What It Really Means to Be a Friend

And how I learned about that in a Pennsylvania cornfield

Mitch Ditkoff


Photo by Jesse Gardner on Unsplash

When I was 21, a Senior in college, I had my first psychedelic experience. My “guide” for the day was my good friend, George, a philosophy major deeply immersed in the study of Nietzche and alternate realities.

Knowing this was my “first time,” George kindly volunteered to look out for me that memorable day — to be there for me if I needed any help or support. Plus, he had a car and some time, so could drive me to a cornfield ten miles outside of town where I would be free from the prying eyes of others to have whatever experiences were in store for me.

The day, as you might imagine, was very off-the-grid, me having several mind-blowing realizations about the nature of life, God, the universe, gnats, and what I had previously come to know as my “self”.

Anyway, towards the end of the day, I had a moment that taught me the true meaning of friendship and how important it actually was to have a friend.

As the sun went down and I realized it was the perfect time to exit that cosmic corn field, I began walking back to the car, the place where George was patiently waiting for me. As I made my way, I found myself, progressively, as if I was following some kind of universal algorithm, walking slower and slower until I came to a complete stop. That was it. I just stopped. There was no way, in the world, I could take another step. I just stood there, motionless, inert, frozen.

Somehow, I had gotten it into my head that the speed of my walking was irreversibly connected to the size of the cornstalks and since the cornstalks were getting smaller and smaller towards the edge of the field, so did the length of the steps I was taking until I stopped walking altogether. I just stood there, completely unable to proceed, existentially certain that whatever it was that had stopped my forward movement was an indisputable message from the beyond to stop moving.

I was stuck.

It was precisely at this moment that George, patiently waiting by his car beyond the edge of the cornfield, called out to me.



Mitch Ditkoff

Co-Founder of Idea Champions, Face The Music & Sage Catalysts. Author of Storytelling for the Revolution, Storytelling at Work, Unspoken Word and Free the Genie