the nature of friendship has been much on my mind lately (probably always) because it has been, as long as i can remember, something that i’ve not been very good at it (building friendships.) i root around for answers, reasons, thoughts (any damned ‘aha’ moment would do) but rarely find the truffle (a hunting pig i am not.)
today i will not belabor the point, as i’ve covered it here & here & here & in other posts as well. (should you want someone else’s opinion on friendship in the internet age, i’d recommend this post by author matthew gallaway.)
but the issue remains, & becomes particularly acute as one ages (oh, yes, the march of time; it would be so much easier if, like bees, we had only one purpose in this life, or could decide on only one purpose among all the choices we are given, but that will probably not change any time soon) & if, like myself, you are family-less & child-less, the lack of deep & abiding IRL (internet language delights & frustrates me) friendships weighs heavily.
‘tsouris’ seems an odd choice of title for me, but, a brief history may help explain: at some point in my sophomore year of high school, i read “darkness at noon” by arthur koestler, which led me to books by elie weisel & bernard malamud. then i began to read historical accounts of the holocaust (my fascination with the subject may be due to my german roots) which eventually led me to leo rosten’s “dictionary of yiddish” which absolutely delighted me & i liked to spice up my speech with a well-placed yiddish word (because it confounded strangers, friends & family.)
at my elementary school, we started learning french in 4th grade (required through 6th grade) & at least one year of a foreign language was required in high school (french, german, spanish were the choices, & i, like the good student i was, took all three.) but it did not end there for me (i eventually got my minor in french.)
without the foreign language study, i believe i would not be who i am today (or who i hope that i am.) words would not have the same meanings (in spite of merriam-webster), sentences would not be as much fun to construct (or de-construct or have no structure at all.) the playfulness of language & the ability to nail a feeling with just the right choice of word, turn of phrase, all of that would be somehow less compelling for me.
so, back to ‘tsouris’ (distress, trouble); it was the word that came to me when i loaded these photographs into this post yesterday (before the words came out this morning). it captured how i felt at that moment better than the word ‘distress’. i have some tsouris about friendship at the end of the first decade of the 21st century & i am in even more tsouris about the deterioration of language & how many (most?) people don’t seem to care. languages are dying (is it evolution or laziness?) consider this one man’s stand against the inevitable.