This weekend my chum Joel comes to town; every year he  visits for a long weekend, to get away from the cold of Chicago. Someone once questioned my word choice ‘chum’. How is that different from a friend?

Good question.

When I was a boy, I had a British nanny/babysitter. I recall she had conducted kiddie parties where proper tea drinking was taught for her young ladies and gentleman. She used the word ‘chum’ when she was referring to our friends. I not had heard this word before. I was thrilled with it. I started using the word. It gave me a sense of being British. My father still asks me how are my chums.

How do I define ‘chum’?  A chum is a person with whom I have a cordial but somewhat superficial relationship. I don’t have deep rapport with chums.  Rather, I have drinks at the bar. I may go for years with chums but not really know them other than in a specific or superficial context.

For example, I used to have a chum named Jerry. Every year we would go apple picking together. Otherwise we would see each other by chance; always a delight to see Jerry, but never enough to get together or ‘talk’.

“Friend” is a more in-depth chum. If “Chum” is the “Tenderfoot”, “Friend” is the Eagle Scout.  Friends and I have a spiritual connection.

I call Friends to talk; I call Chums when I want to arrange some pleasant past time.

With that said, I blogger-buddies seem to be a pal-class all to themselves.  They have a lot of “Friend” attributes. Yet I the don’t call or hang out with them, or do anything in common but blog. Most of them I haven’t even met !

You are a paradoxical lot, my blogger buddies.