Pick My Best Friend Growing Up?

Running through a recent setup for a site required answers to security questions.

Mother’s maiden name? No problem, although the “maiden” part brought a chuckle, I doubt my mother ever considered herself a maiden.

First Car? Again, easy.

Cumberland High School

Then came the tough one. Who was your best friend growing up?

Dead stop.

How the hell do I choose that? Perhaps I am more fortunate than most but for me this question does not have one answer. It has four. Each with their own justification for being the right one. Growing up in Cumberland, Rhode Island was a most fortunate thing for me.

For introducing me, at the tender age of 16, to the song Brooklyn Roads by Neil Diamond and a lifetime appreciation of music, I have a lifelong friend named Tony Afonso to thank.

For becoming my Latin Buddy in the eighth grade, driving my grade down as we struggled to pull his out of the negative numbers, I have a lifelong friend Ralph Ezovski. A mere ten years later, we were working plainclothes anti-crime assignments for the East Providence Police department and, much to our surprise, never needed Latin. Not once.

For pushing me to limits greater than I ever would have done on my own in school, I have a lifelong friend Cam Nixon.

And for his permanent smile and infectious sense of humor, I have a lifelong friend Clyde Haworth.

Each of these friends have molded my life in different ways. From the days of the Hurricane Brothers Bowling team (a fictional group we invented that never entered an actual bowling alley) to our maintaining a connection all these decades since eighth grade. Each has made an impact, and I consider them all best friends growing up.

The question troubled me. How do I choose?

I would choose another question. But before I did that, I wondered if I might face an even more troubling choice.

What if they asked Who is your favorite child? I mean how do I answer that? I only have one but still it might be at a moment when I’ve questioned that decision. (Just kidding Kelsey, you are my favorite. It wouldn’t be that hard a question.)

What if they asked what is your favorite color? How do you pick one color out of a rainbow when each is necessary for there to BE a rainbow?

What if they asked who is your favorite teacher? How do I pick one out of so many who taught me? Some I may not have appreciated then. Some I still have doubts. But I know each played a part. Although if forced to name names, Dan Walsh is right up in the top 30 or 40%. (I had to say that because he sometimes reads these rambling pieces.)

What if they asked what is your favorite time of the day, or time of the night, or favorite star in the sky, or season, or flavor of ice cream, or a favorite song, or favorite memory? How do I pick one thing out of a lifetime of experiences, places, people, or moments?

So, I decided my best friend’s name growing up is TonyRalphCamClyde and hit enter. The response brought a smile to my face.

Invalid answer, too many letters.

And right then I knew I’ve had a life worth living.