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    Band Aid

            Moments before my band kicked into our opening number at another epic Halloween party, my bass player had a potentially tragic accident. Half heartedly paying attention to the fan he was adjusting, he sliced his finger open on it’s spinning metal blades. Within seconds, red liquid, that looked curiously like real blood, was spurting out of his pinkie. I quickly took him upstairs to find something to stem the invading red tide.
            While in my bathroom, his finger bleeding and throbbing, my friend and band mate started turning to the dark side. “I’ve ruined the gig!” he proclaimed, his voice full of panic and doom. “I can’t play like this. I’ve let the band down. We’re screwed. I’m so sorry!”.
            Well you don’t know someone for over twenty years, play almost a hundred shows together, consider him one of your best friends, and not know a thing or two about the dude. I recognized his acute sense of hyper-responsibility shifting into over-drive. His occasional propensity for worry was taking center stage, instead of his cool, rock god persona. I had to get him back.
            Luckily, I wasn’t in that space with him. In this case, I was completely unperturbed and the voice of reason. But I remember understanding how he felt, and being very aware that for him, this panic and sense of dread was very real. So I didn’t fluff it off, but responded in a way that served my friend in need, and served the situation at hand. I wrapped his finger up and gave him a healthy belt of booze. That helped. As he leaned over my sink, lamenting that he had ruined the show, I patted him on the back and told him repeatedly that everything was going to be fine. He hadn’t ruined anything. He just delayed the performance, that’s all.
            Well the band did go on, totally kicked ass, and had a fantastic time. What I’ll never forget about that night, though, is that I was there for a friend. My most endearing memory of the entire night is not how good the band sounded, or how much fun I had at the party, but that I helped someone I cared about. I helped my buddy through something that he was having a hard time with. I can’t tell you how honored I feel to be given that chance. That most precious gift.
            I’m forever grateful for that opportunity. It was in fact he who helped me, as much or more, than I helped him, because he gave me the chance to be there for him. He gave me the chance to be his friend. And really, there is no greater gift he could have given me.
            I look back and ask myself how many times we don’t give people the opportunity to be there for us. How often I say “I can do this myself. I don’t need any help.” We are actually withholding love for another when we don’t give them the chance to be there for us. On the surface, it may appear that we’re doing them a favor by not “bothering” them with our struggles. But actually, we’re being selfish, albeit unintentionally and often with good intention, by not allowing somebody we love to help us.
            I want the people in my life to ask me for help. I want them to come to me when they need something. Not because it’s a power trip and I want them to develop a perverse dependence on me, but because I experience love in the most profound of ways when I’m there for someone. I don’t want that love withheld from me, and I don’t want to withhold it from another.
            So the next time anybody inadvertently sticks their finger in a fan, call me. I’ll be there.

    ©2009 Clint Piatelli. All Rights (and a bloody spinning fan of Wrongs) Reserved.

    Reader Comments (1)

    Yea I can relate. I had to come to the aid of a friend of mine who really really needed me to be there for them through something really really scary that could potentially be disastrous. And I was there for her. And it felt good even though I had to give up my entire day in order to accomplish it.
    The other day a friend of mine was unceremoniously taken away by the men in white coats to be locked up against her will for 3 days or MORE by a psychiatrist she had never met who was called by an attorney in another state who had never met her to tell the department of mental health that a section 12 was needed on her. She was allegedly suicidal based on something she had posted to the internet upon which anyone who knew her would know it was just some rant that women occasionally find themselves doing to vent their frustration and it is NOT a suicidal gesture. This attorney had been hired by a doctor and he wanted to punish her by having her locked up and on top of that filing a 93 page restraining order against her basic harassment on a grand scale.
    So I did what a friend would do. I hauled myself out of bed very early. went to her house. took care of her poor frightened dog. got stuff she needed together. Showed up at the hospital to check on her. Faxed documents outlining the case to her attorney in Boston who also
    worked all day on her cause on his side. I went out to get her change in case she needed to use a payphone and to get her a payas you go cellphone so she again could receive calls. Many people I met that day were very sympathetic as people they knew had had a similar experience with section 12. Massachusetts has a scary law and once that person is locked up in a psych ward they can disappear and be very hard for family and friends to trace. They can force you to take antipsycotic meds against your will. It's a barbaric system. They
    will keep you from being able to have any contact with the outside world.
    So I was there for her. I was her witness and her advocate and in the end a very kind doctor realized she wasn't CRAZY or suicidal and released her. It helped that the MA hospitals are swamped right now with people in desperate need of mental help and there were no beds available. But success. So sweet. We were in the best mood driving home. I helped save a friend from a terrible descent into the hell of the state mental health wards when someone she never met bear false witness against her, and she got to go home to her dog. I realized that I would want someone to be there for me if that god forbid happened to me. That it all ended well was all the sweeter. That's what friendship is for me. If someone needs you you go and help. No questions asked. And if they need their hand held and they are needy, you stay calm and patient. That support and care can make all the difference in the end.

    April 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlong haired chickita

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