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September 27, 2004

Best Friends

A bit of history before I get to my point so tag along. It will be worth it.

I had a long call with my good friend Archaeon tonight. He’s had a bad spot of luck the last couple of weeks: He hurt his back on September 11th and is now, for all intensive purposes, flat on same back.

His current situation is as grim as mine was this time two years ago. (I had broken my leg helping Gear Daddy build a platform for his hot tub.) Your ability to move is limited. Your dependence on your spouse brings you to new depths of guilt. The physical therapy progress seems glacial.

We met in August of 1994; I think 1994, at the huge summer trade show I always used to have to go to for work. In a sea of weirdness, a miasma of the unusual, he and his friend Dave stuck out like sore thumbs: they were normal. Needing a break from, I kid you not, the unwashed masses, I asked them if they wanted to go to lunch.

I’ve always believed that when you really need friends the ones that count the most aren’t the ones that will bail you out of jail, it’s the ones that will help you hide the body that count for far more. Over a great Italian lunch in 1994 I discovered one of those sorts of friendships.

We also spent one evening the next year tormenting Goths: “You can’t see me! HA!” Many Goths were left dazed and confused that night as a beer fueled, aloha shirt clad stranger beat them at their own game. *bleah*

When Archaeon broke down and came to work at my old company he lived with me for a while. (Where he claims my steady diet of pizza added 10 pounds.) He helped me host my Widows and Orphans Christmas dinner for employees that couldn’t get back to family for the holidays.

6 years ago I had gone to the doctor to see about doing something for the headaches I was getting. (This is in that time I refer to as BFB: Before Fabulous Babe.) After eliminating the obvious she put me in for a CAT scan and MRI. A day or so after my 30th birthday I’m sitting in the machine, holding as still as can be, while my head is being examined by two or three doctors.

“Well there’s something there. We’re not sure what it is. It could be benign.”

Swell. I turn 30 and low and behold the warranty runs out.

When I got back to work that day my boss at the time, Dead Freddy, looked up from his desk where he was working out his latest coded cell phone message from his girlfriend and let me know that if I needed to leave early that day it was fine with him. He then returned to working out which letter the number 3 stood for so that he could decode what amounted to "I wuv you!".

I can’t remember what Archaeon specifically said that day but I do know he was the one that told me everything would be ok and that to hold off from shooting Dead Freddy until the results indicated I was terminal.

Fast forward a few weeks. I’m home from the hospital. My head is swathed in bandages. I have plastic tubes through my nose and down my throat. To get to where they needed to go inside my head they went through my nose. They then rebuilt my nose by using tissue from beneath the skin behind my ear. (From then on my “I need a haircut!” indicator is when I can’t see the scar behind my ear.) As I lay on my couch in a painkiller filled haze, periodically throwing up in a bucket, I get a phone call, from Archaeon.

“He said you could have the afternoon off. Not a week.”

After I figured out what he said I started to laugh and it hurt so much that I almost passed out.

You can never “pick” your best friends. They come into your life with little fanfare, no warning and one of their best qualities is that they will take the piss out of you and keep you humble. They’ll make you angry at times and will cause you to laugh so loud you know that you are going to bring the roof down on your heads. Good friends are more valuable than anything in this world. The bonds of friendship transcend property and commerce and bring joy in a measure that no material goods can ever offer.

I’m lucky enough to count the number of friends I have like Archaeon on two hands. I hope that at my age Jack fares just as well.

Posted by Jim at September 27, 2004 11:20 PM


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