main wedding hotel. I reserved the room. Well, it turns out my friend decides after each night of wedding festivities that he just wants to drive back. I was stuck for a damn expensive room when I could have just stayed with my family for free. Does it matter that I paid for the room with points?
Marooned at the Marriott
A couple of summers ago, I was traveling to a bunch of East Coast cities with a few girlfriends. We were partying pretty hard in each of the cities and would leave our rental car at the hotel and just take cabs everywhere. When we were in Newport, RI, I didn’t have much cash on me so I couldn’t chip in for a bunch of cabs we took to the bars and parties. The next night, when we went to Boston, I offered to be the designated driver and chauffeured the group all around the city, so we didn’t need any cabs. But before we left Boston, my friend asked for the money for the Newport cabs. I told her I thought my shuttling the group of drunks all around for two days made up for the cab fare in Newport. She makes fun of me for it all the time, and the episode still causes friction...it really pisses me off! Who is in the right?
The Devastated Designated Driver
My friend is notorious for skipping out on his turn to buy a round of drinks. This dude heads off to the bathroom for about 20 minutes and then comes back with a drink instead of buying at our table. I think I’ve seen him do it 50 or 60 times over the years. Our group goes out to places where cocktails are $7-10 a pop, so I think he owes me almost $500 worth of drinks. Multiply this out over our whole group of friends and I think it’s probably a coupla thousand. Is it time for an intervention? Should we stop calling him when we hit the town? Should we just ask for the debt in cash money?
The Cocktail Contributor
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We want to hear your stories. We are the Court of Social Injustice, an assemblage of authorities on the code of camaraderie, each member of which has sworn—without malice or prejudice—to lay down judgment on even the thorniest of friendettas and party fouls. This group will interpret the Byzantine collection of written law and precedent to deliver definitive answers to victimized parties. Please submit your tales of Social Injustice (in a form similar to those above) to firstname.lastname@example.org.