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“Better Be Ready ‘Bout Half Past Eight”

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“Better Be Ready ‘Bout Half Past Eight” by Allison Baker is not only a captivating short story but also a critical and well-illustrated piece of work that shows how friendship should be. The main characters, Zach and Byron, have been friends for over fifteen years and are quite fond of each other at work and even in their social life. Nevertheless, there is a twist of things now. Zach wanted to change his sex. His friend Byron takes it as a joke, but Zach is yet to give him none of it. He persists in his idea, and Byron seems to have reservations about it, but in the long run overcomes them after a certain struggle. The friends have a great litmus test of their friendship.

Zach does not want to lose his friend Byron, but, at the same time, he is focused on starting his new life as a woman. Zach explains to Byron that he had been a woman in a man’s body. As many people in ’93, Byron is in repudiation of the whole idea and ties his best to ignore his friend’s new course of life. However, human nature carries him back to his senses, and he starts asking himself questions about the same. He goes to the extent of trying to wear makeup and visualizing himself as a woman. He puts himself into Zach’s shoes. He finally admits what the real problem was. He was not used to the idea that Zach was a woman now. He did not understand how they would relate with the new twist of things and even appeared  to be confused.

In life, there is a difference between what we want and what the society expects of us. What we want should always come first. Byron analyzes the situation and concludes that it would be alright as long as it does not interfere with their work. Terry, Byron’s friend, knocks some sense into his mind. “Suppose your little baby comes to you in twenty years and says, “Daddy, I am now Chinese”, Will you disown the child after twenty years of paternity? No! He will still be the son you love”. Towards the end, Byron is ready to accept anything his son would become. He also portrays the same to Zach. He accepts the new madam Zach, and both agree that life must go on.

In conclusion, Zach and Byron distinguish themselves as not just friends but true friends. The notion created by the two is that of unconditional friendship. It goes beyond what society thinks but narrows down to what really matters; what one wants to be. As a lesson, we should accept those our friends that are facing similar situations in life no matter how complicated it may seem. For example, we should come to accept gays, lesbians, and those with disabilities. This will make us stand out as being not only friends but true human unconditional friends.

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