SOAP keeps friends in touch

Andrew Lafrance

Andrew Lafrance

You may not think that soap is a delightful thing, but have you ever considered how wonderful SOAP is?

This probably does not make any sense to you, because SOAP Day is a tradition that my best friend Erin and I began after graduating high school nearly three years ago.

Every March 23 and Sept. 23, we send each other a box containing a package of soap, a letter and whatever random stuff we can find around or think that the other will enjoy immensely. The semi-holiday was begun because we were going to college in different towns (she attends Northwestern in Orange City, Iowa) and we did not want to grow apart. It has worked its magic, because no matter how busy she and I get throughout the semester, we still look forward to the audacious occasion of SOAP Day.

Yesterday was the 6th biannual celebration of SOAP Day. One of the wonderful things about this unique and relatively unknown holiday is that you can make up whatever you want to stand for the initials of SOAP. This year I decided that S stands for Sand, O for Otters, A for Ants-on-a-log and P for Phase Ten, the charming card game that I love yet never seem to win. I chose these things for no particular reason, but that is exactly why she will enjoy them so much. It is a bizarre part of this strange celebration, but that does not mean it is not just as enjoyable as visiting to check if they will ever again have Harry Potter Lego sets. I wish!

This year in my SOAP Day package I included three colored Sharpies, two recipes from a magazine, a colored picture of two penguins, my ticket stub from my visit to Legoland, a small screwdriver, several nickels, a Ziploc bag of animal crackers, an Easter card, a bookmark, a tiny “Friends” poster, my old school ID card and of course the SOAP bar. This year’s version was purchased at the San Diego Zoo in California, so hopefully she is amazed at my go-getter SOAP attitude.

Another really great aspect of the SOAP we send is that we never use it. I have all five of the previous SOAP bars that Erin has sent to me and display them proudly on my desk in my dorm room. There is nothing better than seeing them up there when I miss her, because as cheesy as it sounds, it makes me happy to know that a part of her is with me at SDSU.

I am not exactly sure why we decided to send each other soap bars because really anything random would have worked, but I like the idea of receiving something fresh, clean and wonderful in the mail every six months from now until potentially forever. It has the nice smell of tradition to it. Get it?One of my favorite authors, C.S. Lewis, wrote, “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather is one of those things that give value to survival.”

I have known many an individual who says that they do not have time for a friend because of work or classes or homework. But is that really a worthwhile way to think? If one takes all his or her time and puts it into just surviving life, then that is really no way to live at all.

By taking a few moments and reaching out to reconnect with an old friend by calling them up, or by sending a real, old-fashioned letter in the mail, you can brighten someone’s day other than just getting by. Who knows? Maybe there is someone from your past who would simply love to receive a bar of soap and a silly note from you on the next SOAP Day. Erin and I will be so proud!