Andrew is a teller of tall tales; a lying liar of the most imaginative kind. He is loved by many around here and hated by some. Even those that like him express exasperation at times.
For one thing; you often cannot get a word in of your own creation, but if you do happen to speak a tall or even medium tale of your own, it is very unsatisfying because he will top it with an even grander lie.
I am happy to hang out with Andrew as much as I can, mostly because I know how tender he can be. He will call in the middle of the night just to hear another voice or discuss his problems. I have seen him tear up when you hug him and tell him he is a good man. Although, I will rarely call bulls**t on one of his stories. Like the time he took the paddle he was about to be whipped with from his shop teacher and busted him across the head with it. I know the shop teacher and I told Andrew that it did not happened with a laugh in my voice. He ignored me and was on to the next tale.
Andrew has been homeless for the three or so years I have known him, and off and on all his adult life. He is a charmer and always has a girlfriend or is “about to get one”. He recently got stung by a couple of ladies here in town, but it is fair to say he may have done some stinging of is own.
So he took off on a 300 mile bike quest to greener pastures, so to speak. When he found those pastures bone dry, he hopped on a bus to a Texas town he was familiar with. He is not lying when he says he has been all over this country.
Andrew was physically abused growing up and lost a junior high girlfriend to suicide.I believe those two things about him because I could hear the emotion in his voice when he was telling me.
Lies with guys like Andrew are not lies, they are fantasies. They function to keep hope alive and help him exist in a world where status is important, by creating some, where none exists. However status need not exist and exists only in our minds. I am an advocate of the idea that just being human is all the status you need. Something as a former hobo, I am actually starting to believe myself.
I say this because I made a big mistake with Andrew that, for the moment, has cost me his friendship. He had an online girlfriend he never met before. He told me he was going to send her some money for a phone, even though, according to her, she worked as a biologist in the Phoenix area. I begged him not to send her any money until he met her in person.
He was going to head down to Phoenix and get engaged and eventually married to this girl. When she realized he was serious about coming down, all of a sudden she flew off to Africa for a six-month assignment in Kenya. After he said he believed that ‘whopper’ I told him I did not want to hear another damn word about this relationship with her.
In hindsight I should have allowed him those fantasies. If you never heard one good thing about yourself growing up or at all, and you are so lowly in society’s eyes as to be homeless, it is natural to want an online honey telling you, you look good in your cowboy hat and are capable of many great things. I knew it was going to end badly of course, and when she finally broke up with him, his pride would not let him get a hold of me any more. I would have never said, I told you so. The problem was I told him so to begin with.
So at the moment I am missing a pirate I used to call a friend and licking my wounds while learning that valuable lesson of, accepting people exactly as they are even if it can be messy and exasperating to do so.
Someone tell me a tall tale would you.