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.