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'First of all, this is not a post about pot brownies.  Shame on you.Secondly, you may or may not know the individual who is the subject of this post.  If you do, fantastic!  You have the unknowing envy of many sad, ignorant people.  If you don’t, you may even now be storming the capital to try and get me dethroned for posting about a person for whom you as yet have no interest.  Either way, too bad if you don’t like it.  It’s not your birthday.  :DIt’s not my birthday, either.  Stop showering me with good wishes.  No one likes a suck-up.  I have experienced an extremely wide range of brownies.  Legal ones, at least.  I have made a pan of brownies that would not detach themselves from the pan without the assistance of a force equivalent to that of a sand blaster.  I have also made a pan of brownies that could only be described as a chocolate soup of awesomeness.  In fact, I have actually made a pan of brownies that was not a pan of brownies at all.  It was brownie batter in a bowl, and I ate it all, without the addition of any type of E. coli-killing heat.  I’ve had oreo brownies, peanut butter brownies, caramel brownies, and brownies from scratch that sadly lacked sugar altogether.  I’ve had short brownies, tall brownies, fat brownies, and thin brownies.  I’ve had brownies with burnt spots, and brownies with those epic little M+M’s sprinkled on them, and brownies that weren’t mine to eat, and brownies that were more like cake, and brownies—Basically, what I’m saying is that I’ve had a lot of brownies.  It has almost always been a pleasant experience.But my most valued, most treasured, cannot-live-without, crucial-to-my-survival-and-continued-happiness Brownie, does not come in a pan.  If I tried to put her in a pan, she would look at me, with curly hair framing her cynical expression, as if I were a crazy person.  She would point out that because I am a vegetarian, I really shouldn’t be eating human flesh at all.  If I wanted to fall off the wagon, she would say, I should do it with bacon.  <img src='!.jpg' width=400px />Don't we look awesome?  I'm on the left, Brownie's on the right. You don't have to tell us how pretty we are.  We already know. Also, apparently I like to randomly lick people. You've been warned.However, all of this is beside the point, because I don’t think I own a pan big enough to even fit her enormous head.  And that is the last “ridiculously gigantic head” joke I will make in this post, because Brownie claims I fixate on that too much, and that she is more than the size of her leviathantastic melon.  Okay, now I’m really done.Note:  her head doesn’t look enormous until she tells you about it.  Then you can NEVER FORGET.The first time I actually talked with Brownie was when we were both forcing ourselves to be outgoing college socialites, and were both hating it.  She was a freshman, and I technically a senior.  It had taken me four years to realize that I don’t like big, flashy, fleshy parties, but it took her all of five minutes.  That was probably the first thing I came to admire about her.  When our conversation devolved into boys, I discovered that we also shared an obsession for ridiculously fictional characters. We have long since decided that I can have Wolverine, if she can have Sabertooth.  They simply don’t realize yet that they belong with us.  We ditched the party shortly thereafter, and for some reason, I didn’t imagine that our relationship would progress past that.  Having an enormous propensity for becoming jaded, I was barely even trying to make friends with new women in Miller (my scholarship hall) that year.  Not that the new women weren’t fantastic—I was just turning into a 40-year-old grump at the age of 21.  As I settled in for a night of peaceful solitude, however, I heard what sounded like a herd of stampeding wildebeests come thundering down the hall, and Brownie appeared at my door, math book in hand and enthusiasm in her eyes.  Not enthusiasm for math, as it turned out.  We talked for hours more that night, babbling as only best-friends-to-be can. One of my roommates, known here as Chellybean, was less than impressed with the bubbly new addition to our room, and derided every comment made by the impressionable freshman.  At first, I feared that her open mockery and skepticism would drive away my new-found amiga, but I shouldn’t have worried.  (Simulated Conversation—I don’t remember most of what was actually said)  Me:  So, I like creative fiction…Brownie:  Me, too!  Actually, I have some fanfiction about the X-Men, if you ever wanted to read it…Chellybean:  Really? (snort)  Do you, now?  Well, isn’t that just speci—Me:  (Glare at Chellybean) YES I would like to read it sometime.  Just let me know.  You could even read some of mine, though I don’t have any about the X-Men…yet!Bunches of minutes pass, punctuated by “hmphs” of derision from the apathetic Chellybean.  Brownie and I had become quite chummy at this point.Me:  I also happen to think breathing air is just capital!  Living is the best!Brownie:  I couldn’t agree more, old chap!  I plan to continue breathing for quite some time, and hope that you enjoy the same longevity!Chellybean:  Oh, yeah, SURE, I just bet you feel that strongly about breathi—Brownie: Okay, what IS YOUR PROBLEM?!?Chellybean:  (stunned silence)I nearly died of pride.  Chellybean nearly died of shock.  Brownie was incandescent with the strength of her righteous frustration.  They now live together, having become better and better friends from that day forward.Brownie and I have an awful lot in common, like many good friends do.  Thankfully, we also have a great deal NOT in common, and that might be the part of our friendship that I like best.  1.  ReligionBrownie’s parents make their livings by raising money for the church, by leading church organizations, and by generally being the most epic examples of modern Christians I can find.  Brownie, too, is a devoted Christian, even spending her high school years attending a religious school, learning Latin, and refusing to cuss despite my terrible example (except for that one time… :D).I started out life with no religion, became fanatically and obnoxiously Christian for about a decade, became agnostic for several years, and am now involved in Wicca.  I’ve never hidden this from Brownie, or expected her to shield her religious choices from me.  It’s just not the Wiccan way.Unsurprisingly, this honesty between us has led to some clashes.  Since this is supposed to be an entertaining, and not depressing, post, I won’t go into the gritty details, but the outcome of these clashes deserves to be shared.  Though it nearly broke our friendship once, Brownie and I have never backed down from our convictions, from our faith.  I knew I was strong enough to do that, but it never occurred to me until that point how important it was to find a like-willed person.  I can be quite persuasive (or “belligerent,” as some people would say it, though NOT TO MY FACE!  Huff, huff…), but I could not force Brownie to accept all of my beliefs, just as she could not force me to accept hers.  Then came a type of agreement that, though often claimed to have happened, rarely truly occurs.  Maybe only the strongest of friendships can really handle it.WE AGREED TO DISAGREE.  IT ACTUALLY WORKED.  EAT THAT, COMMON-KNOWLEDGE.  If she had given in, I doubt I would be writing this post today.  I will always cherish the fact that she is too strong for me to run over.  They didn’t call me the Bulldozer for nothing.Furthermore, though I can only hope I have helped give her a favorable impression of what a Wiccan can be, I know she has improved my outlook on Christianity as a whole.  It’s awesome to find that people truly cannot be lumped into one stereotype, and that condescension is not always a factor of Christian devotion.  In fact, some of my favorite memories with Brownie are based in religion.  She, though an awesome aspiring writer, has a little difficulty with things called “grammar” and “spelling,” especially when she’s in a hurry.  Or distracted.  Or breathing.  At one point, I got to explain to her the difference between Calvary and cavalry.  If you didn’t know, Jesus did not die on cavalry.  To cement this difference, I made up a little game for her.Me:  Jesus!Brownie:  Cal..valry!Me:  Umm…no.  Horses!Brownie:  Cav..alary?  Me:  Sigh…also no.  I tried again later, hoping it would have gotten easier.Me:  Hey…Jesus!Brownie: …Yes?Me:  You’re not Jesus.  I’m almost positive of that.Brownie: Horses!She claims she wasn’t listening, when I began this all-important quiz.  I still think there might be something she’s not telling me.  2.    Eating HabitsAs I may have mentioned before, I am a vegetarian.  Usually.  In the right situations.  I may make a more detailed explanation in a later post, but for now, just accept that my relationship with meat is complicated.  Brownie’s relationship with meat is as simple as possible.  Is it moldy?  No.  Does it smell “off”?  No.  Is it trying to eat her first?  No.  It…is…on.  She’s gonna eat it.This has always been an area of humorous contention for us.  One day, she was again trying to tempt me with some sort of cooked flesh.  I declined forcefully, striking a zealous pose, and proclaimed in stentorian tones, “No!  Meat…is…MURDER!”Dead-pan, she replied, “Yes.  Yes, it is.”“…Tasty, tasty murder.”It was a stalemate.  I munched my lettuce, and she munched her animal carcass like a blood-thirsty hyena.At another point, after she expounded YET AGAIN on the unending virtue of bacon, I politely declined, stating that I hadn’t really liked bacon all that much even when I wasn’t vegetarian. (By the way, that is a lie.  A horrible, horrible lie.)She responded by sending me this picture: laughed so hard I could only squeak for five minutes as I tried to get my breath back.  It was even funnier when I told her that I, and many of my family members, had actually participated in events like the fabled “Greased Pig Chase.”  This leads me to the next, and last, major difference I plan to describe today.3.    Childhood ExperiencesThe first time I called Brownie a “city girl,” she claimed that since she hadn’t lived in Chicago since she was a child, she no longer deserved such a depiction.  I explained to her that living in a town with a population in the 90,000s meant that one did, indeed, still live in a city.  Furthermore, I had to explain that though I have now lived in the same town for about 4 years, I do not yet deserve the same designation.  There are a variety of reasons why:Brownie:  did not realize that after it has rained, fields get muddy.I:  assumed that that was the logical conclusion of a reasonable train of thought.  Brownie claims she assumed we would be on concrete.  I maintain that she has never experienced true mud before, and that I cannot be blamed for her muddy sneakers because of her ignorance.Brownie: thought mountain oysters were a myth, or at least a horrible thing that only happened in backwater areas of the world.I: have helped harvest, clean, peel and serve mountain oysters.  I have also just now realized that I was, indeed, raised in a backwater area of the world.  Also, I would like to point out that I have not eaten mountain oysters since someone explained to me that they are not, in fact, oysters harvested from puddles on mountains.  Brownie: did not realize that when dogs are tested for rabies, only their heads are necessary, so only their heads are kept and shipped.  She was understandably mortifiedI: have helped ship these boxes myself.Brownie:  can pull off things like girly shirts and purses as ruffly as underpants found at the Moulin Rouge.I: wore Carhartt jackets as a fashion statement in high school.  They’re durable AND attractive, am I right? realized that her naturally wild and curly hair could be kept in a way to make it sexy and manageable.  I: thought I would always have to wage war on mine, beating it into submission each day until I no longer had the strength to continue, at which point I would have to chop it off and go G.I. Jane on somebody’s ass.  Thanks to Brownie, I now have many more hair-styling products, and my ‘do is much more entertaining.  Brownie: fears trying to get in a bar, even for swing-dancing, because she is underage.I:  didn’t realize that some bars will actually keep underage people out, until I moved to the city.Brownie: will probably think that farms smell bad, when we go on a road trip back to my hometown.  I: know that things can smell much, much worse than horse manure.Brownie: probably never saw a drunk person until college.I: was once told by a drunk that our landlord was dead and he was in charge.  When I was about 10.  Note:  Landlord was not dead.  Drunk man was threateningly mistaken.Look how much we’ve both learned, in the year or so that we’ve known each other!  I cannot pretend to have been a great influence, but I can assure you all that I was generally a fun one.  And, though I’ve commonly claimed that Brownie is my little protégé, she has given just as much to me as I’ve given to her.   She never hesitates to point this out.  It’s like she thinks she was a real person BEFORE I came along!  Pfft.  Crazy talk.  :DSomeday, we will be crazy, morbid, excellent old ladies together.  I wouldn’t want to rush things, but I’ve got to say, I’m looking forward to it.Happy Birthday, Mini-me.  P.S. Did you see how I left out any more “crazy-big cranium” jokes?  A pat on the back for me!  Wait a minute…Damn.P.P.S.  If you need more evidence for why I love this girl, consider her answer to the following question:  who among our group of friends should we eat first, if we’re all stranded on a desert island together?  Without hesitation, she said “Me.  I don’t want to suffer by starving to death.”  Insert stunned silence.  There is no moss growing on this girl.P.P.P.S.  How could you NOT love her?  She's so pretty!<img src=' Katie face.jpg' width=400px />'