"You see, Radge, in your life you will meet four types of people. People you love, people you like, people you 'know' and people you detest.
"Few will fall into the first category. It's reserved for your family, your girlfriend and your closest friends.
"The second category is wider. Work colleagues that you might drunkenly chat to, try it on with, meet and pass the time of day before you realise you've exhausted all possible avenues of repartee. They're good souls, but...
"Also friends of friends, lads that are too tall to strike any kind of real bond with - the great Dr. Fell aside - but you get on fine with them.
"The third category? Wider still. These are the folks that you really hope you don't bump into while buying your morning pain au chocolat and foamy coffee. You have no problem with them, as such, but they straddle that line of 'do I need to talk to them or will a salutory nod suffice?' They think the same way about you so don't feel bad.
"The fourth category? Well, you find yourself wishing a very specific kind of harm upon them."
Wise words from 5X, spake over glasses of Ruby Leffe in Montparnasse last summer while ranking the 'woulds' from the 'wouldn't bothers.'
They came back to me recently when I was sorting through my Facebook account. I get embarrassed at having a Facebook account, truth told, because it seems all too sheepy when a greater stand against this kind of virtual interaction is called for.
I was on a cull.
My list of 'friends' or 'followers' or whatever the fucks had exceeded 180 so I took my imaginary red pen and hit delete, delete, delete. I had lazily agreed to any friend request that came my way over the space of a year and saw the page fill up with shite the likes of...
'Young one you fancied one night before realising she liked rugby scored 78,124 pseudopoints on Farmville.'
'That American lad who knew the other American lad who asked you for the time on Dawson Street THAT day is like, SO hungover dude.'
...and the clincher...
'Silly dull office receptionist grammar shunning bint became a fan of Stacey Fucking Solomon.'
...so something had to be done.
I tried to employ 5X's rule and immediately dethroned anyone I'd happily see burn in a house fire. That took care of about 30.
150 left, I went through it all again. Friends of far off relations - culled. Anyone I'd only met once - culled. Girls who suddenly stopped replying to my texts - Cul...no on second thoughts I'll leave them in.
I got it down to its current total of 127 and it still seems full fat when semi-skimmed will do.
Out of that 127 there are 34 people I converse with or drink with or give out about on a regular basis.
A further 72 fall into 5X's third category. I like 'em fine but I wouldn't necessarily have them in the flat or engage them in a heated debate on 'who has the prettier smile, Mary Hanafin or Coughlan?'
That leaves 22 that I really, really don't like but they're too connected to my everyday life to splice. These people are my gritted teeth clique, the sham merchants and nasty fuckers who make life miserable for me and mine in thousands of incremental ways, and yet I still have to know what kind of Shiraz they're drinking with their rabbit and colcannon mash.
Fuckin' status reports.