After a serious post about friendship, I thought of two much more trivial examples of friendship – you know, where you can get a free ride or a benefit or something because of a friend.
Several years ago a family moved into our neighborhood from Missouri and one weekend they invited us and some other neighbors over for a cookout at their house. The husband drove a full size pickup truck and sometime in the conversation expressed, “I don’t know how anyone, especially here in New England, gets by without owning a pickup truck.” I put my arm around his shoulder and said with my best frugal Yankee grin, “Why, we make sure we make friends with someone who does have a pickup truck, that’s how!”
And then there’s my friend Gerry who worked as an engineer for Anheuser Busch up to his retirement. Gerry got two free cases of Bud each month for personal use (he was very popular at his family get-togethers as you might imagine). From time to time the R&D department at his plant would give him a bunch of new brews to “test out” on his friends and relatives. Sometimes these brews were labeled, looking like they just came off a store shelf (and many would in fact appear in stores in the following week or so). But sometimes Gerry would have a box of bottled beer with just a paper tape label marked with a number written in magic marker. He’d be asked to report back which ones his friends liked and which ones didn’t go over very well. Ah, the la-bor-atory rats have been working hard at their concoctions again and need some guinea pigs! The ancient photo below is Gerry and I dutifully conducting our taste tests on his porch on a nice summer’s day. Rough work, but what are friends for anyway?