So the saying goes, which is captured in this column’s headline. But the determination that you have friends is really weird because I have not been overtly courting friendships. I should but I don’t.
When a particular need arises requiring a friend, it becomes real. Friends are around and they are willing to help despite your best intentions to sabotage that friendship. What in the hell am I talking about? You might ask.
It is this: I have to go under anesthesia this coming Tuesday so docs can inject my lower back with what I believe is steroids to try and diminish the constant, debilitating pain.
My new back doc says my “facets are trashed.” The facet is like a bumper for the spine. Mine are not in good shape, probably because of my running all these years – about 50 – without the proper shoes or the proper warm ups. I just like to run. I like to get to it and not mess around with stuff before hand. That’s boring. Yes, it’s probably necessary but it’s also boring. Running, believe it or not, is not boring. It fires my endorphins and it is the only time I am stress and pain-free. Curious.
I have a friend – one is enough for me – that is going to take me to the procedure because they are putting me under. He will drive me there and back. He is a nice man. I am lucky.
By the way, it’s not that I don’t want friends. I don’t know how to make them. I know the old saying that “to have a friend you must first be a friend,” and I try to hold to that. Namely, when I am asked to assist, I do. Perhaps, awkwardly, but I do show up.
Most people are friendly and I can take those lessons to heart. If only, right?
It is a bit of a revelation that I do have a friend since I am not friend material. I am a loner by instinct and a friend only by social instruction. I must tell you when my friend agreed to help me I felt oddly better about my lot in life. As if friendship is the defining circumference of one’s soul.
My father used to complain about his wife’s insistence of attending this party or that gathering. He always said: “I don’t want to go. I hate these things.” But then he would go, to please his wife, I imagine, and he would feel the better for it.
So, if all this is true, why don’t I jump at the chance of mingling with my brethren? Because before going, it seems like a rotten idea. I find people tedious, self-involved and all-too important to themselves for any outside influence. But then so am I. As with my father, when I do go, I feel the better for it.
I am glad my friend is taking me. I am grateful he is taking me. Hope the back procedure works, and I know you guys care deeply about my petty pain problems. This problem has sent me on a journey of fits, false starts and a significant paradigm shift in my life. Back pain is no joke. Ask anybody, even a friend, if you have one. If you don’t, get one. It’s worth the price of admission. And much, much more. Bank on it.