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Posted on Monday, July 13th, 2009

Dave!I was recently forced into a conversation with an old acquaintance. And when I say "forced" I don't mean that there was a gun at my head... it's just that it was a conversation neither one of us wanted to be having. We were never on the best of terms, but have always been civil those rare times we run into each other. When it comes down to it, we simply have no interests in common, no reason to be friends, and there's nothing wrong with that on either side.

Anyway... the topic of the conversation was a mutual friend who has gotten into some serious trouble lately. It's all a sad situation brought on by a number of converging factors that I won't go into... but suffice to say the poor bastard has been assaulted on all fronts, and is not dealing with it well.

At all.

As I sat there listening to the long list of terrible things going on with a friend I no longer recognize, I couldn't help but wonder where my breaking point is. What would have to happen in my life to make me toss everything out the window? How much crap would it take to send me over the edge?

I honestly don't know, but I'll bet it's not as much as I'd like to think it is.

And I'm okay with that, but only because I have to be.

Once my old acquaintance was done updating me on all the latest horror stories in our mutual friend's life, there was an uncomfortably long pause... as if he was waiting for me to come up with a solution to fix everything. But instead I just said "Yeah, that's too bad." and "I hope everything works out." Not because I don't care or don't want to help, but because I honestly don't know how. These problems are so far outside my ability to grasp that I can only guess alien abduction, voodoo, super-powers gained from a nuclear accident, and one million dollars would be required to solve them.

As I sat there in silence with the phone glued to my ear, wishing I was an extra-terrestrial witch-doctor super-hero millionaire, I realized that our combined helplessness finally gave us something in common...

      "I could stop by for dinner in-between my next two trips if you want."

      "Thanks, but you don't have to do that."

      "No... I think I will. Besides, a new Hard Rock Cafe just opened up in town, and I've been looking for an excuse to visit."

      "Oh. Okay. We should go then."

Nothing like mutual helplessness and despair to bring people together.

Why isn't this world a much closer place?

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Categories: DaveLife 2009Click To It: Permalink


  1. brandon says:

    you keep meeting all these people without pre-approval from the boss. how do you do that?

    not that i condone it.

  2. Finn says:

    Perhaps it’s because many of us don’t push past our discomfort and reach out the way you did.

    Hope things turn around for your friend.

  3. Kyra says:

    I think, in general, people can’t be bothered to care about each other much anymore. Million theories as to why that is (maybe the world got too big with the internet? Video games? TV? Microwave meals?) But the world feels too big, too full of so many problems to even face the smallest of them.

    I’ve had lots of potential breaking points, but once I had kids I realized it was all much simpler than that. I know where my edge is. I know where my weaknesses really are. Which is both reassuring, and scary as Hell.

    I’m sorry your friend is having such a hard time. I know that changes nothing, for you or him – but I’m sorry just the same.

  4. Colin B. says:

    Dave, it is tough situations that bring us closer as well as common interests. The same way that tough situations can destroy relationships too. It’s the whole “silver lining” crap people talk about.

    I hope things with your friend who is having problems work out for him soon.

  5. DutchBitch says:

    Sometimes unexpected things can bring unexpected people together.

    I used to think that I would break when shit would start piling up in my life. I’ve had enormous serious shit pile up in my life, and every time something more was thrown on there, I would think “OK, that’s the last I can handle, if anything more happens I’ll lose it”… and then another thing would happen… and I wouldn’t lose it… I think people can actually take móre than they think they can, but obviously everyone has a breakingpoint. Sorry to hear your friend is in such a bad place right now…

  6. Kim says:

    I hope all goes well in the future for your friend.

    I hope nothing ever happens that will test your inner strength Dave, but if it did – you just might surprise yourself.

    I think you’d be ok.

  7. whitenoise says:

    It’s true that anyone can be broken. It’s also difficult to deal with in a professional setting- trying to build someone back up such that he’s in a position to take steps towards recovery and growth, still capable of doing his job…

    But as you noted- there is a point beyond which you cannot help, cannot provide meaningful advice, can’t even find the sympathetic words which sound sincere. That’s not our fault. We can only offer that which we’re capable of providing.

  8. Sybil Law says:

    Really sucks about your friend. 🙁
    But having a kid – I really don’t have a breaking point, anymore. I don’t have the option, thankfully. But if something happened to her, ugh – don’t even want to think about it.
    Hope things get better for the friend, though. Truly.

  9. I wish I was an extra-terrestrial witch-doctor super-hero millionaire. Sigh.

    I really appreciate your comment about what it would take to push you over the edge. I have a personal issue with people who say “that could NEVER happen to me” or that type of thing. People who lose their shit aren’t crazy, usually, they’ve just been pushed a little further than they can handle. It could happen to any of us.

  10. Jacki says:

    Sometimes people don’t want you to solve their problems for them. They just want to know that there are people willing to just listen.

    So I think what you offered is more valuable.

  11. whall says:

    Of course, if you were a superhero millionaire, you’d just be giving your friend more reason to be depressed and envious.

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