My friend Andrew - a golfing fanatic - ruptured his Achilles tendon while playing basketball last week. It's going to be a long road to recovery.
Three months in a walking boot. Eighteen months for a full recovery.
The next golfing season in serious jeopardy.
My friends and I have a sack of golf balls that we pass from player to player depending upon who has won the last round. Bragging rights of sorts. Andrew currently holds the sack after winning the last round of the last season.
I sent a group text alerting my friends to Andrew's injury.
The first response was a statement of empathy. A question about recovery time.
Andrew provided details and expressed his concern over the upcoming golfing season.
I reminded him that I played golf with a separated shoulder one year and told him to suck it up.
A friend warned him against the hazards of contact sports at his advanced age.
Then we asked about the sack. Demanded it back. Reminded him of the rule that if you miss three rounds of golf, the sack must be returned to the group. Forgot his injury entirely. Moved onto more important things.
When Andrew attempted to insert a injury clause to the bylaws, we told him we'd just get a new sack. A bigger, better sack.
See that? A momentary expression of empathy for a man who will be suffering through 18 months of pain and rehabilitation and perhaps a loss of the thing he loves most, and then we were ready to stick him on an ice flow and push him out to sea.
This is what friendship is all about.