November 15, 2007
Qualities I appreciate in a friend
Originally published December 16, 2004
Yeah, I'm gonna make another list.
But I find myself THINKING in lists anymore, and that fact really disturbs me. My mind has always been just as disorganized as my house, so I wonder WHY I'm starting to fit things into priorities, shuffle the blocks into the proper order and weigh things on a goddam scale every day.
I never did that before. Sure, I did AT WORK, because that's what I was PAID to do--- but I didn't do it in my personal life. At home, I just rocked along and figured that I could handle any problem that reared its ugly head. I was pretty fast on my feet. I'd fix it after it happened.
Whoa!! I fucked up with that calculation.
Do you know what was really wrong with me in those blissful days? I became COMFORTABLE!!! That's what!!! I see it all now, just as plain as daylight. WE ARE NOT MEANT TO BE COMFORTABLE in life. If you struggle every day, you stay sharp; as soon as you become complacient, you're dead. And the jackals of the world will rend your "comfortable" corpse with their sharp, ravenous teeth while nobody but the buzzards pay any attention at all. THAT'S THE TRUTH!!!
But... I digress.
Catfish and I talked about this subject on our (short) ride TO Athens, not the LONG ride back home. I have many, many dear acquaintences, but very few friends. The friends I DO claim as mine have stuck by me through thick and thin for a very long time. Fire and ice went into that mix. Let me tell you what it was:
1) Loyalty. This may sound stupid today, but once upon a time, I did things that I KNEW were going to cost me personally for the benefit of a friend. Why? Because I knew that if the roles were reversed, he'd do the same thing for me. At least I thought so.
2) Trust. I've always said that if my friends got together and wrote my biography based on what THEY saw, I'd be a fucking outlaw legend. I never hid a damn thing from them, and all have seen me at both my best and my basest. They all know stories that they've promised not to tell, not even to each other, and they HAVEN'T either. Yeah. I trust every one of them.
3) The Gimlet Eye. If you believe that your FRIENDS don't know everything fucked-up about you, you don't have a head on your shoulders. Friends don't ignore your faults. They accept you warts and all. They know your goddam faults better than YOU do. Try lying to one of them.
4) Nostalgia. Okay, he's not the same guy you went to college with. He looks a lot older, he's running his own business now, and he's got the wife and three kids. (Nod over the pictures extracted from the wallet.) We both feel lots of pressure in our jobs, because nobody is a little boy anymore. But for one golden moment, over a burger and a beer, you both remember a time when you were young and invincible, and you both laugh your asses off, thinking about the same moment at the same time. History matters.
5) Track Record. A good friend doesn't ask for many favors. But YOUR good friend won't abandon you when you need somebody. And the best thing about a good friend is that you don't even have to ask. He KNOWS. And he'll be there.
If you don't have friends like that, I pity you.
All content © Rob Smith