you hate managed healthcare,
Managed Friendship, a whole new way of thinking about
friends and relationships. The Managed Friendship Plan
(MFP) combines all the advantages of a traditional
friendship network with important cost-saving features.
Under the Plan, you choose
your friends from a network of pre-screened accredited
Friendship Providers (FPs). All your friendship needs are
met by members of your Managed Friendship Staff.
Wrong with my Current Friends?
If you're like most people,
you are receiving friendship services from a network of
providers haphazardly patched together from your old
neighborhoods, jobs, and schools. The result is often
costly duplication, inefficiency, and conflict. Many of
your current friendsmay not meet national standards,
responding to your needs with inappropriate, outmoded, or
even experimental acts of friendship. Under Managed
Friendship, your friendship needs are coordinated by your
designated Best Friend, who will ensure the quality and
goodness of fit of all your friendly relationships.
How Do I
That the Plans' Panel of Friends Is Not Made Up of a
Bunch of 'Losers' Who Can't Make Friends on Their Own?
Many of todays' most dedicated and highly trained
Friendship Providers are as concerned as we are about
delivering Quality Friendship in a cost-effective manner.
They have joined our network because they want to focus
on acting like a friend rather than doing the paperwork
and paying the high bad-friendship premiums that have
caused the cost of traditional friendship to skyrocket.
Our Friendship Providers have met our rigorous standards
of companionship and loyalty.
I Need a Special Friend, Say, for Poker or Fishing?
Special Friends are
responsible for most of the unnecessary and expensive
activities that burden already costly relationships.
Under the Managed Friendship Plan, your Best Friend is
qualified to pre-approve your referral to a Special
Friend within the Managed Friendship Network should your
needs fall outside of the scope of his/her friendship.
I Want to See Friends
Outside the Managed Friendship Network?
You may make friends outside
of the Managed Friendship Network only in the event of a
a Friendship Emergency?
The Managed Friendship Plan
covers your friendship needs 24 hours a day, 365 days a
year, even if you need a friend out of town, after
regular business hours, or when your Best Friend is with
someone else. You might be on a business trip, for
instance, and suddenly find that you feel lonely. In such
cases, you may make a New Friend, and all approved
friendly activities will be covered under the Plan,
provided you notify the Managed Friendship Office (or
24-hour Friendship Hotline) within two business days.
Friendly Activities Are Covered Under the Plan?
Friendly Activities that are
typically covered include:
- Agreeing with you
- Appearing sympathetic
- Chewing the fat
- Dropping by
- Feeling your pain
- Hanging out
- Holding your hand *(up to 5 minutes per activity)
- Kidding around
- Listening to you whine
- Passing the time
- Patting your back
- Sharing a meal
- Shooting the breeze
- Slinging the bull
- Teasing *(up to 15 minutes under the Premium Gold
Friendly Activities Are Not Covered Under the Plan?
Activities that would not be
(but are not limited to):
- Bar hopping
- Bending over backwards
- Drinking to excess
- Giving a hoot
- Going the extra mile
- Lending money
- Real empathy
- Sexual favors
- Truly caring
- Using illicit drugs
I Find Out More About the Managed Friendship Plan?
A simple call is all it
takes. If you need a friend, just call our toll-free
number. Or visit our web site. Sign up for the Managed
Friendship Plan and rest easier that all of your
appropriate friendship needs will be met.
Decides What's Appropriate for Me?
We do. Isn't that what
friends are for?
were new to the community that year, having purchased the
largest house in the elite seaside resort. Although it
was Jims' hometown, he had remained in New York where he
attended college. It was five years before he was able to
get a transfer back home. After months of `nodding'
acquaintance with their new neighbors - Mrs. Lonas came
up with the idea of having a really big cook-out sort of
party. For more intimacy, she decided that they would do
the cooking themselves.
The invitations went out and every single one of them
were accepted! The couple was delighted. The `theme' was
to be "By the Sea" and they were going to have
every imaginable seafood. For two weeks, Mrs Lonas
consulted cookbooks and planned how they would prepare
the various dishes. The day arrived at last. The horse
was decorated, tables were laden with fresh fruits and
vegetables..... hush puppies and corn bread... and the
fire was going for the freshly steamed crabs they would
be preparing. A call came from the company whose delivery
truck was to have brought the crabs - there had been an
accident and they wouldn't be able to supply her order.
Mr Lonas offered to rush in to town and pick some up from
the wharf where the fishermen would be unloading the
So saying, he rushed out to his car and to the wharf
where he found what he'd come for and loaded up his trunk
with a huge case of live crabs.
Just as he was closing the trunk - an old friend from
high school days came up to him, clapped him on the
shoulder and turned him around - "Well, I'll be! I
thought that was you!!!!" the man said jovially.
""Well, Hi George.... How long's it been
anyhow?" he asked as they shook hands and even
hugged in their happiness to see each other. They began
to talk and laugh with memories one after another coming
forth. George insisted that they have just one beer...
"A short one". Jim tried to object... offering
to have George come to the cookout instead, "Well
I'd like to, Jim - but " he leaned forward...
casting a glance across the street to the bar from which
he'd seen Jim and run out to greet him, "But you
see... I've got a ladyfriend over there waiting for me.
Why don't you come and have just one drink with us before
you go home...
C'mon... just one for old times'
Jim tried to resist
- he really did - but checked his watch and decided to
join George ... that way they could exchange addresses
and phone numbers and get together at another time. Jim
and George had been quite a ~team~ in high school... and
it happened that once they entered the bar and had that
first drink... an incredibly well-built woman came over
to the table and, obviously taken by Jim, slid into the
booth and cozied up to him.... Jim and George winked at
each other - both remembering those days of their youth
and adventures like this they'd shared in their early
conquests.... It was like Old Times again...
One drink turned into a few drinks and before long -
hours had passed. Jim `came to his senses', said his
good-byes, dashed across the street to his car and raced
Excuse after excuse ran through his mind..... He was so
desperate that he thought of sideswiping something and
claiming that there'd been a hit-n-run - but then figured
she'd find out when he didn't file insurance...
The back yard was filled with guests - still. Well,
perhaps having the crabs so late would be okay anyway...
the band was scheduled to be there till early morning....
He jumped out of the car, opened the trunk and lifted out
the huge case of crabs and started up the long flight of
stairs to the upper back yard. Feeling the drinks he'd
consumed, his balance was a bit off - and when he saw his
wife coming toward him and the glare on her face, he lost
his balance and the box of crabs slipped from his hands
as he reached out to steady himself.
Dozens and dozens of crabs went tumbling over each other
down, down the steps..... Mrs. Lonas was close enough
that he could see her eyes blazing out at him even in the
dim light of the lanterns hung at a distance .... His
heart pounded... He took another look at the crabs
scattered all down the steps behind him, quickly tossed
the empty crate into the bushes at the side of the
stairway railing and just as his wife got to the top of
the steps above him...... he turned and said
"Okay, you guys... ...c'mon
now.... hurry up! We're almost there!"
upon a time, there lived a man who had a terrible passion
for baked beans. He loved them, but they always had an
embarrassing and somewhat lively reaction on him.
One day he met a girl and fell in love. When it became
apparent that they would marry, he thought to himself,
she'll never go through with the marriage with me
carrying on like this, so he made the supreme sacrifice
and gave up beans. Shortly after that they were married.
A few months later, on the way home from work, his car
broke down and since they lived in the country, he called
his wife and told her that he would be late because he
had to walk. On his way home, he passed a small cafe and
the wonderful aroma of baked beans overwhelmed him. Since
he still had several miles to walk he figured he could
walk off any ill affects before he got home. So he went
in and ordered, and before leaving had 3 extra large
helpings of baked beans. All the way home he putt-putted.
By the time he arrived home he felt reasonably safe. His
wife met him at the door and seemed somewhat excited. She
exclaimed, "Darling, I have the most wonderful
surprise for you for dinner tonight!" She put a
blindfold on him, and led him to his chair at the head of
the table and made him promise not to peek.
At this point he was beginning to feel another one coming
on. Just as his wife was about to remove the blindfold,
the telephone rang. She again made him promise not to
peek until she returned, and away she went to answer the
phone. While she was gone, he seized the opportunity. He
shifted his weight to one leg and let go. It was not only
loud, but ripe as a rotten egg. He had a hard time
breathing, so he felt for his napkin and fanned the air
about him. He had just started to feel better, when
another urge came on. He raised his leg and RRIIIPPPP !!!
It sounded like a diesel engine revving, and smelled
worse. To keep from gagging, he tried fanning his arms a
while, hoping the smell would dissipate. He got another
urge. This was a real blue ribbon winner, the windows
shook, the dishes on the table rattled and a minute later
the flowers on the table were dead. While keeping an ear
tuned in on the conversation in the hallway, and keeping
his promise of staying blindfolded, he carried on like
this for the next ten minutes, farting and fanning each
time with his napkin. When he heard the phone farewells
he neatly laid his napkin on his lap and folded his hands
on top of it. Smiling contentedly, he was the picture of
innocence when his wife walked in.
Apologizing for taking so long, she asked if he had
peeked at the dinner table. After assuring her he had not
peeked, she removed the blindfold and yelled,
his shock and horror, there were twelve dinner guests
seated around the table for his surprise birthday party.
noticing her around and is attracted to her. He asks her
out to a movie; she accepts; they have a pretty good
time. A few nights later he asks her out to dinner, and
again they enjoy themselves. They continue to see each
other regularly and after a while neither one of them is
seeing anybody else.
One evening they're driving home, and a thought occurs to
her, and, without really thinking, she says it aloud:
"Do you realize that, as of tonight, we've been
seeing each other for exactly six months?" And
then there is silence in the car. To her, it seems like a
very loud silence. She thinks to herself: Gee, I wonder
if it bothers him that I said that. Maybe he's been
feeling confined by our relationship. Maybe he thinks I'm
trying to push him into some kind of obligation that he
doesn't want, or isn't sure of.
He is thinking : Gosh. Six months...... ? Really???
She is thinking: But, hey, I'm not so sure I want this
kind of relationship, either. Sometimes I wish I had a
little more space, so I'd have time to think about
whether I really want us to keep going the way we are,
moving steadily toward...I mean, where are we going? Are
we just going to keep seeing each other at this level of
intimacy? Are we heading toward marriage? Toward
children? Toward a lifetime together? Am I ready for that
level of commitment? Do I really even know this person?
He is thinking:...so that means it was...let's see...
February when we started going out, which was right after
I had the car at the dealers', which means lemme check
the odometer... Whoa! I am way overdue for an oil change
Now she is thinking: He's upset. I can see it on his
face. Maybe I'm reading this completely wrong. Maybe he
wants more from our relationship, more intimacy, more
commitment; maybe he has sensed.... even before I sensed
it.... that I was feeling some reservations. Yes, I bet
that's it. That's why he's so reluctant to say anything
about his own feelings. He's afraid of being rejected.
He is thinking: And I'm gonna have them look at the
transmission again. I don't care what those morons say,
it's still not shifting right. And they better not try to
blame it on the cold weather this time. What cold
weather? It's 87 degrees out, and this thing is shifting
like a damn garbage-truck, and I paid those incompetent
She is thinking: He's angry. And I don't blame him. I'd
be angry too. Gosh, I feel so guilty, putting him through
this, but I can't help the way I feel. I'm just not sure.
He is thinking: They'll probably say it's only a 90-day
warranty. That's exactly what they're gonna say, the
She is thinking: Maybe I'm just too idealistic, waiting
for a knight to come riding up on his white horse, when
I'm sitting right next to a perfectly good person, a
person I enjoy being with, a person I truly do care
about, a person who seems to truly care about me. A
person who is in pain because of my self-centered,
schoolgirl, romantic fantasy.
He is thinking: Warranty? They want a warranty? I'll give
them a damn warranty. I'll take their warranty and give
it to them and I'll tell them right where they can
She clears her throat and says...."I, ahhh,
Well, I -
"Yes?" he says, puzzled
"You what?" he asks.
"Please don't torture yourself like this," she
says, her eyes beginning to brim with tears. "Maybe
I should never have...oh gosh, I.... I feel so..." (She
breaks down, sobbing.)
"You should never have what?" he asks.
"I'm such a fool," she sobs. "I
mean, I know there's no knight. I really know that. It's
silly. There's no knight, and there's no horse."
"There's no horse?" he repeated,
questioningly, growing ever more confused by the moment.
"You think I'm a fool, don't you?" she
asked through a sob.
He's relieved, though it is still a bit strange, at least
he now knows what she's talking about now..."No!"
he replied, "You are very
intelligent. Why would I think you were dumb or
something? What made you think that I thought something
"It's just that...It's that I...I need some
time," she says.
Did he miss something? he wonders.... There followed a
15-second pause while he, thinking as fast as he can,
tries to come up with safe response to cover himself in
case she said something when he was preoccupied about the
car.... Finally he comes up with one that he thinks might
work. He'll just agree with her... "Well,
okay then. I just want you to be happy, we can do
whatever you want."
She, deeply moved, touches his hand. ""Oh,
do you really mean that? Do you really feel that
way?" she says.
"That way about time," she says.
"Oh," he says, "Well, sure. Of course I
She turns to face him and gazes deeply into his
eyes, causing him to become very nervous about what she
might say next. He never could stand for people to stare
at him like that...... Wondering why she's looking at him
that way - and what the hell was that about a horse? He
MUST have missed something!
After a lengthy silence while she continues to look
directly at him while he is growing increasingly uneasy
about what he might have said or done. Or failed to do.
Or to hear her say. Especially if it involves a horse!
What the hell was that about a damned horse! ? .....
At last she speaks. "Thank you." she
says quietly and takes her eyes from his and turns away.
"Thank you?" he repeats. (Thank you?
For what?), he wonders uneasily. Feeling kind of weird
and a little numb by now....
She reaches out to cover his hand with hers for a brief
moment, staring at him again in `that' way.. "Yes, thank
Well, what-the-hell does she mean by that? She
seems waiting for him to say something. Feeling really
stupid, and very uncomfortable, he feels great relief
wash through him as he turns onto her street. All he can
think of (to say to her) is "Okay,
She looks over at him, fresh tears welling up in
He's thinking he should have been listening better -
Something about a horse... that's what this must be all
about, but what was that she said....?
As he pulls up in front of the house, she puts her hand
on the door-handle and mumbles - "You don't
have to see me to the door." And with that,
she steps out of the door and without even a backward
look or good-bye - she hurries into the house.
Inside, she flings herself across her bed, wracked with
sobs, a conflicted, tortured soul, and weeps until dawn.
He gets back to his place, he opens a bag of Doritos and
a beer, grabs the remote control and turns on the TV.
Clicking through the channels, he pauses to watch a rerun
of a tennis match between two Czechoslovakians he never
heard of. Five minutes pass while he is watching the game
abstractedly and trying his best to recall what she was
saying on the way home before "all hell broke
loose".... A tiny voice in the far recesses of his
mind tells him that something major was going on back
there in the car, but he is pretty sure there is no way
he would ever understand what, and being that he's a
city-boy, and he's never even seen a live horse, what
could he have said about it anyway? Flipping channels
again, he's deeply in thought when something catches his
eye and he sits forward to look closer at the
television...Speaking of horses.... isn't that?....
Yeah.... John Wayne.... !!! He's seen this movie
before... one of his favorites.... ! After the movie he
takes a shower and goes to bed. As he's falling asleep,
he thinks about her and begins to feel tense and confused
again... So he figures it's better if he doesn't think
about it. He falls asleep.
The next day she will call her closest friend, or perhaps
two of them, and they will talk about this situation for
six straight hours. In painstaking detail, they will
analyze everything she said and everything he said, going
over it time and time again, exploring every word,
expression and gesture for nuances of meaning,
considering every possible ramification. They will
continue to discuss this subject, off and on, for weeks,
maybe months, never reaching any definite conclusions, or
understanding, but never getting bored with it, either.
Meanwhile, while he's playing racquetball one day with a
mutual friend of theirs' who asks about how she is doing,
he stops and pauses to think moment, shaking his head in
remembered bewilderment, "I haven't seen her
or talked to her for three weeks now! I always get the
answering machine when I call, I leave messages but she
doesn't return them.... I don't know..." he
says, his voice trailing off. Then he happens to think - "Hey,
do you know, by any chance, if ever owned a horse, did