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If the plural of mouse is mice, then the plural of spouse is spice (and the plural of house is...).

Maureen Dowd wrote an op-ed piece in the NYTimes entitled "An Ideal Husband". In it she described the advice given by Father Pat Connor, who was talking about common sense advice he gives to people considering marriage.

I would take his suggestions a step further, and look at people you would choose for friends or roommates or lovers.

His number one criterion is to be wary of the person who has no friends. I know someone who has friends--friends of many years--but these are friends of an unusual sort. They went to graduate school together, and since that time they meet once a months to have lunch and talk about their lives. Except for that once a month get-together, they have no other way in which their lives intersect.

Another set of friends are people with whom he went to school, grammar school and high school. Once every five years they have a reunion. Every few years this person needs the services of one of them--free legal advice, free medical consultation, price reductions on cars--and that is the only contact he has with them.

He describes them as friends and says, sure I have friends. Look at all the Christmas cards I get.

But that's not what I mean when I think of a friend. I think of people with whom I share my life, joys, triumphs, disappointments, progress, insights, and stuff. Lots of stuff. We laugh, we cry, we sit quietly together. Even when miles of ocean and land masses separate us, we have a shared history and regular communication.

These friends can call on me for support and sharing at any time, as I on them. But more than that, our lives are intertwined, and their love and interests manifest in many ways.

I would beware the person whose greatest intimate contact is a request for a freebie, or an occasional lunch. That person is quite likely incapable of the intimacy that friendship, love,or living together requires. He has no friends. His acquaintances like him and feel sorry for him. His family resents his arrogance and paterfamilias attitude.

Move along, move along. You don't see what you think you see.

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