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On the whole, I enjoyed college. I enjoyed football, I enjoyed track, and I enjoyed girls. I tolerated bookwork. I excelled at the first three, but struggled with the fourth. I would study in six- or eight-minute segments, for 14 hours at a time, because I hated it so much. But despite my difficulties with focus and memorization, I persevered and did well enough to get my Caucasian butt into medical school. So it all worked out.
Medical school was much worse. No football, no track, no girls. Only lots and lots of bookwork. It was absolutely horrible. I survived, but it was a miserable four years. Because I was so unhappy during that period of my life, I haven’t really kept in touch with any of my friends from that time. I don’t have a lot of doctor friends now, either, come to think of it. Doctors are sort of a weird group. They’re not all normal like me. But anyway, I haven’t kept in touch with my medical school friends as I should have.
After 25 years, I finally decided to reach out to one of my friends from that time. He included me in a running group text with me and him and a half dozen other classmates from my med school class. They text back and forth about football scores and funny memes and such. Nothing of any significance – just fun stuff – which was fine with me. And then one of them texted the following Tweet:
Another one of my friends responded with three laughing emojis. How clever!
I knew that I was probably the only conservative in the group. They were all leftists in school like they’re supposed to be. And I presumed that they all wanted to be perceived as open-minded and deep thinkers, so they would avoid any appearances of independent thought. They instinctively understand the Bernie Sanders rule of philosophy – the surest way to demonstrate original thinking is to never have an original thought during your entire life. And if you do, you never publicly admit it.
So I should probably let this slide, right?
Then, I thought, well, they haven’t spoken to me for 25 years. Who cares about the next 25? Right? So I responded to the Texas Tweet:
I suspect that the governors of Texas and California will be splitting the cost of putting that Tweet on billboards all over California, so that any Californians who have not yet moved to Texas might consider staying in California.
Worth a try. But it probably won’t work.
There was so much chatter on this group text for the past couple of weeks, I had to turn off the sound notifications because it was keeping me up at night. Now I haven’t gotten a new text in three days. I texted some stuff today about the Ohio State game, with no reply from anybody.
If my point is so wrong, you would think that all these smart guys would be jumping at the opportunity to explain to me what an idiot I am. But they didn’t even try. They just black-balled me.
Which I figured they might. And I guess I just didn’t care. They’re probably enjoying themselves more without my input. Which is fine by me. But not for them, if you think about it.
America has changed. Americans have changed. We choose a tribe, and our perceived value to society is determined not by our value to society, but rather by our loyalty to whatever tribe we chose. Friendship doesn’t matter. Our shared love of America doesn’t matter. Tolerance and empathy don’t matter. Only loyalty to whatever tribe you chose matters. Regardless of how dysfunctional your tribe is. Nothing else matters.
So you can’t be friends with anybody if you disagree with them about anything. What an empty existence it must be when you intentionally abandon everything that makes you human.
There is a reason that our society feels so foreign, and our politics seem so dysfunctional. America seems different. I miss it. I miss it a lot.
I miss my friends, too. But not as much. They chose their tribe. I chose them, but it didn’t matter. So I won’t lose any sleep over it.
But geez. I miss America. I really do…Published in