Quiet Desperation

For a life well done, have friends who are rare

Column by Craig Marshall Smith
Posted 5/14/19

A good friend was once defined as someone you could call at 2 a. m. and tell, “Bring a shovel, and don’t ask questions.” Plutarch said, “I don’t need a friend who changes when I change and …

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Quiet Desperation

For a life well done, have friends who are rare

Posted

A good friend was once defined as someone you could call at 2 a. m. and tell, “Bring a shovel, and don’t ask questions.”

Plutarch said, “I don’t need a friend who changes when I change and nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better.”

There are books filled with quotes about friendship, and books filled with stories about friendship.

Arnold H. Glasow (don’t know him) said, “A true friend never gets in your way unless you are going down.”

I think my requirements in a friendship have changed over time, and I have decided I need very few good friends.

A good friend and a friend can be distinguished by a shovel.

I have plenty of good friends. I have four. However, two of them are out of state, and one of them doesn’t know what a shovel is.

Harry doesn’t know what a shovel is, true, but he also doesn’t know who the 45th president of the United States is, and that is a plus sometimes.

Further, he knows nothing about crime, deceit, or cruelty.

He is simply a happy entity, and fully enjoys my company. The perfect antidote to the brutalities of existence.

I have friends I could call on, but probably won’t, in a time of lesser need than a nighttime mission, but whom I greatly appreciate.

Would this then mean I have tiers of friendship?

Maybe you do too.

Jennifer (one of the four, certainly) and I watched the ending, just the very ending, of “Thelma and Louise.” It’s a story about good friends who wind up in a wingless flight in a Thunderbird.

They were willing to die together after a crime spree that was initiated in a parking lot when Louise (Susan Sarandon) shoots and kills a man who assaulted Thelma (Geena Davis).

They amscray, thinking no one will believe them. The movie pivots on that point. The anticipated doubt of the instance of a sexual assault continues to be a reason given why all assaults and rapes are not reported, so it has legitimacy as a plot device.

It’s fulfilling as entertainment, and watching it is one thing. In a real-life instance, I would hope the women would address the situation, and not wind up where they did.

One of my good friends did what good friends do: He intervened. It’s a potent thing to do with anyone, especially with a curmudgeon.

Another stood beside me when others had doubts about my testimony. Trust in a friendship is preeminent.

“Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” (“Louis,” not “Louie,” is correct.)

That’s one of the most famous final lines in film history. Can you name the film?

Mark Twain said, “Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: This is the ideal life.”

Can a good book be a friend? Yes. How about a good movie? Yes.

I watch 10 minutes of an old friend before I fall asleep, just in case I die before I wake.

For one, “My Little Chickadee,” starring W. C. Fields and Mae West, who were not friends. Some of Fields’ self-written lines are brilliant.

He referred to West as “yon damsel with the hothouse cognomen.”

However, I never close the day with “Casablanca,” the final-line film. It’s a good one, but it manipulates my emotions. A good friend won’t do that. Trust me.

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at craigmarshallsmith@comcast.net.

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