Thursday, March 10, 2005

Who’s Your Turkish Prison Friend?

When I think about all the friends I have, I feel incredibly blessed. It’s as if I’ve got some strange and wonderful magical power to find and attract the most phenomenal people in the world. It doesn’t matter where I go or how awkward and insecure I feel, somehow I end up with the very best folks around. Unfortunately, over the years there have been a handful of friends that turned out to be false. I learned some valuable lessons from my experience with them. Those lessons hurt like hell, but they made me appreciate my true friends even more.

One of my best friends in the world is David. We met at an All City Orchestra when we were 15 years old. I had just had surgery on my teeth and my mouth was wired shut. He thought that was about the coolest thing in the world because even though my mouth was wired shut, I could still talk. Who knew that was a good way to impress a 15-year old boy?

Somehow he managed to discover other interesting things about me once my mouth was free of wires and junk. We maintained a friendship well into college and were even roommates for several years. By the time we were in our mid-twenties, we had accumulated numerous private jokes and shorthand communication that only the two of us understood. One of the ways we categorized new friends was to sort them as either a Turkish Prison Friend or a Non-Turkish Prison Friend (TPF / Non-TPF).

It takes a very special person to be a Turkish Prison Friend. They are quite rare and precious. The idea is based on the notion that in Days of Yore, Turkish Prisons were thought to be the scariest places in the world, something akin to Hell-on-Earth. Once you landed your sorry ass in one of them, it took a major miracle to get out again. A person would need a really helpful person on the outside to have any kind of hope for freedom.

The Hypothetical: If you landed your own sorry ass in a Turkish Prison (the likes of those in Days of Yore), and you only had one quick phone call to the outside world before being locked away forever, WHO would you call to help you?

Don’t answer too quickly. It might not be the first person that comes to mind.

This is the conversation you want to have with your Turkish Prison Friend:
You: "Hi Buddy. Listen, I’m in big trouble and I really need your help. I only have a minute to tell you everything you need to know."
TPF: "Okay"
You: "I’m in a Turkish Prison and I need help getting out."
TPF: "That sucks! Hold tight. I’ll get you out, man. Tell me what else you think I need to know."

Did you notice how the Turkish Prison Friend listened, got serious, and offered support and encouragement? These are important qualities in a TPF. She/He should also be someone who is tenacious and smart. You need to know that you can rely on to them to fight for you when the going gets tough.

You might have other people in your life who care about you just as much as your TPF, but they might not be nearly as helpful or effective in securing your release. They are the following people:

  1. The friend who freaks out and starts screaming when they hear that you’re in trouble. This includes the person who starts crying right away, as well as the person who runs for the gun cabinet, threatening to kill anyone who becomes an obstacle to her/his mission.
  2. The friend who’s stuck in the habit of telling you about their life before they can talk about your life.
  3. The procrastinator friend (you don’t want to be pushed to the bottom of the list when you’re rotting away in Prison).
  4. The friend who needs you to tell them how to do it.
  5. The friend who thinks everything is a joke or a party.
  6. The friend who always seems to have a WORSE problem than you do.
  7. The friend who is always busy, socially involved and on-the-go.
  8. The friend who tries to cheer you up or offer advice even when you don’t want it.
  9. The friend who appears to believe that it’s their responsibility to tell you what you could have done to prevent this from happening in the first place. (For some of us this might be a parent or a sibling)
  10. The friend who always seems to have a story or an anecdote to share about a similar experience (theirs or someone else’s).

    You shouldn’t worry about whether or not you fall into one of the above categories. Being a Turkish Prison Friend is a tough gig. Not everyone has the personality and the constitution for it. The important thing is to know who YOUR TPF is. Memorize her/his phone numbers and email addresses. In this crazy world, you never know when you’re gonna
    need your TPF.

6 Comments:

At 9:35 AM, Blogger theresa said...

Why is Blogger acting like an Ass Bag? Apparently you have to be signed in, light 3 candles at the shrine of the House of Blog, and spin clockwise in your office chair to get this puppy to work now.

 
At 12:58 PM, Blogger Lu said...

Must've been just a hiccup, cuz it seems to be all better now...

Your Monkey Dude was right, T--this is a most excellent post. I offered to be his TPF, but he said it's really a matter of timing with you and me. We'd either be crying so hard about it that we couldn't move, or he'd be outta there before he hung up the phone. It's a crapshoot with us, man.

--Lu

 
At 10:14 PM, Blogger Clark K. said...

in my experience, the TPF is a myth. i have never in my entire life met anyone who even comes close to fitting that description, and i am almost 30.

I have met a lot of non-TPFs, but i don't think i would call them friends.

but thats just me. at least if i know someone else has a TPF than maybe it is possible for me.

 
At 12:50 AM, Blogger Larry Jones said...

Have you people ever seen the movie "Midnight Express?" Gives a different connotation to the term "Turkish Prison Friend."

 
At 9:20 PM, Blogger kelebek }{ said...

whoo hoo the comments are working.
well for the record I am from Turkey, and a Turkish Prison is still not a place u want to get ur sorry ass in!
kelebek

 
At 12:04 AM, Blogger theresa said...

Very cool that a Turkish person came to visit! Valuable information too. Don't let your guard down. Continue to avoid Turkish prisons.

Second, a person doesn't *offer* to be a TPF. That's not the spirit of the concept. It's more a combination of faith that your friend cares enough to do what ever it takes to get you out PLUS they have the personality traits required to do so. Lu's not a bad choice for me. If she didn't have the ability to deal with my crisis at the time, she would find a back-up to take over.

Third, since I was the original TPF, I feel sad and defensive about the fact that I'm viewed differently now.

*Note to self: Revise resume.

Dear Man in the Middle, I'm sorry you don't have a TPF. It sucks when people disappoint you. Keep your eyes open. There are some really good people in this world.

Larry, What am I gonna do with you?

 

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