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When strangers enter our lives,
we always try to be nice, even when they are rude to us.
We know they could either turn out to be our best friends,
or have a dark side that could show itself later.
We're two of the friendliest entertainers in the business,
but, as in the Kenny Rogers song...
You have to know when to fold 'em.
Once a man named Norm came into our nightclub
and overheard a conversation
in which we said we were planning to have a large speaker cabinet built.
He had the erect posture, jutting chin, and clipped speech of a military man,
but he wasn't.
We already had a carpenter in mind,
but this man introduced himself,
and insisted that he be allowed to build it for us...free.
A week later Norm wheeled the cabinet into the club,
presented it to us,
and showed us his bloody hands,
to illustrate how hard he had worked.
He had bled for us.
We thanked him, offered to pay,
and expressed our sympathy for his injuries.
He began coming to the club every night,
and if we didn't neglect all our other customers,
and spend our time only with him,
he sulked and soon became angry and belligerent.
He began getting drunk
and butting into conversations we were having with other friends and fans.
He would even threaten them,
and tell them to stay away from us....
that we were his brother and sister.
In his mind he was our bodyguard.
We tried to reason with him,
and he would apologize and promise to lighten up.
We finally had to bar him from the club,
which caused a big unpleasant scene.
Then he began driving past our house at all hours.
We had friends on the police force,
and with their urging he eventually went away.
I think he probably latched on to somebody else.
He needed more than most people can give.
He often talked about his father,
who was a high ranking military officer,
and who considered Norm a disappointment for not enlisting.
In his father's eyes, he couldn't do anything right.
The lack parental of approval haunted him.
This type of episode with strangers has happened to us more than once,
and to most other people who lead public lives,
but we still give new relationships every chance to work out well.
When they end badly,
the person usually becomes depressed, and then angry.
You have to be careful, but you can't lock up your life.
There are too many good friends out there,
waiting to be met.
Copyright © January 16, 2006 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission.