When I think back on my battle with covid -- which is, blissfully, nearly over -- I will remember the comfort of Friends. In addition to Henry, Reg, Carla, Kathy, Joanna and all you blog buddies that I'm lucky to have in my life, I'm grateful to Chandler, Rachel, Ross, Monica, Joey and Phoebe. It's on every afternoon, for hours, on TBS. When my fatigue was at its worst, when I was just drifting in and out of wakefulness, there was something so reassuring about looking over and seeing their familiar faces, no matter how many times I dozed off.
This is not the first time the gang from Central Perk has come through for me. In 2011, when I had a hysterectomy, I vaguely recall waking up in the hospital ... the room was dark and I was disoriented ... my eyes fixed on the TV suspended from the ceiling and I reached for the remote and there they were! I fell back to sleep, reawoke in the dawn's gray light, and Friends had been replaced by a weather map and a traffic copter. I turned the TV off. The local news lacks their warmth.
Then, when I got home from the hospital and I was on pain meds, I turned again to Friends. When the medication wore off, the pain would wake me up. I'd take a dose and have an unpleasant half hour or so, waiting for the new pills to kick in. I couldn't read because the codeine messed with my vision and besides, I didn't want to think. I wanted to be amused by people who are pretty and nice.*
Fast forward nine years, and Friends is still the tonic I need. I think Friends is the new I Love Lucy. My niece, in her mid-20s, has seen every episode of Friends and can quote dialog. Back in the olden days, when I still went to the health club, I regularly saw a Gen Xer carry a gym bag emblazoned with the photo at the top of this post.
I mentioned this to my Cousin Rose. For her, it's MASH. First, when she was going through her very painful divorce, and then, when she had a benign breast lump removed, she turned to the gang from the 4077th.
*This is why I never could bear a Seinfeld marathon. I am not amused by people who don't seem to like one another. I don't care how clever the dialog is. Same with The Office. I just don't enjoy these characters.