Thursday, April 3, 2008


For many years, I have believed that adage that a real friend is someone who comes in when everyone else is leaving. This adage gained some traction after 9/11 when we spoke about the heroes who were more than willing to give up their lives to save another.

And, I guess that where my mind is going with all this; is, why has it become so difficult to find a true friend?

All through my military career, we spoke of not having friends, but having military acquaintances. And it seems, that line of reasoning would go well with going into combat, and not knowing who will be coming out again.

For the most part, today, we see our military being committed to combat zones as complete units. Back when I went to Vietnam, we had gotten beyond sending complete units and were sending individual Marines, as they were coming available.

So, where does the rubber meet the road, when we are talking in terms of friends sticking closer than brothers?

My experience has been, the people who I have been closest with, are the ones who have made a commitment to themselves and to me, to be willing to go in when the rest of the world is going out. It seems, to my military mind, at least, that today, we have gotten so caught up in being highly mobile; we commute lengthy distances to and from work, we change residences and jobs on a regular basis, we are competing at work for better position and pay.

Have we really gotten to the point where we have become so self oriented, so self committed, that we no longer have time for someone else? Has the plethora and availability of therapists, and counselors robbed us of the desire to find someone who can be a friend and accept us just as we are? Warts, and spinach leaves on our front teeth, and all?

Or have we become so self-absorbed that we don't want anyone to know us deep down, so, we spend enormous amounts of money for therapists; so no one is able to see who we really are.

And, we spend a lot of money on pets, pets who can be there when we get home, who never castigate us when we tell a lie to someone on the phone, or curse someone in the comfort, and security of our home.

Have we effectively given up on having a real friend, and settled for simply having lots of acquaintances; perhaps for anonymity sake?

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