Even though your wife doesn’t appreciate why you need to “unfriend” someone—and no more but no less than one person—because you’ve just discovered that you have 501 friends, nevertheless she makes a suggestion: “Who’s the prettiest woman you’re friends with but aren’t married to?—Don’t tell me! Just unfriend her.” You chuckle. That’s funny, you think, but it’s not feasible. You’re not going to unfriend any hot women! And, also, since she’s got a good sense of humor, you’re also not going to unfriend your wife. Thus, you’ve made no progress toward identifying the one person to cull.
You can’t cut the following: your brother; your brother-in-law (your wife’s brother); your sister-in-law (his wife); your one whole-blood first cousin, her mom (your father’s only sister, your aunt) or dad, fifteen-years-divorced from your aunt but still your cousin’s father and your friend if not legally your uncle; your step-first cousin; any one of your wife’s triplet cousins or the husband of the one of them who’s married; their father or mother; your mother-in-law; your mom’s first cousin’s son or daughter on your mom’s father’s side; or the son of your mom’s first cousin on her mother’s side. They’re family!
You have to keep all 97 friends “from college,” even if you didn’t actually go to college with fourteen of them, though you did go to the same college, just at different times, and even if seeing what those fourteen younger alumni are up to makes you feel like you’ve wasted an awful lot of time since graduation. And you have to stay friends with the six or seven women you wanted to ask out in college but never could find the nerve to, because looking at their recent photos makes you feel like you dodged six or seven bullets.
Fifty-six friends from high school? That’s ridiculous. Your graduating class had only 203 kids, and you know for a fact that four of them are dead already. Also, nine out of every ten memories of high school you have involve the same four other guys (one of whom is not among the 501). Who are these people? How many of them are actually the kid siblings of people you knew in high school? A lot, it would appear. Seven! (The sister you made out with stays.) And one of those 56 is a teacher (now retired). She can stay too.
Now, who are the rest? Who’s this dude? Your wife’s ex-boyfriend? He’s a really nice guy, though. Her? Your former paralegal. Not a great paralegal by any stretch of the imagination, but very sweet, and if you unfriend her, she might literally kill herself. Wife’s work friends that you’ve met but have never since spoken to... your ex’s ex with the rampant mental illness... that same ex’s new husband... someone from law school... one person from eBay... Wait... who the hell is this girl? No idea. None. No mutual friends... no clue. Well, that really wasn’t so difficult after all!
Matthew David Brozik wrote this and many other short humor pieces, which have been published in print and online by The New Yorker, Adult Swim, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Grin & Tonic, The Big Jewel, and no one.