I am a truly wonderful friend. You really want me around because I never make you do things that will in any way cause your body pain. With me, it’s all about sitting back, relaxing and being around food and drink.

The value of my friendship was once again proven last night when I was chatting with one of my nearest and dearest friends, Kath. We’ve known each other for nearly thirty years; we have a shared history of six years of Catholic school that bonds us in ways that only those taught by nuns will understand; we have lived through (and come out the other end of) bad haircuts and school formal dresses of the early 1990s.

Over the past few months Kath has had some issues with her hip and has had to see a few different health professionals to sort things out. Now, I always considered ‘hip problems’ to be in the same category as ‘cataracts’– things that happen to people waaaaaay older than us. But my eyes sport brand-new-non-cloudy lenses, and her hip causes her pain, so perhaps I need to reconsider my thinking. Or admit that we are not the same pre-teens we were when we met.

Anyway, Kath was telling me about the latest in her hip saga – and the good news is that she doesn’t need surgery as previously thought. We celebrated with Pimms!

The cause of her hip pain is, of course, exercise. Kath is a runner and plays golf and rows and does other things that make me twitch internally and run stroll screaming to a patisserie. She catches up with friends (who are not me) for a run around a park or a swim or some sort of non-sitting-in-a-café activity. She is super fit and I suppose that is admirable. And I expect her cardiovascular health is excellent. So, perhaps there are some benefits to this exercise thing she has going. Except, of course, she has a very sore hip.

See,’ I said to her. ‘This is why you need me as a friend. Nothing I do with you makes you hurt. Nothing I do aggravates your hip injury. In fact, nothing we do together has caused your hip injury. All we do is drink coffee, eat doughnuts, drink Pimms and have dinner at Marios. All of these are positive things. The Pimms probably numbs the pain, so really, our friendship CURES your problems.’

And then I remembered something.

‘Oh! When we did try to do something healthy, it ended badly. You had to call an ambulance and I was unconscious. And I am still worried that the incident has traumatised you for life. No good comes from exercising.’ I was referring to the short-lived thing we did, where we walked around Princes Park a few nights a week. Which was fun until a hypo knocked me out (and possibly made Kath question whether our friendship was worth the drama). After that, we went back to exercising our right to drink as much coffee as we wanted. And that was pretty much it.

See? This is why you want me around. I can’t promise to make you get fit. I can’t promise to help you beat your personal best in a half-marathon. But I can promise marathon chatting sessions and justifying anytime you want to eat a doughnut. That’s just the kind of friend I am. (And here’s some Randy Newman.)

Kath and Renz

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