Alright kids here's your weekly name-that-year:
- Post-It Notes are introduced
- The Space Shuttle Columbia successfully launches
- Raiders of The Lost Ark hits theatres
- The AIDS Virus is identified
- Microsoft MS-DOS is released
- Someone first mentions the word "internet"
and in August of the same year an upstart cable network hits the screen called - you guess it.. MTV.
All of these insanely epic events happened in 1981 and with Glam Rock about to explode, with Punk getting angrier and angrier, and with MTV giving a visual medium to the music we'd only dreamed of - the Rolling Stones - yes THOSE Rolling Stones - the Greatest Rock Band in the world (based on the previous decade's touring $$) come out with this??!
Waiting on a... Friend?
Actually it's not as hard to believe as one might think - at least from a business perspective. 1981's Tattoo You simply pulled from extra tracks leftover from 1978's Some Girls and 1973's Goats Head Soup, including Start Me Up - THE sports-anthem for the next 20 years. So with a huge tour looming instead of devoting six months or more to a brand new album.. simply re-record some vocals and polish up some extra tracks and voila! = Album complete.
*most notably Tattoo You remains the Stones' last number one album. YES - their last number one album came out when most Millenials weren't even a blip in their parent's aol chat sessions.
So Waiting on a friend came from the Goats Head Soup sessions, which came directly after the double LP and now-classic Exile on Main Street and was actually recorded in Kingston, Jamaica as the band had numerous tax and drug issues with many countries.
The recording of Exile on Main Street was long and arduous, being a double album with many contributing musicians, which makes an island vacation to record the follow up album all that more understandable.
Now I get it - picture yourself chillin' in Jamaica mon, your name is Mick or Keith, or Mick T. or Brian:
"Watching girls passing by, it ain't the latest thing
I'm just standing in a doorway
I'm just trying to make some sense
Out of these girls passing by, the tales they tell of men
I'm not waiting on a lady
I'm just waiting on a friend
A smile relieves a heart that grieves, remember what I said
I'm not waiting on a lady
I'm just waiting on a friend"
A smile relieves a heart that grieves
That's some surprisingly poignant wisdom from a sometimes raunchy brit Mick. Ladies are great - and who should know but Mr Jagger - but there are times when we all want someone who just knows us man... sometimes we just need a friend that is like an old couch. Not a nasty, disgusting couch, but a perfectly worn in couch that's still supportive.
A smile and a willing ear can literally turn a bad day good, or at the least more tolerable. In Paul's letter to the Galatians we're told to
"Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." - Galatians 6:2
So ok - we've heard about friendship before, heck most Disney movies worth their salt have a song-and-dance bro-scene in which Baloo and Mowgli, Robin Hood and Little John, Tod and Copper, Dori and Nemo, Timon and Pumba, and yes Woody and Buzz, all basically say the same thing: "you've got a friend in me."
80% of life is showing up
This past week a good friend lost her cousin. It was a bathtub accident, a young woman in her early 30's slipped and.. well who knows exactly. But a rough way to go regardless of the details and a blow to the family at large to say the least.
I had been wrapping up a few rough weeks of my own for different reasons, the ups and downs of a creative and non-traditional life that can sometimes plummet me pretty far down.
So it's not that I didn't care, I just didn't really know what to say... so I said nothing.
When I finally got around to asking her how it was going it was clear there was more hurt laid on top of the accident, and as usual I stepped right in it.
Asking for a friend just isn't sexy
We've all had it. That feeling of wishing that someone would reach out on their own - without us asking, without us explaining, without us doing anything. "They should just know shouldn't they?" "Don't they care?"
Of course we do.
Most everyone who's lived at all through any amount of ups and downs knows there's a time of need and a time to fill that need for someone else.
There's the rub
“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art.... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.” – C.S. Lewis
But he's right. Families are necessary. Jobs are necessary. Life has requirements. And though most would agree that friends are valuable and important they can often be on the low end of anyone's to-do list.
So what are we to do? Should we have a rolling call or text go out to all of our friends every week? Maybe an automated service?
"Hello this is your weekly call from a friend, press one to talk now, two to call them back, three to schedule a time to meet, or four to receive a prayer for an unnamed request."
Yes to all!
Waiting on a friend? Maybe don't
I'm gonna go out on a limb and say I'm sorry to my friend - if she's reading this - who was disappointed I didn't automatically check in, but I'm also going to say something a little crazy:
It's also ok to ask.
Hey if anyone knows that doing something different can be scary I do - heck I just did stand-up comedy for the first time two weeks ago - which is a subject for a different post altogether - so I know about facing a fear.
But if we want true friendships, not "likes" and "comments" but true count-on-me type friendships I say it goes both ways. I'm saying what if the next time you're down or experiencing pain or sadness or frustration what if you initiated the call - what if you made the first move - what if you came out and said what your heart is SHOUTING -
"Will you be my friend today?"
Say it - I dare you.
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