Losing a good enemy is a lot like losing a good friend. We may not call them enemies, but we all have them – real and supposed.
The Faces Of Grief
When a good friend dies the loss is heavy and can manifest itself in many ways. Some people grow stronger. Others withdraw. Anger erupts and emotional resiliency is erased. In psychological terms – they’re a Mess. What will I do now? Who will I hang out with? Who sees things the same way I do? Where’s my soulmate? Eventually we move on. How you deal with losing a friend is by valuing the friends you still have, maybe by making a new friend, if you’re lucky.
A Shrinking Friend Circle
The more mature we are, the more discerning we are in our friendships. We are more selective about who we spend our time with, and that irises the friendship circle down considerably. People who annoy us (assholes) or are too dull for words (literally) fall away. Some move away. Others die. Our tolerance for suffering fools is lowered. For many reasons, as we grow older, we have less and less close friends. I used to have hundreds of friends. Okay, not hundreds, but lots. Now I have four.
Fences Make Good Neighbors
Thank God, I also have a couple of good old fashioned enemies. Neighbors, of course. Who else do you get to know more intimately than you ever wanted to? You get to know the kind of music they like, the kind of people they hang out with, how late they stay up, how early they get up, the smell of the foods they eat, their pets, their pet peeves and how easily annoyed they can be. These are all details of a person’s life that should only be shared with their closest friends and family, not strangers who were arbitrarily placed within shouting distance.
Especially, if you live in a house with next door neighbors on both sides. I have a yin-yang situation surrounding my home. One on side is the nicest guy you’d ever want to know. On the other side is an evil conniving son of a bitch who has lied and schemed and scammed ever since he moved in 37 years ago.
Losing A Good Enemy
Unfortunately, he’s headed for a tragic adventure, the land of dementia. He’s not the fast talking huckster he used to be, and that saddens me. You’d think, finally, now that he’s stopped being a Grade-A Asshole that I, an enemy, would be delighted. Nope. Quite the opposite. I don’t particularly feel sorry for him, but I am sorry that our wonderfully adversarial relationship is coming to an end.
I should talk. I have so many memory issues that I forgot what I was writing about. Oh, yes… Enemy Loss. And Depression.
When you lose a good enemy how do you go about getting a new one? A good enemy is someone you can duel with. Someone you disagree with every chance you get. Encounters are like a sports match. Losing an enemy like that is a loss that has to be dealt with like any other loss, whether it be human, animal or your favorite plant.
Losing a good enemy can leave a strange feeling of ambivalence inside you. If you had previously wished them harm or ill will then you might feel badly if something terrible happened to them. And if they just moved on or away then you might miss the adrenaline surge you got from the animosity they stirred within you.
We all need friends and we need enemies just as much. I don’t care if your enemy is an evil public figure, an annoying co-worker or an overbearing next door neighbor. You need them as behavioral barometers. It’s harder to make a good enemy than it is to start a new friendship. That’s why I think enemies are a valuable and necessary part of our personalities.