It's true what they say when they say that friends are the most valuable commodity that a person can have.
True friends are always there for you. They cheer you up when you're down, they pat you on the back when you've achieved something, and they snap you back to reality when your head grows too large for the rest of your body and soul.
I just experienced the last part of that equation, in a subtle but valuable way, thanks to one of my best friends in the world, the lovely and fair Beth.
Beth has been my friend for several years now. She was a co-worker at a previous job, and when that gig went away for both of us, we actually grew closer. Thanks to the companion known as unlimited long distance, we speak on the phone nearly every day, often multiple times, as well as e-mail and the occasional instant messaging. Hopefully some of you have checked out her own blog, which is bookmarked on the right side of this one.
Beth is really an extraordinary woman. She's a great writer, a good singer, an excellent cook and baker. (Brownies - mmmm.) And she's also a good bullshit detector. And I had told her when I started with the Snakes on a Plane book to keep me honest, to make sure that any part of the process didn't go to my head.
And today, it kind of did.
Today, believe it or not, I shot a story about me and my book for Geraldo Rivera's syndicated show, Geraldo at Large. (I know, I know. But it was interesting to see how such spots are put together.) The story will be on Monday - check local listings. But the point of this is that when I got home, I called Beth to tell her about it, since she works out of her place like me and thus is usually more readily available for impromptu conversations than some of my other, office-bound chums. And after telling her my tale, I threw this in: "I hope nothing happens in the world that would bump me out of the show."
What did I say, Beth asked. And, like a lummox, I repeated what I had just said. And then I knew what I had done.
There is a lot going on in the world today, something I don't have to tell you guys. And most of it is far more important than Snakes on a Plane or the book that I wrote about the response to the movie. Sure, films like this are, at their best, necessary diversions from the seriousness of the news. But that's all they are, diversions. And for me to put myself above Iraq or Israel or the oil prices or even the JonBenet Ramsey story - yeah, that was a bit much. And Beth said so in a way that was not scornful or mean, but nevertheless hit the nail on the head.
So I may get bumped on Monday if the world blows up or something. It won't be the end of the world. Well, it may be, but you get the picture. So Beth did her due diligence as a friend, which is precisely why she's my friend. That, and the brownies.
P.S. If the spirit moves you, donate some legal tender to Beth's 3-Day Breast Cancer Walk, the link to which can be found on her own blog site. She does it every year, it's a really good cause, and she is quite the good egg.