Relationships are a puzzle that we all figure out during our short lives.
I’ve noticed a correlation between the clarity of a relationship and the intensity of the situations a relationship has endured; the more extreme the situations, the more defined the relationship becomes, for better or worse.
For example, take a night out with four roommates: Joe, Ed, Drew and Zach.
Joe had a little too much to drink at his pregame, so going out in the first place might have been a bad idea. Not my life, not my call. We’ll leave that up to Joe.
The group went to a particular nightclub and Joe kept drinking. The lights were flashing and he lost track of his friends, so he took a seat on a couch and almost simultaneously fell asleep.
Joe had yet to turn 21, so when the police walked through the club looking for underage drinkers, it was nothing short of a miracle they didn’t wake him and ask for his ID. After the cops left, Joe was awakened by the club staff and asked to leave.
Joe had recently undergone ACL surgery, and in his maybe-too-inebriated state, he took a spill down the stairs, ripped the stitches on his surgery wound and began to gush blood. Joe couldn’t recount the walk (limp) home entirely.
Ed was at the same pregame as Joe and accompanied him to the club, but when Joe fell asleep, Ed left without him. He found himself walking home, tired and buzzed, and opened his front door to Joe, lying on the couch and bleeding all over the cushions.
Ed has a short fuse and only one living room, so he pulled Joe off the couch, yelling about the blood all over the carpet. Joe hobbled around, muttering about El Rancho and how disappointed he was to skip it that night. Ed pushed Joe toward the stairs, telling him to clean himself off in his upstairs bathroom.
Eventually, Joe got so mad he turned around and thrust his fist through the drywall. A fight ensued, during which Joe and Ed broke the door to a closet containing the washer and dryer, an arm of a couch, and several glasses. They ended up flipping the coffee table and throwing shards of glass all over the carpet.
Drew had been in his room upstairs all night. He heard the commotion, but it didn’t bother him until he was trying to go to bed. He walked downstairs to see his living room completely destroyed and went understandably postal. He yelled at the two to stop fighting and help him clean up, cutting his finger on broken glass in the process. Joe hobbled his way upstairs, yelling about going to the hospital for his knee, which had been bleeding the whole time.
Zach had been at a friend’s house all night, and he was also surprised at the mess in his living room. Zach was a little buzzed, and followed Joe’s yelling upstairs, where he saw Joe’s knee.
Drew was the only one of the roommates with a car, and the hospital was definitely a drive away. Zach and Ed tried to reason with Drew through a closed door to let them drive Joe to the hospital. Drew was too furious about the living room and the cut on his finger to feel any kind of sympathy for Joe, who was still yelling, partially in pain and partially in a stupor.
Friendship is a funny thing because sometimes you don’t know if it’s really there until you push it far enough. To call someone a friend usually means you’re looking out for them, and you will be even (especially) when they’re making an ass out of themselves. To call someone a friend, you have to know that a knee is worth more than a cut finger or an interrupted night’s sleep or a drunken scuffle.
Because when it comes down to it, that’s a man’s knee.