don’t pick your friends because they’re clever. i used to think i wanted to be witty more than anything else but it’s not the most important thing. there’s a guy on my bus with a gap between his teeth. he’s six feet tall and wears nothing but army print. he doesn’t toy with precocious vocabulary words or lofty concepts— this is his second year repeating twelfth grade — and his eyes, brown like two coffee saucers, are constantly struggling to comprehend, not just peoples’ words but their meanings. he wants to be a carpenter like his father, and he offers to bring in wood for school play sets and build things, because he says “i’m not very smart but i’m good with my hands.” no innuendo, very earnest.
he’s got giant hands and a girlfriend who is big like him and rests her head on his shoulder. they ride the bus home together on fridays and seeing them is legitimately one of my favorite parts of the day. so happy.
pick your friends because they’re kind and good and authentic. cleverness is great, but more and more i’m discovering that a lot of clever people can be real assholes. good people come from all different brands of intelligence. they care about you and they know about life, and they surprise you in ways you’d never expect. some of the best people have been through the worst situations and survived. some of the strongest, most gorgeous people i know. in the end it doesn’t really matter how smart you are. in the end people are more important than computers and grades and money and status and even things like books that don’t serve as general symbols for materialism. ultimately, extracting the goodness from life (not like a syringe, but like a bumblebee) is what we’re meant to do. ultimately, you become like those you surround yourself with.
so sculpt a garden of kindness around you. i’m glad i have.