a friend by any other name…

I’m not a big fan of westerns.  The shoot-em-up roll-em-out machismo that spews out of most westerns make me gag.   Yep, I’m gagging on the testosterone-injected dick that  you’re thrusting in my face, Mr. Director.  Wait, let me pay for this experience too!  Even better.  Like a male frakin prostitute or something.

Of course, there is one exception.  But it’s a damn good one.

Because you see, there is this movie.  Technically, I guess, it’s a western.  There’s nothing really special about it, except that it has about a bazillion quotable lines of dialogue.

Tombstone, I’m yer huckleberry.

But this blog post is not about Tombstone.  Not really.  It’s about friendship.

See, there’s an exchange in the movie between Turkey Creek Jack Johnson and Doc Holliday (Oy.  The nameage!  Turkey Creek Jack Johnson?  Really?  Did your mother name you that?  I think not.)  They’re both huddled in with Wyatt Earp, under fire from the Cowboy gang.  During a break in the fighting, Jack and Doc have the following conversation:

Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday
Turkey Creek Jack Johnson: Why you doin’ this, Doc?
Doc Holliday: Because Wyatt Earp is my friend.
Turkey Creek Jack Johnson: Friend? Hell, I got lots of friends.
Doc Holliday: …I don’t.

And that is my point.  I don’t have a lot of friends.  I require a lot from people for me to apply the moniker “friend” to someone. A friend is someone I know I can rely on.  Someone I trust.  Someone who I know cares for me, and shows it, much like I try to show my friends I care for them.

Friends offer to stay the night at your house when your cat dies.  They help you change a flat tire in the rain and bring you coffee.  They invite you to dinner when you drop in unannounced.  They’ve talked you off the ledge, and still love you.  They back your play no matter what.

So if I call you a friend, it means something.  It means a whole heck of a lot of somethings.  And I don’t give it out lightly, easily or quickly.  It is something that must be earned, because once earned, it means you have access to my (sometimes) endless amounts of patience, understanding and compassion.  My friends get my absolute loyalty.  These are things I treasure in myself, and must be protected from those who would take advantage of it.  I would have it no other way.


  1. mediaChick says:

    I often think about why this is such a hard concept for some people to understand. Friendship — like marriage and other heady commitments — are not universally bountiful. Well not for some of us, anyway. Some of us guard our hearts and save them for those who are worthy of spending heart ache on when they need it.

    You never know who your true friends are until the shit hits the fan.

    Also: GREAT MOVIE!!

  2. Morgan says:

    Yes! I sometimes envy those people who have lots of friends, but then I wonder how you can possibly have a meaningful friendship with that many people. Makes me think that people with tons and tons of friends either a. have very superficial relationships with them or 5. must have different levels of friends, and just calls them all ‘friends’, which would be confusing, no?

    I call all those other people “acquaintances”. Is it just semantics, then? Curious.

  3. Morgan says:

    And yeah. I frakin LOVE that movie.

    My favorite scene, containing the line I quote the most (“In vino veritas”):

    Johnny Ringo: [Ringo steps up to Doc] And you must be Doc Holliday.
    Doc Holliday: That’s the rumor.
    Johnny Ringo: You retired too?
    Doc Holliday: Not me. I’m in my prime.
    Johnny Ringo: Yeah, you look it.
    Doc Holliday: And you must be Ringo. Look, darling, Johnny Ringo. The deadliest pistoleer since Wild Bill, they say. What do you think, darling? Should I hate him?
    Kate: You don’t even know him.
    Doc Holliday: Yes, but there’s just something about him. Something around the eyes, I don’t know, reminds me of… me. No. I’m sure of it, I hate him.
    Wyatt Earp: [to Ringo] He’s drunk.
    Doc Holliday: In vino veritas.
    [“In wine is truth” meaning: “When I’m drinking, I speak my mind”]
    Johnny Ringo: Age quod agis.
    [“Do what you do” meaning: “Do what you do best”]
    Doc Holliday: Credat Judaeus apella, non ego.
    [“The Jew Apella may believe it, not I” meaning: “I don’t believe drinking is what I do best.”]
    Johnny Ringo: [pats his gun] Eventus stultorum magister.
    [“Events are the teachers of fools” meaning: “Fools have to learn by experience”]
    Doc Holliday: [gives a Cheshire cat smile] In pace requiescat.
    [“Rest in peace” meaning: “It’s your funeral!”]
    Tombstone Marshal Fred White: Come on boys. We don’t want any trouble in here. Not in any language.
    Doc Holliday: Evidently Mr. Ringo’s an educated man. Now I really hate him.

  4. CamiKaos says:

    damn you… your slugs made me wretch and this one makes me all misty eyed. I will refrain from friend commentary, but that scene, my favorite in the whole movie, and that movie I love. And then when Doc is in the hospital… well, yeah. Friends, real friends are hard to come by.

  5. Jennifer says:

    This is a great post. You know, it’s funny now that I think about what you said… I’m someone who has lots of “friends”, and yes, I call them all friends. But there are only a few people that I would let see all of the inside of me. I can count them on one hand.
    All of my “friends” are special to me, they bring something to my life, and hopefully I add something to thiers. But like you, I treasure those few that I have a deep, intimate connection with. That I can count on and that I would walk through any fire or storm to be there for them. They are scared of sharing silence with me, and don’t always have to talk to explain that they understand.
    To some, it might be confusing… to me, it’s just my life. And it’s a good one at that, my friend.

  6. Kelly says:

    I think I know at least one of those situations. Thank you for warming my heart a little. It’s easy to lose faith in people, so thanks for helping bring balance to the Force. (: (bump)

  7. Kelly says:

    Also: I have exactly that same exception. I endure westerns if necessary for marital harmony. I look forward to watching one: Tombstone.

    One moment that sticks with me: In the rain the declaration HELL’S COMING WITH ME! Every time it’s just…wow.

  8. Morgan says:

    Cami and Kelly: You guys are the best. #seriously.

    Jenn – thanks for that perspective. I guess there are friends and then there are friends, right? 😀

  9. CamiKaos says:

    just seriously? not #withaspoon?

  10. Layne says:

    I love this. Thanks.

  11. I don’t get it