Opinion » Bill Cope

Judging Ami

A court of the friend


I have figured out why George Bush believes Harriet Miers--out of all the people in America--is the best choice to be a member of the Supreme Court. But first, let us reflect upon why mankind has chosen the dog--out of all the creatures on Earth--to be our best friend.

What does one have to do with the other? All in due time, my friends--and I use the term "friends" lightly, seeing as most of you really aren't friends of mine. We could be friends, I suppose, if only we knew one another. But we don't. And knowing one another is prerequisite to any sort of meaningful relationship, agree?

Actually, I'm not sure we could be friends even if we knew one another. I know all sorts of people, but I'm not about to call them all "friends." Not a chance! Call someone a "friend," and the next thing you know, he's asking you to fill out a golf foursome or trying to sell you some kind of Mary Kay goop.

Nope, the best policy is to keep your number of friends to a bare minimum. (My personal preference is three. That way, even if two-thirds of my friends are pissed at me, I still have a friend left.)

Even more important is that you get to know your friends well enough beforehand that you can be assured they are people you can stand being around. Take it from me, there is nothing worse than having a friend you can't wait to get the hell away from.

To make matters worse, we are judged by the friends we have. It all stems from that old "birds of a feather" profiling system, but whether we like it or not, other people often decide if we're worthy enough to be their friends based on the friends we already have. So your friends also become your character references of a sort. Tagalong character references, who sometimes don't bring beer when they come over and can, by their very association with you, prevent you from having friends who do bring beer when they come over. Stinks, doesn't it?

As you may have gathered, I consider friendship a risky business and one that must be entered into with utmost caution. Frankly--and don't tell my friends I said this--I'm not even sure having friends is worth putting yourself through what you have to do to make them--to say nothing of what you have to do to keep them. Gads! I could write a book just from the things I haven't said or done because I didn't want to offend a friend.

Then, out of this flock of albatrosses we happily hang about our necks and call "friends," comes our best friend. "Best" as in foremost of the lot. The supreme example of whatever it is we bother to have friends for in the first place. The team captain of friends, our best friend. I have one--as much as I hate to admit it--and I'll bet you do, too. Almost everyone does.

And why would we do this to ourselves? Why would we pick one from the many to call our "best," when it is so obvious we would be doing ourselves a favor by dumping the bunch of them and going it alone?

Ah, you know the answer as well as I, mon ami. Because your best friend is the friend who makes you feel best about yourself. You know it's true. What we want out of a best friend is to see the finest possible reflection of ourselves in his (or her) adoring eyes.

Tell me I'm wrong. Tell me your best friend isn't the one who thinks you're special enough to just hug? Tell me your best friend isn't the one who never forgets your birthday, always asks how your kids are doing, never calls you a dumbshit, always listens to your sad story. Tell me your best friend doesn't light up like a puppy every time you meet ... that, if he had a tail, it wouldn't wag when he sees you coming ... that he wouldn't lick your hand, were that the custom in your neck of the woods.

And that's why Mankind has chosen the dog--out of all the creatures on Earth--to be our best friend.

We can't eat 'em. OK, we could eat 'em--and many people do in some necks of some woods--but even if we did eat 'em, they would still love us. Those crazy dogs. They aren't as pretty as birds. They aren't as docile as cows. They aren't as easy to feed as goldfish and they aren't as essential as even the lowly maggot. There is more money to be made with horses or chinchillas, and no person ever took the chill off in a dog-hair cardigan. They poop wherever they feel like it, not even having the toiletry discretion of cats, and there are beasts from even deep in the sea that are much smarter.

But no nutritious salmon ever loved us. No glorious bird song ever sang our praises. No million-dollar race horse ever wagged his tail when he saw us coming. We have bestowed upon dogs the highest ranking we can give another living body simply because they think we're the tops. We allow them into our homes, let them attend our barbecues, even let them play with our children and ride along in our brand new cars, all because they think we're great.

We do like to be thought of as great, don't we?

And that's why George W. Bush believes Harriet Miers--out of all the people in America--is the best choice to be a member of the Supreme Court.

George already knows he's great. If he knows nothing else--and he doesn't seem to--he knows that much.

Yet I suspect he's had some difficulty in keeping friends who see in him the greatness he sees in himself. "Opportunity," yes. I'm certain his closest cronies see a great deal of opportunity in George. And "malleability," no doubt about it. But "greatness?"... now that's another matter.

Then along comes Harriet and golly gee whillickers, does she ever think he's great! "The most brilliant man I have ever met." She actually said that.

Among her other adorifics: "You are the best governor ever--deserving of great respect." "Keep up the good work. Texas is blessed." And, "Hopefully, Jenna and Barbara recognize their parents are 'cool'--as do the rest of us."

Could there be another soul on the planet who considers George to be as great as Harriet does? (Other than George, I mean.) Could even Laura, with a straight face, say such glowing things about her husband?

Not likely. And that's why Laura wasn't nominated to be on the Supreme Court.

The selection process was simple, I'm sure. George only sees things through one prism--that being, "What does this have to do with me?" So in George-World, how could dear Harriet not deserve such a lifelong tummy rub, seeing as how she's the one--possibly the only one--wise enough to recognize how wise George is?

And if you doubt what I say, name one other thing at which Harriet Miers is best.