Anchovies and Friends
By Susan Rosser
During the course of my 53 years on this planet, I have developed a theory: I like people who like anchovies. In order to prove my hypothesis, I posted the following online: “Do you like anchovies? If the answer is ‘yes,’ like this post. Feel free to comment too. Thanks in advance.” Since I only asked those whose cyber-friendship I have accepted, I admit that this approach was neither scientific nor statistically significant.
I should mention that I adore anchovies. When I was single, I could make a dinner out of a tin of anchovies and a box of Wheat Thins. Of course, I did live in a constant and unrelenting fear of falling into a sodium-induced coma, but sometimes it pays to live on the edge.
To be clear, I never thought I disliked those who are not anchovy lovers. My own husband is not a fan — although he does belong to a significant subset who enjoy them as an ingredient, but refuse to eat them whole. Nonetheless, over the years, I had noticed a striking correlation: Many of my friends seem to like anchovies. Which naturally begged the question: What’s up with that? After all, we do choose our friends.
I’ve always maintained that either we connect with people or we don’t. And those people with whom we feel an instant bond often become our closest friends. I fully expected that those in my own inner circle would publicly affirm their love of anchovies.
One of the first people to comment on my post was my childhood friend Mark. I have not seen Mark since I was 4. All these years later, we are cyber-buddies, and I am sure that if we lived closer, we would be good friends. It’s obvious from his posts we still share the same sense of humor, and I’m not surprised — we were so close as kids. So when he commented that anchovies are “indispensable,” I thought I was onto something with my anchovy barometer. I was certain all of my closest friends would reply in a similar fashion.
Yeah. That never happened.
Sure, there are those with whom we feel an immediate sense of connection and, indeed, some of those people in my life love anchovies — but not everyone.
And as I look back, there are plenty of significant people in my life with whom I didn’t feel an immediate sense of kinship. Sometimes the daily interactions with a coworker or a client or a fellow student afforded me the opportunity to get to know someone beyond first impressions. And quite often, I was pleasantly surprised.
I have been blessed with several remarkable and long-lasting friendships in my life. But many of the meaningful connections I made at work or school or camp surprised me. And while most have faded over the years, all of those relationships fashioned my life in ways I might have missed had I walked around asking about anchovy preferences.