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Ross Murray's Border Report
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Ross Murray
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is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at ross_murray@sympatico.ca
Posted 06.04.10
Stanstead, Quebec

ROSS MURRAY

How to make friends and influence pirates

It's easy to make friends when you're little. It goes like this:

"Hi. I'm Bertha. I'm five."

"Me too I'm five. I'm Jeremy. Can I come to your house?"

"Okay. But let's play in this sandbox first. No, wait! Let's get married."

"Okay. But I get to make the wedding mud-cake."

"Jeremy, you're my best friend!"

Easy as that. As we get older, though, making friends becomes increasingly difficult. You can't simply go up and talk to strangers. It's just not done. This is due to years of socialization and personal inhibitions, not to mention the off-putting pirate costumes.&

As adults, there are only two sure-fire ways to meet people outside of work and 12-step programs -- dogs and children.&

Pertaining to dogs, it's a well-known fact that the only reason man domesticated wolves in the first place was to get a date. ("Og puppy adorable. Me pet?") This is why so many young men in university become dog owners, even though they can barely manage laundry. Sadly, at the end of the school year, these dogs are often abandoned, along with the sofas, the fridges, and the girlfriends.&

The bottom line is that complete strangers will talk to you if you have a dog. Same goes for kids. The difference is that, if the dog gambit is a tad superficial, using your kids to break the ice can actually lead to lifelong friendships.

Some of my deepest adult friendships have been with fellow parents. Those relationships usually started off by talking about colic but quickly moved on to several bottles of wine and late-night debates about pirating.&

But what happens when the kids are grown and your dog is, frankly, an idiot? What if all that you have left to parade around is your spouse? How would that work? Let's see...&

Woman 1: "Roger, stop scratching yourself!"

Woman 2: "Oh, mine does that too."

W1: "They're terrible, aren't they?"

W2: "I know. You turn away for a minute and they're at it."

W1: "And they give you that look: 'I wasn't doing anything; I was only adjusting!'"

W2: "Aren't they always adjusting?"

[Laughter]&

W2: "So how old's yours?"

W1: "Forty-one."

W2: "I would have guessed 45, because of the grey around the ears."

W1: "Oh, I know he looks old but he's quite spry. He still satisfies me with, you know, with all the..."

W2: "The fetching?"

W1: "Exactly. I get coffee in bed at least twice a week. Roger! Are you ogling that girl? She's half your age, for goodness sake. Bad, Roger, bad!&

W2: "Listen, I have a husband at home. Sometimes I think he needs some companionship. Most of the time he just mopes around the house."

W1: "Does he like pirates?"

W2: "No, not especially."

W1: "Too bad. What is he?"

W2: "He's a German shepherd. Well, he was, until we emigrated to Canada and left sheep farming altogether. Now he's a paralegal. But old habits die hard. Sometimes if I leave the door open, he just bolts."

W1: "How do you get him back?"

W2: "Well, usually I say, 'I've got the remote! Who wants the remote!' and he comes running back. But sometimes I have to drag him out of the worst places, like sports bars and..."

W1: "And pirate conventions?"

W2: "Noooo..."

W1: "Listen, we should get our husbands together for a play date. Maybe some poker or --- oh, I know, I have a car engine they can stare at for a while. We can have tea... or something stronger."

W2: "You're on. Oh, and by the way? He's doing it again."

I don't want to be sexist about this, so let's see how it would work the other way:&

Man 1: "Is that your wife?"

Man 2: "Yeah." &

M1: "Nice."

M2: "I've been having trouble with mine. What does yours like?" &

M1: "No idea, really. &

M2: "Grunt."

M1: "Grunt."

M2: "Wanna get a beer? I know a good pirate bar near here."

M1: "Sure."

To tell you the truth, I've got enough friends already. And I don't know about you but this whole pirate fad is freaking me out!&

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