Monday, June 09, 2008

#5 - With a Little Help from My Missy

Take a few minutes to absorb this pic of my friend Missy (the only friend I've managed to hang on to from my mid-high school theater days) and her husband Bill dressed up as K-Fed and Britney Spears. Note the attention to detail. The frozen coffee. The shirts. The eerie ease with which Bill strikes that pose and facial expression. Get a good laugh and then I'm gonna ruin it by telling you a sentimental story.....Ready? Okay.

You know how everybody likes to say that their friends are there for them through thick and thin? In good times and bad, they know they can depend on their friends? They get by with a little help from their friends; they get high with a little help from their friends? "I'll be there for you 'cause you're there for me too"? Well, I'd like to challenge that little notion today by calling attention to the fact that most friends never actually have to prove themselves. You might ASSUME that your friends would be there for you if tragedy struck, but unless there's something really wrong with you, most days are actually pretty good. Friends usually spend more time having fun together than getting through difficult times together.

Take me, for example. Most of the people reading this blog consider me a friend (at least, I hope they do), but very few of them have ever seen me really angry or sad (tell-tale signs of a shitty situation). Only one has seen me cry. And I'm not alone on this. I haven't seen most of MY friends get really angry or sad either. I've only seen two or three of them cry. And this is what sets Missy apart from most of my other friends.

A few years ago, during the second half of my Ole Miss career, I was hit with a series of three back-to-back personal tragedies. I did my best to hold back my emotions during the first two, but when the third one rolled around I basically reached my breaking point. Lucky for Missy, who was living in Kansas at the time, she just happened to be visiting family in Memphis during the week my downward spiral started. She invited me up for a visit so we could get caught up, and when I showed up at her mother's door, she officially won the award for "The Friend Who Has Seen Me at My Absolute Worst."

Understand, I wasn't in my usual sarcastic "let me tell you about this shit I've been dealing with" mode. I was completely out of my damn mind. Depressed. Disheveled. Disoriented. You name it. I couldn't even string my words and thoughts together. And about 20 minutes into my visit with Missy, I ended up stretching out and falling asleep face-down on her mom's living room floor. When I woke up a couple of hours later, Missy was sitting next to me with this half-upset/half-concerned look of worry on her face. "Are you gonna talk to me now?" she asked, obviously willing to listen to whatever I had to say.

"No," I told her. "I need to get home."

On my way back to Oxford, I had a flat tire in the middle of a one-lane and took forever to get it fixed. By the time I made it home and called Missy to let her know I was okay it was 2 or 3 in the morning. The sweet thing is, she sounded wide awake - as if she'd been up worrying about me. She confirmed this when she said to me, "I'm really worried about you. You're not yourself at all." I think she might have asked if I was on something, but I'm not really sure. Anyway,

I assured her that I would be fine, but even that wasn't enough to satisfy her. Over the next few weeks she called and e-mailed me periodically to make sure I was getting along okay. I couldn't help but feel a little guilty. Missy and I hadn't seen each other in about two years when I went to see her in Memphis...that WOULD be the time when I decided to hit rock-bottom. hehe All was forgiven, though, and Missy now holds a special place in my heart as a friend who was really there when I needed her most. (She was also the last person I talked to before I evacuated the Coast during Katrina. And one time in high school she was with me at the movies when I realized that I'd left my retainer at IHOP -- what is it about Missy and shit going wrong??)

The GOOD news is that Missy and Bill are currently expecting their first child. I was one of the lucky ones who got pics of the ultra-sound before they were a matter of public record:

They won't know for certain whether it's a boy or a girl until July, but my money is on "Girl". Any takers? (Congrats Missy and Bill!)

I'll leave you now with some quotes from one of my very favorite conversations with Missy:

J: I think I have Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I've been doing some reading about it, and I seriously fit all of the symptoms. The need for attention. The grandiose self-perception. The obsession with fame. Honestly, it's like I'm reading about myself.

Missy: (thinks for a second and smiles) Must be a pretty bitchin' disorder.



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