The best friend I've never met
Strange how friendships can form in the internet age
His name is Jonathan. I’ve never met him. Still, I consider him one of my better friends, and without doubt the best friend I’ve never met™.
99.xx% of my conversations with Jonathan have been text. We’ve talked on the phone maybe twice. We’ve never been on Video Chat IIRC. As far as I know, we’ve never been within about 600 miles of one another. I’ve seen a couple of pictures of him, none moving. I would not trust myself to pick him out of a crowd of white men of his age.
Mostly we’ve chatted through WhatsApp, where we’ve shared a channel since August 2017. Some email. Some Google Docs. Some Slack. Nowadays, some BaseCamp where he’s assembled a group of friends I’m privileged to be part of.
My friend Steve introduced us. Steve and Jonathan were Cal Tech classmates. Jonathan had to be pretty smart to get into Cal Tech, and he was pretty smart to stay connected to Steve, who is a Quality Guy and one of my better friends.
One of the things I love best about being a Cyborg is my memory. As a human being, I have always had an outstanding memory. Earlier today, I was editing a post about a job I’d had in 1965, and I remembered the names of most of the people I worked with.1 But my cyber-memory is way better. That’s how I know when I met Jonathan, and how I remember the moment I knew for sure we would be besties.
I wrote this in an email:
Not sure if I mentioned this in our conversation, but I am having knee replacement surgery on Sept 5th, and I expect to be taking drugs that will cut my IQ by a sizeable fraction. Nonetheless, I hope to be moving our conversation forward.
He responded proforma:
And I replied:
And he followed with:
The only thing that you can say that’s better than “your baby is the most beautiful child I’ve ever seen” is “Your blog is hilarious.”
I followed by sending him links to other things that I’d written. And then he did the one thing that you can do that’s better than saying, “Your blog is hilarious.” He started quoting lines from things I’d written back to me.
That was the start of a great friendship that (depending on where you date the friendship's official start) has lasted 1,275 days and counting.
What prompted this outpouring of appreciation was (or will be) described in this post.
My boss (Charlie Walker), my co-workers (Ken Beckman, Ken Mah, Paul I-don’t-remember-so-I-am-not-perfect), people at SAC (Jack Eldred, Angel (6) de la Cruz, Major Duggan, Colonel Petkus), a bunch of people with faces and first names only, but I’ll get about half the last names if I wait long enough (never mind, enough showing off.)