The Dead Body Theory of Friendship

Essie and I were having a typical chika session over canton in college when she started talking about this guy Carlo from our org.

“Do you think Carlo has friends?” Essie asked.

“Um, us?” I said. “Aren’t we his friends?”

“Sure,” she said. “But if you’re in grave danger, would you turn to him for help? Or if he’s in serious trouble, would you risk your life for him?”

My answer, at least at that time, was no. Maybe not.

So thus began our lunch-long conversation about friends and friendships. What makes a friend? When do we consider a friend, a friend?

I don’t recall the details anymore but Essie and I eventually settled with what we named the “Dead Body Theory of Friendship.” The premise is simple: if you killed a person by accident (hopefully by accident) and you needed help with disposing the dead body, who would you run to for help? The people that come to mind are your closest, most trusted friends.

The concept is a little extreme (and probably unoriginal), but Essie and I agreed that humans don’t need a lot of friends anyway. Classmates, colleagues, drinking buddies — they’re only acquaintances, not friends. True tests of friendship, at least in hypothetical scenarios, are most effective in the most heinous of circumstances.

So this “dead body theory” is essentially a made-up mental exercise that encourages us to examine our friendships based on the virtues of trust and confidence. Can we trust Friend A to not rat us out to the police? Are we confident that if we knock on Friend B’s door, he will immediately grab that shovel and help us dig that grave?

There are loopholes to this theory for sure, especially if we parse it down to specifics. Like, what if Friend C is a trusted friend but she’s also a useless tactician with the strategy skills of a potato? Would we still trust her with a homicide cover-up? And what if Friend D already has a family of his own — should we still approach him knowing that we could potentially break a family if we get caught?

Now that I’m older, I wonder how people in long-term relationships would handle this question. Should our significant other be the automatic go-to? Could this theory also be a good measure of how strong a relationship is?

But if we’re really a good friend to our friends, why would we even drag them into this murderous mess in the first place? I suppose if one has to fly solo, they can always go the PNP route and frame the poor victim with a cardboard that says “ADIK AKO.” Ay shet. This theory sure did not age well, ‘no?

To be honest though, I currently don’t have any friends to run to all. All my closest friends live far, and that’s why this theory has resurrected in my memory after so many years. I think I’ve become Carlo; I’ve become the person other people worry about for not having any friends. Malungkot ang buhay dito, mga anak.

But maybe this theory is ultimately pointless anyway. For some reason it just made a lot of sense to me when I was 18.

“How many people do you have in mind?” Essie asked.

“Lima lang,” I told her. “You?”

“Same,” she said. I never asked her if I was one of hers.

She was definitely one of mine.


The feature image is a sketch I drew on a Sunday afternoon while drinking beer and listening to Pure Heroine. The girl on the image was roughly patterned after this.

22 thoughts on “The Dead Body Theory of Friendship”

  1. Alavet! (One day nanakawin ko tong Dead Body Theory mo, hehehe.) Sa umpisa parang local version ng Vince at Jules (Pulp Fiction) ang naisip ko. Lam mo yung parang usapang “royal with cheese” at “foot massage” lang. Which also reminds me of that movie Keka, kasi yun nga disposing of a dead body.

    Nung nakita ko yung sketch akala ko tungkol ito sa “Kung bakit maalat ang dagat?” At ang haba nang kalingkingan ng higante. Hehehe.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Shet na-miss ko tuloy magkaroon ng ka-banter na mala-Vince at Jules, haha. Gustong-gusto mo ‘yang Keka ‘no? 😂

      ‘Yang mahabang kalingkingan, ‘yan sana ang attempt ko na pagmukhaing patay na ‘yung higante (kasi nabugbog tas nabalian hahaha). Mukhang hindi epektib. 😂Ang original concept ko sana ay may fully body na lalaking nakadapa (kasi patay na siya) at may nakatambay na visibly small Ate Gurl sa braso niya. For more loneliness effect, char. Ido-drowing ko ulit kapag sinipag! 😊

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      1. Yung Keka? Di naman masyado.

        Actually mas gusto ko ‘tong braso kesa full body. Parang yung sabi ni Martin Scorsese na “it’s what you show and you don’t show inside the frame.”

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    1. Nabasa ko! Gusto ko ngang magsulat ng mahabang hanash tungkol dito e, pero medj busy ako this week (I’m procrastinating as I write this ahuehuehue). Gusto ko mga tula ni Mookie (Hush Harbor) pero ayoko sa isinulat niya on Lang Leav. Mano ba naman ‘yung basahin ang kahit isang collection n’ung subject at ipaliwanag kung ano ang mali sa mga tula bukod sa medium (Instagram) at fanbase (“young girls”). E ‘di sana natuto pa tayong lahat. Hmp.

      Ikaw ba, ano tingin mo?

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      1. Sobrang “classy”. Hahaha. Nakakahiya siya. Hindi ako fan ni Lang Leav pero naimagine ko na siguro ang bait niya in person. (Actually image ni Marie Kondo na-pi-picture ko sa isip ko.) In-imagine ko na lang na inulan ng maraming insta-hate-tweets, galit pero poetic, vulnerable, mahinahon, 140 characters or less, sina Mookie at Sarge galing sa mga fans. Tapos sumali pa si Adam David at sinayawan sila ng iba’t ibang variations ng El Bimbo.

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      2. Grabe napa-log in tuloy ako sa Facebook para lang maghanap ng juicier “takes” on this issue. Saya! Hahaha. 😂Actually wala pa akong nababasang nagtatanggol kay Mookie. Ano sinasabi nila? Nakakahiya nga, grabe. Sarap i-remix n’ung article e, lagyan ng bagong spin, pero baka mademanda ako so ‘wag na lang hahaha.

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      3. Wala rin akong nabasang nagtatanggol. Nabasa ko lang reaction ni Katrina (o di ba, close kami), something about “Standard” daw. Sige, i-remix mo, hahaha. Pero baka ma cease and desist ka. Hahahaha.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Dapat “Kat” na lang para sa mas close! Hahaha. Nabasa ko rin ‘yun, plus ‘yung mga nag-iinvoke sa Palanca ni Mookie. Ay ewan ko sa kanila. Basta hindi pa rin magaling si Lang Leav para sa akin! (Wuw, nice take? Hahaha.)

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Actually, Stu talaga tawag ko sa kanya. Hahaha. What is Palanca anyway? Tataas pa rin presyo ng bigas. Mahirap pa rin tau may Palanca man o wala si Mookie.

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  2. Natawa ako sa theory niyong magkaibigan. Napaisip ulit ako kung sino ang nasa “go-to list” ko at kung hanggan saan ang pwede kong i-share.
    Pero kung ako ang tatanungin, mas gugustuhin kong sarilihin na lang ang ginawa kong “karumaldumal”. Ika nga nila, “trust no man, fear no bitch”.😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha, gusto ko ‘yung “trust no man, fear no bitch.” 😂Siguro kaya ‘matic sa amin na maghanap ng tulong noon kasi college pa lang kami, masyado pang intertwined ang mga buhay naming magkakaibigan (sa classes, sa org, sa iba pang extra-curricular activities). Habang tumatanda mas nagmi-make sense na ‘yung pagiging solo flight. Ako rin e. Kung mangyayari ‘to ngayon baka gaya mo sarilihin ko na lang din. 😊

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