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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Write for Us
Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.
@TheChrony
Print Issues

Pappas: Who needs a friend?

By Nicholas Pappas

It’s 3 a.m. I’m in the ER after dislocating my finger to the point that it looks as if I’m performing a magic trick. Various people in colorful scrubs come in and out, check my vitals, chat and poke around.

The doctor is last.

“What’s your pain level on a scale of one to 10?” He scribbles incoherently on a chart.

“About a five, doc.”

“And are you allergic to anything?”

“Nothing. Well…cats.”

“Well, I guess we can’t give you a cat scan!”

He laughs at his own joke. I laugh too. It feels like an invitation to act more like humans than people in the middle of a business transaction.

“I’m also allergic to X-rayngutans!”

This is met by an awkward silence. He smiles a little and pulls closed my shower curtain of a room. There’s nothing worse than sitting in a hospital alone. There’s nothing better than having someone around to laugh at your stupid jokes.

My friends and I often discuss our future plans. We talk about backpacking in Europe. We talk about riding elephants in Thailand or drinking Ouzo by the Mediterranean. We never talk about marriage.

It seems in this new generation of hipsters, computer geeks and enlightened artists, marriage has become uncool. It’s Pepsi Clear. It’s Britney’s bald head. The word marriage is greeted with shudders. It’s the equivalent of putting your hands behind your back and being handcuffed for the rest of your life.

It is a generation that grew up more isolated than any before, and the younger generation is even worse. Our idea of friendship is a collective raid on World of Warcraft. Our idea of being a good friend is leaving a comment on MySpace or proclaiming “Top 8” status.

“Well, of course we’re good friends! I put a thumbnail picture above a bunch of other thumbnail pictures on a website.”

As I sat in the ER alone, I realized I wouldn’t be able to post a bulletin detailing my plight. I wouldn’t be able to call my Warcraft healer and have him come fix me.

I wanted someone there to laugh at my stupid jokes. I wanted someone there to hold my hand because I have a childish fear of needles — someone to forgive me for being a wuss.

But there was no one.

Marriage is sacrifice. You might have to give up your dreams of riding elephants and drinking Ouzo. It won’t always be good. You won’t always agree, but you will never be alone. In a society based so much on “more” — more money, more travel, more online friends — what we really need is more people around us.

Our laptop keys don’t touch back. LOL will never compare to hearing a friend actually laugh out loud. Take some time today to spin your chair away from your desk and find someone to talk to, to touch. When the day comes you’re unhealthy, it will be good for your health.

I sat in the ER waiting for the X-rays to come back. Minutes turned into an hour.

I started whistling to break the monotony. The old man behind the curtain next to me started whistling, too. I was alone. He was alone — and we both understood.

We won’t be young and enlightened forever. A little sacrifice is better than a life of silence.

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