OPINION: Friends, old and new, have a way of saving us

GOOD ADVICE: Swimming in crocodile-infested waters is not a smart thing to do.
GOOD ADVICE: Swimming in crocodile-infested waters is not a smart thing to do.

Comment: THIS week, I caught up with some family friends.

The last time I saw them, I was still in school, Wayne Bennett was still coaching the Broncos (the first time around) and mum and dad still had the energy and patience to care about the tidiness of my room.

So, yeah, it was a while ago.

But, being away from home, that's not all I've been up to.

Staying in Far North Queensland at the moment, it should go without saying that I've been lapping up the opportunities to have a few dips in the area.

However, apparently it also goes without saying that there has been a rather large crocodile on the loose at a particular North Queensland beach - specifically, the one at which I've frequently been enjoying those dips.

Apparently it pays to read the newspapers.

It was with much enthusiasm that I recounted the adventures of my North Queensland trip to that couple I caught up with as we lunched together.

A common occurrence within those adventures was me, splashing around in the waves, basically yelling into a megaphone, "Come and bite me, reptiles!"

Now, swimming with crocodiles is a silly thing to do whichever way you look at it.

If you know there are crocs in the water and you swim, then you're an idiot.

If you don't know there are crocs in the water and you swim, then you're still an idiot.

And if you don't know what crocs are, then it doesn't matter whether you swim or not; you're the biggest idiot of them all.

To the last one, I'd say swim.

Alas, unfortunately, I fit nice and neatly into the middle of those three, and had it not been for my catch-up with those old friends who proceeded to ask me why the flip I had been swimming at said beach, I'd still be none the wiser.

Now I know: don't swim at that beach with the 4m dinosaur.

Thanks, friends.

No, really, thanks.

Because so it was, that amid that crocodile story, a few snide comments about my parents' apparent inability to ring them and a few equally snide comments aimed at each other (which only many years of marital bliss could bring, or so I'm told), I found myself with two old family friends as though a day had not passed since our last interaction.

There was catching up on what we'd missed since last time.

There was laughter about mutual family friends and the sense of schadenfreude that comes from observing their minor inconveniences in life.

And there was reminiscence of times gone by … like, as the gentleman of the two was more than eager to remind me of on more than one occasion, the time little two-year-old me left a smelly surprise in his swimming pool upon my first visit.

Mum and dad's clearly terrible potty-coaching skills aside, all this got me thinking.

Friends, old and new, have a way of saving us.

So why do we keep them at distance for as long as we do?

Just like it was only after I had gone on my crocodile-infested suicide mission that I realised what danger I was in, so too was it only after my absence from the lives of two dear friends that I realised what danger I was in of losing them.

If an old friend of yours hasn't heard your voice in a while, pick up the phone today.

Don't let that crocodile get to your friendship.

Because then who's the biggest idiot?

Topics:  crocodile crocodiles swimming

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