For & Against: Goodbyes4 October 2016
FOR: Daniel Beratis
As defined by Wikipedia after a few quick edits from myself, it turns out that ‘goodbye’ is not only a parting phrase but is (amongst other things) an episode of Glee, a song from Bear in the Big Blue House and an album from ice-cream maker knockoffs Ben and Jason. How anyone could be against this incredible combination of people, places and things is honestly, literally, completely puzzling to me but I’m trying to understand what anyone could have against goodbyes anyway. I mean, sure, you could say that maybe they’re a little bit sad, that they’re endings, that they’re whatever. Let me tell you folks, endings are so overrated and so bad, you should be thankful for goodbyes.
I was recently on a jaunt in America and one thing Americans love to do is give you unlimited soft drink. Sounds like an incredible thing, I know, and past me agreed 100 per cent since I have an actual addiction to Pepsi Max. The impact of unlimited soft drink, especially when you’re me and have a mouth way too big for your face and a throat full-throatedly (ha) demanding Pepsi down the gullet, is not so incredible. I knew a guy once who drank three litres of soft drink in an hour and puked straight after. That’s not a good place to be! That’s never a good place to be! We have to learn to say goodbye, otherwise things are just gonna have to keep going and going and going and going and going and goodbye. You see what I mean? Too much of a good thing is a real, clear and present danger, folks. You have to say goodbye.
It’s sad to say goodbye, sure. But even the word ‘goodbye’ is just a collapsing of a longer phrase, ‘God be with ye’. How mint is that! When you say goodbye, you’re literally telling the other person that a/the/the only/one of several God(s) is literally right there, next to them. Walking with them. How radical is that. How tubular. How bloody gnarly. Goodbyes are literal fonts of divine power and there’s no reason to be scared of them. Because when you walk away, something new’s begun and now God’s there as well, so it can’t be that bad, right? Especially if it was good enough to be the name of an episode of Glee. Glee never has sad episode names.
AGAINST: Amie Green
There’s nothing better than the swampy hug you receive from your friend (the human armpit) after a big night out. Nothing better than your old relative planting their sticky lips against your cheek as you, stuffed from a mediocre Sunday lunch, try to politely flee. Nothing better than being stuck at a random house party where left and right all are power-boffing and you don’t know how to tell your friend that the last train leaves in 30 minutes. At the root of all of these gross experiences are goodbyes.
Goodbyes are nice theoretically – parting phrases, polite sentiments and generally announcing your exit are all nice. Casual waves, mini-hugs and the three light pats on the back you receive from your good acquaintance are all nice. But these are rare – in practice, goodbyes are nearly impossible to appropriately execute. Timing, tone, word choice, body language: all these variables can very easily turn the most sincere goodbye into a false, jarring bad bye. Your goodbye (no matter the number of times you have recited it in front of a mirror) could be received so badly that you will become a meme. The stakes are high in the game of goodbyes.
Not saying goodbye isn’t an option either, unless you are happy with having a reputation as the flakiest slime-trail of a person ever. The first time you will get at least 12 messages from your friends asking why you left the party, bragging about the sick sausage rolls, the bangers that the DJ pumped, the shapes that they cut on the dance floor etc. The second time you slip out without a word, you may as well be dead.
There is no Wikihow article on how to perfectly deliver a goodbye. There is no Goodbyes for Dummies™ that you can conveniently purchase. Goodbyes are hard and risky. Instead, don’t say goodbye at all. Don’t participate in the strange social dance of goodbyes. Goodbyes inherently mean loss, divide or parting ways. So hold close the things you treasure or alternatively just loiter until everybody else around you disappears.
No goodbye is a good bye.