FRIENDSHIP

Friendship is a rather interesting phenomena. Who are friends are and what we do to maintain our friendship often reflects significantly on us as individuals. This is a story; one that is true. I grew up in a suburb of Chicago and actually lived in the City for a while. I met my first friend when I was about 6 months old. My next friend I met when I was 3 years old. I grew up in the same neighborhood with a group of friends, some of whom are friends to this day. However, over the years I left the Chicago area and moved around. A small group decided to share a vacation time in Lake Tahoe every other year. My friend Bob who I have known since we were 6 months old was one of them along with his wife. Another was a neighbor Bill who had been a friend since we were both young children. He and his wife Billy came to Tahoe for a week of fun. Another friend was Joe Jonas and his wife who I played in a band with in college. I drank alcohol in college and did my share of going to parties. As I got older and eventually became a professional I went to not drinking at all. Also, there was some drug use in the group that always made me terribly uncomfortable. I don’t use drugs. GIven my injuries and chronic medical problems matters came to a head about 6 years ago. We gathered for the usual Tahoe vacation and rented a place to spend time together. While there the group was doing an enormous amount of alcohol that, professionally, I ascertained could not possibly be consumed but for severe tolerance built in the neurochemistry of the brain. To my chagrin they were also smoking a great amount of marijuana outside on a deck that was elevated. I registered my complaint multiple times and noted I had more than one license to lose and begged they stop. Did they? Of course not. When one is so self absorbed that the needs of friends cannot be perceived the proverbial door is shut. Then things escalated. My friend Don asked me to provide him with some of the narcotics I use for pain management that are prescribed. I said NO! So he stole some pills. I discovered it and demanded he return them. He didn’t. So with drinking night and day, use of drugs night and day I was separate from the group. After they left I wrote a series of emails expressing my concern. I told Bill and others that he was an alcoholic and drug addict. He was in denial even though three weeks after he arrived home he got a DUI. There was a flurry of emails that went back and forth. I called it as I saw it and that was probably rough to take. The outcome was that lifelong friends split and no longer spoke to each other. Recently, in 2009 I reached out with emails and calls. No response. It appears the cross talk actually had an effect on everyone’s memories. Friendship is tough. Sometimes it is like a marriage. It is very important but there are times when friendships must end due to the failure of people to have insight and sensitivity toward their fellow man. (Names have been changed to affect the guilty)

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