Friends helping friends

Friends are a valuable resource and a lot of fun. Without them, who would help you renovate your kitchen? Who would be there to look out for you when a date might go wrong? Who else would come through when you need a ride, late at night, when you’re stranded in the middle of nowhere? Without friends, life is hard to get — let alone laugh heartily — through.

Among a group of my friends, there is a code that says that if any fella needs help renovating, he can call up the others at short notice and get all the help he needs, provided that he supply the beer. This has led to many memorable renos, from small jobs like resealing the caulk around a toilet, to larger jobs such as completely remodeling a kitchen, and even more laughs. Very little beats a cold beer at noon, followed by a round of sledgehammering drywall.

When it comes to dating, friends can be instrumental to ensuring a successful outing. Once, I was sitting in my friend Woodtick’s living room, watching a hockey game. Our buddy Squirrelman was deep into the beer, riding last night’s party well into the afternoon. He started telling us about a date he was going on later that evening. “What the fuck are you thinking?” we asked, incredulous that he would attempt such a thing in his inebriated state. But Squirrelman was adamant: he was going on this date, come hell or high water, and he wouldn’t stop drinking to sober up for it either.

“They’re free tickets to the Comedy Fest,” he explained, as though that were the key to the whole deal. “I can’t pass that up.”

“You don’t even like comedy,” said Woodtick. “You’ll pass out for sure.”

Squirrelman wouldn’t listen to us, and finally became angered at our attempts to thwart his date. “You think I need dating advice from you? Fuck that!”

All the ways that this date could go wrong were buzzing through my head. The possibilities for abject failure seemed endless. I shook my head, and said, “Man, I would love to see you on this date.”

“Yeah,” said Woodtick. “We’ll go with you! We’ll hide in the back seat!”

Of course, Squirrelman wouldn’t accept such a proposition — at least not without some convincing. After two hours of hard peer pressure, during which Squirrelman became only more inebriated, he capitulated to our demands.

Thanks to our participation, the date proved successful! He safely got him and his date to the comedy fest, didn’t say anything too unruly to her — for fear we’d laugh out loud and ruin everything — and had a memorable night out. After a brief nap in the auditorium, Squirrelman was even ready to get his date home.

Sometimes, all you need from a friend is a ride. Once, Woodtick, Squirrelman, our buddy Chips and me were stranded at a bar in rural South Dakota. We’d loaded into a Winnebago bus with a dozen girls at a bar close to our campground and headed for the next town over. We partied at the bar there with these ladies for a while, until someone in their crew decided they needed us out of the picture. When they packed up to hit the road we were left behind.

We started walking in the pitch black, with vague directions back to the bar we’d left earlier, grumbling the whole way. Finally, Woodtick had had enough. “I’m going to go find us a ride,” he said, and took off down a road into darkness. We figured he was a goner, and kept going down the highway.

Not two minutes later, we hear a rumbling from up behind us. As we turn around, we see Woodtick driving a Caterpillar. “Hop in boys,” he said, waving at the raised shovel. The ride was a bumpy one, but after more than a few wrong turns, we ended up safe at our campsite again. We parked the Cat in a nearby field, keys in ignition like we found them. We packed up our tents and left before dawn.

When friends help friends, everybody wins. If you don’t have any friends, go out and find some. On the U of M campus alone, there are over 30,000 potential friends to be made! Be yourself; don’t fuck anyone over and have a few laughs today. Life is hard. Friends make it easier.