Tommy Woodard: I spent my whole life grilling food, never smoking food. It was too much work, right? Until I finally got a smoker, and I went, “Oh, my goodness. I’ve been missing out.” And it takes a lot more work-
End of Preview
John Fuller: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
Tommy: … to smoke something than it does to grill it. But, like, it’s the same thing with friendship. You can spend your whole life doing the easy thing, and, but, but if you’ll take the chance, you’ll realize there’s something much greater out there for you.
John: That’s Tommy Woodard, and he’s joining us today along with his buddy and comedy partner, Eddie James, uh, here on Focus on the Family. And, your host is Focus president and author, Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller.
Jim Daly: John, you know, there’s a sign on my desk, it says, “Laugh.” You’ve seen it many times.
John: I have.
Jim: And I love it. And I think humor is such an important ingredient in the tools that God gives us to kind of get through life, and to enjoy life, and to have fun. If you don’t have a sense of humor, you might wanna just turn it off right now.
John: Yeah. Just be done with it.
Jim: (laughs) ‘Cause we are gonna have fun today, and I think humor comes directly from the heart of God.
Jim: I think Jesus demonstrated humor in a number of ways. In fact, studies show it can help your immune system, it can help you sleep better, it can help your memory, and not just the physical attributes. It helps you spiritually, it helps you emotionally, and I’m excited to introduce our listeners and viewers to two great guests today.
John: Yeah. We’ve got, as I said, the Skit Guys and, uh, they’re husbands, fathers, and founders of the comedic duo. They’ve been lifelong friends, and they’ve written a book called Smells Like Bacon: The
Jim: Perfect title. (laughs)
John: (laughs) The Skit Guys’ Guide to Lifelong Friendships. And, uh, we’ll encourage you stop by our website to check out the details. We’re at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.
Jim: Eddie and Tommy, welcome to Focus.
Eddie James: Thank you so much.
Tommy: Yeah, thanks for having us.
Jim: Looking forward to it. Now, uh, it’s interesting, as I was reading through the book and the prep that the team put together-
Jim: … uh, your guys’ relationship started from a funny origin.
Jim: I mean, one of you stole the other one’s girlfriend.
Eddie: Yes, yes.
Tommy: Yeah, yeah.
Jim: That usually doesn’t mean a lifetime relationship between two guys. (laughs)
Tommy: Yeah. Yeah.
Jim: So, what happened?
Tommy: Uh, he was dating a cute girl and-
Tommy: … uh, I was interested.
Jim: (laughs) So how did-
Eddie: (laughs) And he was a year older, you know?
Jim: Okay, so he had facial hair?
Jim: You made up for that, didn’t you?
Eddie: I made up for it.
Jim: Yeah. (laughs)
Eddie: Lost it up top, got it right there, yeah.
Jim: Well, that’s kind of fun, I mean, right there, but, I mean, how, seriously, how did that spawn into a relationship between the two of you? How did you turn that tide? And, Eddie, you must have a lot of patience.
Eddie: Uh, well, you know, yes. Um, I, I, I can remember even I the ninth grade hallway, when Jill said to me, “Um, I think I like somebody else,” and I literally said, no exaggeration, I said, “Well, there’s nothing I can do if you don’t like me anymore, but please tell me it’s not that sophomore in the musical that you’re in, that Tommy guy, that Tommy Woodard.” That’s exactly what I said, and-
Eddie: She says, “It is.” (laughs) And, uh, and, and I don’t know.
Eddie: Somewhere in that year, I mean-
Tommy: Yeah, she, listen. Jill’s really smart, right?
Jim: (laughs) Of course.
Eddie: She loved Jesus.
Tommy: I mean, she, she, yeah, she loved Jesus-
Tommy: … and, like, after about two weeks of dating me, she was gone, right? (laughs)
Eddie: Oh, no. (laughs)
Jim: So, it didn’t last?
Tommy: Yeah, it didn’t last.
Tommy: And then, uh, you-
Eddie: Then, I got to go, “Aha.”
Tommy: Right, yeah.
Tommy: And then, you know, I think misery loves company. We were two jilted guys, and-
Tommy: … you know, so-
Eddie: We’re just, yeah.
Tommy: … became [inaudible]-
Jim: So, Jill brought you together?
Eddie: We were, yeah. Jill, Jill-
Jim: All right.
Eddie: … Jill did.
Jim: Well, that’s good.
Jim: Ah, do you stay in touch with Jill, either one of you?
Eddie: Um, she was…
Jim: No. The answer’s no. Okay. (laughs)
Eddie: I saw her at our 30-year reunion, but no.
Eddie: Other than that, yeah.
Jim: So, in the book, you talk about these four circles of friendship. Who wants to describe ’em?
Eddie: We would call them the concentric circles. You know, the first is, “Hey, you want to go have coffee?” You want to, you just want to go do something. I, uh-
Jim: The coffee friend.
Eddie: The coffee friend. It, it, I think it’s very hard for, uh, you know, especially in today’s world, just guys just trying to go, you know, do something, you know? And so, it’s at least a, a break a barrier down to, “Hey, y- you want to go do this? You want to go have coffee?” You know, and just, you know, talk, or just go do something that just seems, you know, what we both have in common to do type thing.
Jim: But pretty light touch is the point?
Eddie: Exactly, exactly.
Tommy: Yeah. There’s no pressure when you’re having coffee with someone, you know? You don’t, you don’t have to, and if it doesn’t work out, you don’t go get coffee with them again, you know?
Tommy: It’s not complicated.
Eddie: It’s like a ghosting. (laughs)
Tommy: Yes, yes-
Eddie: A simple ghosting.
Tommy: Just don’t text them back.
Eddie: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Tommy: Yeah. You’ll see ’em at church.
Eddie: We need to. Yeah, we, we do need to get some … Yeah, that was good, that was good, that was good, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, but then, yeah, you’re, you’re, yeah.
Tommy: But, at that coffee or whatever it may be, that’s when, as you’re talking, all of a sudden, you figure out, oh, do we have more to talk about? Is there, is there something here or not, you know?
Jim: Okay, so, that’s the, the hangout or the …
Eddie: Yeah, the hangout, yeah.
Jim: Okay. What about the acquaintance?
Eddie: That is when it’s like, there’s some good koinonia, as we, as we call it in the Christian circles. There’s some good koinonia here, you know?
Eddie: It’s like, okay, thi- this could become something. And, and, I know, like, for, for couples, that usually pairs them off a little bit, too, like, our wives get together, you know? I mean, they’re doing well. Um, we seem to be hanging out well. Like, I like this guy’s company.
Eddie: We’re having a good time. So, y- you start with the acquaintance, and then you’re laughing, you’re having a good time, and it kind of builds from there.
Tommy: Yeah. That’s where it, you know, at the coffee, if you’re talking about stuff, and, “Hey, I like this, you like this. Hey, you want to go to the game together?”
Tommy: “You know, I got an extra ticket.” You know? That kind of turns into the acquaintance.
Tommy: And you’re looking for kind of those opportunities to hang out.
Jim: Man, I, have you given it that much thought, John? (laughs)
John: Well … (laughs)
Jim: I think that may be one of the problems here is that-
Jim: You know? I don’t think guys think about this that much.
Jim: And, oftentimes, people will say that men are kind of loners.
Eddie: Yeah, yeah.
Jim: We like to do things on our own. We don’t-
Jim: … necessarily gravitate towards group.
Jim: Do you gu- uh, is that true? Do you think that?
Tommy: Oh, I think it takes work. Yeah.
Jim: So, you got to think about it, is the point.
Tommy: I mean, I think, yeah. I mean, I think you have to, but it’s, a- anything that is worthwhile takes work, you know?
Tommy: And so, you’ve got to put some thought to it. Eddie always quotes, I don’t know who it is, about quiet desperation is the quote?
Eddie: Uh, I think it’s Walt Whitman, but, you know, most men-
Tommy: Ooh, that sounds good, even if it’s not.
Eddie: (laughs) Uh, even if it’s not.
Eddie: Most men lead lives of quiet desperation, and I, and I think that’s, I think there’s a lot of truth to that, you know? Um, the women will talk. The women will try, you know. The, there’s a bonding there. There’s, but we can just sit back and look at our ph- And now we have phones. We can just sit back, and kind of look, and at our phones, and we could maybe make a little bit of small talk, but for whatever reason it is, that quiet desperation just kind of sits in there, and we’d rather just sit with that than really try to exert ourselves-
Eddie: … and just g- give a little bit.
Jim: It’s so true. I mean, Jean and I, uh, Jean’s, you know, she’s got three or four Bible studies going every week.
Jim: And, she’s got girlfriend coffee time, and she’s going, “I’m so busy.” I’m like, “Well, just say no.”
Jim: I mean, I’m the practical guy, right?
Jim: Just stop doing it.
Tommy: Yeah, right, right.
Jim: “I can’t do that. These are my friends.”
Jim: I don’t even register that. What do you mean? (laughs)
Tommy: Right, yeah.
Tommy: Well, and there’s a, there’s a bit, I think we wouldn’t admit it, there’s a bit of social anxiety. Li- like, I’m, I’m afraid of how it’s going to go. It’s not going to work out, and it’s going to take some work, but the truth of the matter is, if you’ll take that chance, I think 9 times out of 10 you leave going, that was great.
Jim: Okay, so, we got acquaintance circle, hangout circle. What are the other two?
Tommy: Circle of honor. Tho- those would be the people that you’d go, I want to do life with these people. When you see them, you, you just love ’em. You want to honor their life. You want, you want to be a part of their world, their kids’ world. Um, y- you go to their kids’ games. I mean, there is an honoring that happens of I will go out of my way to be a part of their world just as they’re being a part of my world. With my, with my teenagers, um, like, I love watching their friendships, and, and I love just kind of watching to go, is this a seesaw friendship? Because sometimes, uh, they can meet somebody, and it’s not a seesaw friendship. It doesn’t go back and forth, back and forth. Somebody just sits, and they’re, like, up in the air, going, “Are you ever going to give me a bounce?” You know?
Tommy: And then, those friendships don’t last, right? But, when you have honor friendships, there’s a good seesaw of friendship going back and forth. It’s reciprocated in such a way to go; we love doing life together. And I know that’s a cliché word, doing life together, but there really is something beautiful when you, when you see that in action.
Jim: And, that sounds pretty tight, that circle of honor, but yet, you go to the garden friendship.
Tommy: Yeah. So, so, there is, like, in that circle of honor, like, that’s who you would say, “Hey, we’re out of town this weekend. Do you mind keeping an eye on the house?”
Tommy: Like, I trust them that much, but-
Jim: Do you give ’em a key?
Tommy: Yeah. Yeah.
Jim: Okay, good.
Tommy: I think so, yeah. “Hey, would you watch the dogs?” You know?
Jim: Feed the dogs.
Tommy: Don’t worry about the cat, but yeah, watch the dogs. Yeah
Jim: (laughs) The cat lovers do not respond to this.
Eddie: (laughs) [inaudible] Bible.
Tommy: Yeah, right? Exactly.
John: Not a, not a problem.
Jim: Okay, but then, the, the garden friendships. That’s another level.
Tommy: And, and that is going to be, you’re not going to have very many of those.
Jim: Yeah, and w- define what that looks like.
Tommy: And that, that’s a, that, it, it’s David and Jonathan. It’s that depth. It’s, I love you more than I love my soul, you know? I, I, I’m there for you, no matter what, you know? There are limits to that circle of honor, you know. You, you’re, you may not call that circle of honor at 2:00 AM and go, “Hey, I got to talk.” It’s the garden friend you’re going to call.
Eddie: Yeah, it’s Jesus ushering Peter, James, John further into the garden. You know, come over here, even, even though they fell asleep, and, you know, uh, but there was an ushering of, of three other people to come closer to my pain.
Jim: So, it’s closest of the close.
Eddie: It’s, yup. It’s the, and it’s the funnel. Everything that we just described, I mean, that’s a funnel, and it does get smaller, you know?
Eddie: It, it does get smaller when you go, “I love you so much that I want that if there is pain, if there is hurt, if there is habits, if there’s hang ups in my life, I want to usher you into my garden of pain to just be there. Pray with me. Help me through this.” Whatever those things are.
Jim: You describe in the book the, uh, example of the, the paralyzed man in the, in the New Testament. Uh, how does that fit to friendship, and what happened?
Tommy: Oh, because it’s one of the, I mean, it’s a beautiful thing. Uh, like, here’s these guys, right? And, and, you know, the, the guy, we don’t know his name. We call him Matt, because he’s on a mat, but, so, Matt can’t-
Tommy: … he can’t get anywhere, and his buddies take him to Jesus, right? Of all the things we can do, the best thing we do is take our friends to Jesus, and when they can’t get in, you know?
Eddie: Which is so like church.
Tommy: Oh, it’s like church.
Jim: Yeah, this is my pew. You can’t sit here.
Eddie: Yeah. “Hi, I can’t get,” yeah, yeah, yeah. (laughs) No, no one’s making room for this guy.
Tommy: No, you should have got here earlier.
Tommy: You know, and these guys, there’s, they don’t take no for an answer. They, they go to whatever extreme it takes, and then, what I love, and this is-
Eddie: And there’s always that one guy.
Tommy: Oh, there’s always that one guy, you know?
Eddie: Always that one, yeah, like, “Oh, well, we can’t get in.”
Tommy: Yeah. Like, I, I got an idea.
Tommy: Let’s go to the roof. I mean, you know they didn’t think this through, ri- right?
Tommy: And the only-
Eddie: (laughs) They were just friends that wanted to get him to Jesus.
Jim: (laughs) It was a bunch of guys.
Eddie: Yeah, it was.
Jim: It wasn’t women. (laughs)
Tommy: Yes. I think they got on the roof, and everyone w- went, “What do we do now?” “I don’t know. I just thought this would be better,” you know?
Eddie: (laughs) That guy [inaudible]-
Tommy: And he goes, “I got an idea.”
Eddie: And so, down below, you know it was, you know, Jesus is talking, and, and, and sharing, and all of a sudden, you, you know there’s just little dirt pebbles that are just fall- falling down.
Eddie: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Tommy: Yeah. (laughs) Yeah, and they’re like, man, bad squirrels, you know?
Eddie: Yeah. (laughs)
Tommy: Something’s going on, but like, they lower him down, and this is what’s beautiful, is the scripture says, “Seeing their faith,” right? Not, not seeing his faith, seeing their faith, Jesus says, “Your sins are forgiven,” you know? And so, this intimate friendship, like, we don’t understand the effect that our faith has on our closest of friends, you know?
Jim: Yeah. That is really cool to think of it that way, and again, I think for us men, we got to break out of that loner mentality.
Eddie: It’s so hard.
Jim: You’re kind of convicting me, here.
Jim: Um, modern day situations. Why does social media make it so difficult for us to, to have deeper friendships? I mean, I think I know the answer here, but you wrote the book.
Tommy: I think we compare a lot. I, I mean, I think, I, I think men and women both, we, we look at pictures, and we can get in just this just stupor of, of paralyzed fear, and almost compare and contrast, to go, oh my goodness, they have it better than us, or they would never want to be my friend. And, and we extrapolate these stories of what one picture looks like, and we will create a whole story for it. And, I think it immobilizes us, and, and just paralyzes us in such a ways to go, eh, they, they’d never be my friend, or, that looks so fake, or I don’t know about them. We construct our own stories, our own thoughts, our own ways on these things.
Jim: Yeah. I, I was just going to say, I hadn’t thought about this, but, you know, I think of it typically for women, but men have a real well of inadequacy.
Tommy: Oh, there’s no doubt about that.
Jim: So, when, I hadn’t thought about it like that-
Jim: … but when we are comparing ourselves-
Jim: … we’re inadequate. We’re not good husbands. We’re not good. Our-
Eddie: When yes.
Jim: … our bodies don’t, you know?
Eddie: When, when you see a picture of a family on the beach and everything, and they look so happy, and you’re like, “I didn’t take my family to the beach,” and, and look at that dad, and-
Jim: Yeah, that’s interesting.
Eddie: Look at that dad throwing his kid up in the air like that, and how the-
John: You don’t know if he caught him.
Eddie: … photographer … Yeah, you don’t-
Eddie: You don’t know if he caught him. You don’t know if he fell there, but, but we, we create so many stories in our heads, and we are. Men, men, we’re fixers. We’re doers. We want, we want to make great, um, and then, we, we look at these things. We don’t have the kind of money they have. We don’t, we, we can’t do what they … Look at their house, you know? And so, I, I think a lot of that plays-
Jim: Yeah, we do that.
Eddie: … a part, yeah.
Jim: We do do that.
Tommy: Yeah. I, I think there’s comparing. I think there’s also just the convenience. I mean, social media’s fast-food friendship, right?
Tommy: I mean, and that’s what we do. Our diet of fast food, if you don’t stop and eat a good steak, you don’t know what good food is, right? And, you’re going, man, we love Jack in the Box. That’s the best, you know.
Jim: In-N-Out Burger. Stick with it.
Tommy: In-N-Out. Well, it’s really good.
Tommy: I’m going with the not good food, right? Yeah.
Jim: Oh, good, good.
Tommy: You know? My favorite tacos are from Jack in the Box. You’re like, “Then, you’ve never been to a real Mexican restaurant,” right?
Tommy: I mean, and that’s the thing. Social media is this counterfeit, uh, convenient friendship, you know? And you’re just missing out.
Jim: Yeah, it’s so true. You describe it, uh, an illustration in your book that caught my attention about going to the movies together, (laughs) and this is really funny.
Jim: What happened?
Eddie: We, uh, we, we, we, we love movies. We, we’ve always loved movies. Um, and I, I don’t know what year it was, um, but we-
Eddie: … we, we were, we watch e- we watched everything in high school.
Eddie: You know?
Tommy: I mean, you know? I mean, that’s when PG-13s came out and everything, so-
Tommy: But we went and saw Beaches, and, with Bette Midler.
Jim: I have never seen it.
Eddie: And, uh-
Tommy: That’s because it was not a movie made for men.
John: Is it a chick flick?
Eddie: It, I mean, yeah.
Tommy: Yes, yeah.
Eddie: They didn’t even call ’em chick flicks back then.
Tommy: No, back then it wasn’t, yeah.
Eddie: Right, right.
Eddie: But but I think it was nominated for some Academy Awards, or at least the song was or something, you know?
Tommy: Oh, yeah, yeah.
Jim: Okay, so, Beaches, and you decide, hey, let’s go. Sounds like fun.
Eddie: Let’s go see, and it was about friendships, you know?
Eddie: So, (laughs) we watched this movie. We watched-
Tommy: It was, it was the two of us, maybe a- an elderly couple, and maybe three women in the theater.
Eddie: (laughs) And so, we watched Beaches, and, and, spoiler alert, you know, one of the best friend dies, right? And so, um, (laughs) and so, but you and I, I mean, we’re buddies, and we’re crying. Like, we were-
Tommy: Oh, we were crying.
Eddie: We were crying at Beaches.
Tommy: We were ugly crying.
Eddie: We are crying at Beaches.
Jim: I love it.
Tommy: Ugly crying. We’re sitting next to, and one of us looks over at the other, a- as the credits are rolling, right?
Eddie: As the lights go up.
Tommy: And go, “Should, should we walk out that exit door?”
Eddie: Let’s go out the back exit so nobody sees us.
Tommy: “[inaudible] nobody sees us.”
Eddie: But it was one of those defining moments in friendship, though, because he’s the guy that invited me to church. September 17th, 1987, he invited me to church. He said there was pizza. I came for cheeses, I got Jesus, and-
Eddie: … and it, uh, it changed my life. And so, you know, to then watch a movie about best friends, and, and coming from the background of a home life that I came back from, uh, I mean, we, we got in your truck, and it was like, it was this moment of, like, you’re my best friend. You’re my best friend, and we’re, we’re saying these things as dudes, going, “I love you. You’re my best friend,” and, and when, when that just is infused with Jesus, it’s a beautiful thing.
Tommy: Yeah, it is.
Eddie: I will never forget. I will never forget that night.
Eddie: It was, like, to be that vulnerable, and to go, “You are my best friend, and I love you, and I’m so thankful that you’re in my life-”
Eddie: … that was a huge moment.
Jim: You have cried in front of your wife at a movie, right? In front of your wives?
Eddie: (laughs) I cry.
Tommy: I cry regularly, yeah.
Jim: Okay, good.
Eddie: My wife doesn’t cry, but I cry.
Jim: (laughs) That’s good.
Tommy: Yeah, and we- and we’re not saying that if you want a great friendship, you have to watch Beaches.
Eddie: (laughs) No, not at all.
Tommy: That’s, yeah, no, no.
John: Let’s hope not.
Eddie: No, no. (laughs)
Tommy: No, gosh, no. (laughs)
John: Okay. Well, Eddie James and Tommy Woodard are our guests today on Focus on the Family with Jim Daly, and, uh, we’re going to encourage you to get a copy of their book, Smells Like Bacon: The Skit Guys’ Guide to Lifelong Friendships. Stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast to get your copy, or give us a call, 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY.
Jim: You know, I could so relate to this next question, uh, because my son, Trent, he kind of struggled a little bit in hugging when he was little, so I had to kind of teach him how to hug.
Tommy: (laughs) Yeah.
Jim: You guys had a similar conversation observing each other.
Jim: I don’t know which one of you was the non-hugger, but what, what was going on?
Tommy: I’m the hugger. I’m the hugger. (laughs)
Eddie: I was the non-hugger.
Tommy: Yeah. Yeah, I mean, that, and, gosh, this was in college?
Eddie: Freshman year, yeah.
Tommy: Yeah, yeah, this was in college, you know?
Jim: Trent is now a great hugger, just to-
Tommy: Okay. (laughs)
Jim: … set the record straight.
Tommy: He did, he did make it?
Jim: He made it.
Tommy: He [inaudible]
Jim: He made it over the [inaudible]
Eddie: (singing) Looks like he made it.
Jim: But yeah.
Tommy: Yeah, I mean, I come from a-
Jim: Did Eddie make it?
Tommy: He did.
Jim: Okay, good, Eddie.
Tommy: Yeah, he’s a great hugger. Like, I come from a family of huggers, you know? I mean, that’s what you do, you know? I mean, it’s, “Hey, it was a great time. Good to see you. Let’s hug.” You know? We hug when we see each other, we hug when we leave, you know? That’s the way it works. COVID was rough on us, because you can’t hug, you know?
Tommy: But we’re, we were somewhere. Gosh, was it the side of the Y?
Eddie: The YMCA, yeah. We were working out.
Tommy: Yeah, we had just worked out, right?
Eddie: Yeah, yeah.
Tommy: Yeah, and-
Eddie: We were getting ready to go to California, I think-
Eddie: … to be interns, so it-
Tommy: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Eddie: It felt like we had to muscle up a little bit. (laughs)
Tommy: Yeah. (laughs)
Tommy: Beach body going…
Jim: Another guy thing.
Tommy: Yes, exactly, and I think I’d given you a hug, and then I was like, what was it? Something. We were sitting in the car, right, in my truck.
Eddie: Yeah, we were sitting, yeah, yeah.
Tommy: And then, and I was like, something’s bothering me, and you, you identified it.
Eddie: Yeah, and I, I came from a very sarcastic home, not, not a, not a touchy-feely home, and I’m like, what is wrong with you?
Eddie: What is? And, and, like, we’re guys, so it was like, well, I don’t know how to say it. I don’t know how to say it, and I’m like, “Just say it. Will you just say it?”
Tommy: And then, here I am, college-aged guy, saying to my buddy, “You don’t hug me back.” (laughs)
Eddie: Why don’t you hug? Why don’t you hug me?
Tommy: It’s not even, yeah, it doesn’t even come out of your mouth right, you know?
Eddie: And I’m like, what? What, what, what? You, I hug you. I hug you. No, you don’t.
Tommy: You don’t.
Eddie: You don’t. (laughs)
Tommy: He was like a goldfish. Yeah. He was just., you know? I mean, like hugging a big deal of jello. Yeah.
Tommy: You know, and, but, so, what was happening in that moment, we didn’t realize it at all, was I was voicing a felt need, you know? I mean, I, I had a felt need that I, I needed to know that you care about me, and, and that you’ll give me a hug back, you know?
Eddie: And when you think about friendships, what, what’s so amazing, you know, if you are willing to learn through a friendship, I, I think back to that moment, too, going, yeah. I was pretty closed off. I was pretty defensive. I had walls. I could use humor to escape any intimacy. I could use humor to not, to never really give of myself, but make everyone like me.
Eddie: Um, I can people please my way through this. I can, you know, do a little song and dance, and make people laugh, but I don’t ever have to give of myself, and be to confronted that by, from a buddy, um, you know, still a teenager, to go, I guess I don’t hug. I guess I am afraid of what that could look like.
Jim: Huh. That’s an early a- an early age to start realizing those things.
Eddie: … and I’m so thankful. Yeah.
Jim: Let me ask you, uh, you mention in the book how important conflict is in a relationship. So, most people, and some guys would be conflict averse, right?
Jim: I- it’s good to avoid. Tommy, good for you, raising your hand.
Tommy: Hm, I am. I am conflict averse. (laughs)
Eddie: We, we flipped it.
Eddie: We flipped it.
Jim: Okay, so, you didn’t hug, but he didn’t like conflict?
Jim: So, why’s, why is conflict a positive ingredient in a relationship, and ho- how do you make it positive?
Eddie: Uh, I mean, we’ve been friends for over 30-
Eddie: … 30 years, and I, we have in our book, it’s a chapter in our book, and, and it’s something that we say-
Eddie: … um, to each other. Uh, it’s called, uh, going through the tunnel of chaos. Um, no one likes to go through the tunnel of chaos. What, the tunnel of love is a beautiful swan, right?
Eddie: You sit in the swan. The tunnel of chaos is a-
Tommy: Oh, it’s a goose. Yeah, it’s a, it’s an ugly goose-
Eddie: Ugly goose.
Tommy: … with splinters on the seat. I mean, it’s a horrible-
Tommy: … ride you don’t want to get on. Uh, I, I avoid it at all costs. Ed’s really great at confrontation, and, and one of the things that helps us is being able to say, “Hey, uh, we need to go through the tunnel of chaos together,” you know? Because then you-
Jim: (laughs) Huh. Do you start the conversation that way?
Jim: Say, “He- here’s our, we have an issue.”
Eddie: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Tommy: Because you know what’s coming.
Tommy: You know, too many times, we try to ease into confrontation and-
Eddie: Or you, or you passively aggressively say something-
Eddie: … or you kind of me- mealy toast your way through it.
Eddie: But you’re not saying it.
Tommy: Yeah, and so, when you go, “Hey, I need to go through the tunnel of chaos with you,” you both might be like, ugh. Okay, let’s do it, you know.
Eddie: Yeah. I mean-
Jim: Tommy, in fact, an illustration you sa- mentioned in the book is-
Jim: … uh, a time, a period of time where you were struggling with drinking, I think it was.
Tommy: Oh, yeah, yeah.
Jim: And Eddie kind of came to your rescue, so that’s a great, if you don’t mind sharing it, that’s a great illustration-
Jim: … of how a good friend will help.
Tommy: Yeah. I grew up Baptist, and you didn’t drink, you know? I mean, and, and I was in my 30s before I started, you know?
Tommy: And i- it was, uh, it was a very quick, but all of a sudden, uh-oh, you know? I’m in trouble here, you know. And, my buddy, uh, would, would be the guy, like, once I had this moment of, where, where the Lord really came in, was like, “You got to, you got to stop this,” you know? Uh, it wa- I went straight to him, and said, “Hey, I, we need to talk about this, because I can’t do this, you know? I need-”
Jim: That’s where those friendships are so critical.
Tommy: It’s exactly right.
Tommy: I picked up the phone the morning, like-
Eddie: That’s the garden friend.
Tommy: I, I drove-
Eddie: That’s the garden friend.
Tommy: I drove home from the airport drunk, and I went to bed. I woke up the next morning, and I promise you what was in my head was, let the morning bring me joy of your unfailing love, and God just broke me with that.
Tommy: And, I went to my wife, and I said, “I’ve been dishonest with you about this, because I was hiding it,” and then the next thing I did was I picked up my phone, and I called Eddie, and I said, “Hey. I got a problem. I don’t ever get to do this again.” And there’s much more to my story, you know?
Tommy: I didn’t, it doesn’t just stop right there. If you have, uh, uh, a struggle with addiction of any kind, you know, it’s not a one prayer and you’re done, you know?
Tommy: There’s more to the process, but he’s the guy that I went to immediately and said, “I, I need that,” you know? And, he’s been there, you know?
Jim: Wow, it’s so good, and, you know, Focus is here for people that are struggling with any type of addiction-
Jim: … and we got counselors, so, uh, we’ll give details at the end.
John: Phone call away. Yeah.
Jim: Yeah, always. Moving from that seriousness to bacon-
John: (laughs) Yeah.
Tommy: (laughs) Another addiction.
Jim: … and your friendship addiction to bacon, how did bacon weave into your relationship?
Tommy: My, (laughs) my buddy moved in. My wife and I lived in a parsonage, right?
Tommy: Which is-
Eddie: You were a youth pastor.
Tommy: I was a youth pastor.
Tommy: So, it’s the parsonage the pastor didn’t want, if that lets you know what it was like.
Jim: Okay, so it’s desperate.
Tommy: Yes. We had a, an incontinent cat, and so, it smelled like old pastor and cat urine. That’s what this house smelled like.
Eddie: (laughs) It really did. It really did.
Tommy: It really did.
Jim: All right, so, Ed, why in the world did you go, say, “Hey …”
Tommy: Right? Why would you move there?
Eddie: I moved from California back, and I, and I needed a place to stay, and I didn’t know what to do, and, and I was a little burned out.
Eddie: I was, I, I worked, you know, from 18 years old to probably 25, at that point. I was at a big church, and I was, I was tired. I didn’t know what was next. And so, hey, and there was the mother-in-law room at the back of the parsonage.
John: The evangelist room.
Eddie: The evangelist room. (laughs)
Tommy: In the parsonage, it’s called an evangelist room, yes.
Eddie: Okay, I was in the back, behind the garage, in this little evangelist room, and that’s where I stayed. Um, I was also on the Atkins Diet. In the mid-’90s, uh, Dr. Atkins came out with a thing of don’t do any carbs-
Tommy: No carbs.
Eddie: … and just eat protein.
Eddie: And so, God bless Tommy and Angie, um, Angie would go to work … (laughs)
Eddie: … and you would go across the street to the church-
Eddie: … and I would make bacon.
Tommy: Oh, he, like a whole slab every morning-
Eddie: Lots of bacon.
Tommy: … for breakfast. Yeah.
Eddie: What you need to know is, I was losing weight.
Tommy: It was. It worked for him.
Eddie: Bacon was making me lose weight. (laughs)
John: And the smell had to be better than the cat.
Eddie: Oh, well, and this …
Jim: It kind of covered it, really.
John: Right? (laughs)
Eddie: It kind of covered, and, but it just permeated in the walls.
Tommy: It, it permeated everything.
Eddie: Yeah, bacon was all in this house-
Eddie: … with all the other smells, and so, your dear wife-
Tommy: Sweet wife.
Eddie: … sweet wife was like, “Tommy, uh, help me understand. Why does our house smell like bacon?”
Tommy: Yeah, and all I could say is, “That’s the smell of friendship.” (laughs)
Tommy: I mean, what am I going to say, you know?
Tommy: That’s the smell of friendship, and so… so, I mean, the whole title of the book, Smells Like Bacon is, that’s what friendship smells like to us, you know?
Jim: No kidding. There’s a whole thing there. We’re right at the end, but for people to get the rest of the story, get the book-
Jim: … because you do talk about how friendship and marriage needs to work harmoniously, and sometimes it doesn’t.
Tommy: Yes. Uh, I will say this. A 30-year friendship, it’s hard to find, uh, men or women who have 30-year friendships.
Tommy: Like, the only thing you can compare it to is a marriage that lasts that long. And so, the, the secret behind this book is, yeah, it’s a great book for guys. It’s a great marriage book. Like, if you-
Jim: Yeah, no, that’s good.
Tommy: If you practice these things in your marriage, it’s fantastic.
Jim: You know, and again, I mentioned we’re at the end, so I gotta ask this question for that guy who feels like that lone wolf. I mean, what are some ways they can break that habit, and, and find that coffee friend, and then move that to something, you know, deeper and trust? I think a lot of guys lose hope and, and trust in other men, because, you know, they don’t find that relationship that works for them. So, speak to that guy.
Eddie: I would encourage you to, uh, to say yes, just to say yes to the opportunities. Um, I, I don’t know if we’re supposed to, uh, do everything alone, um, but I, that may sound so simple, but to just say yes to an opportunity of friendship, whether it’s at church, and you see somebody, and you’re like, maybe this could work. I know it feels awkward. I know we’re not in high school anymore, but to just go, uh, you know, even if you’re in a small group, and there’s just someone you feel like you connect with, to just, “Hey, you want to go get some coffee?” I, you know. Um, I know it’s an awkward thing, because women can go, “Let’s go have coffee,” and then it just works, right? But for a guy to say it to another guy, “Hey, you want to …” You, you want, you want to go have co- coffee? Ma- If you don’t, it’s cool. (laughs) You know what I mean?
Jim: It feels a little awkward.
Eddie: It feels a little awkward. (laughs)
Tommy: If you say it like that, you, nobody’s going to coffee with you.
Jim: I mean, maybe let’s go build a go kart.
Tommy: Right, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Jim: That sounds a little better. Let’s work on my car.
Eddie: You, you, you golf? You, you know?
Jim: Yeah. Okay, now we’re talking.
Eddie: But whatever those things are, find those opportunities to just say yes, because you, you may be in the midst of a, a wonderful, beautiful, uh, friendship that happens.
Jim: Man, this has been so good, and I hope people, men, particularly, but their wives and girlfriends, as well-
Jim: … are kind of sparked here to, uh, look into this in a deeper way. Smells Like Bacon: The Skit Guys’ Guide to Lifelong Friendships, uh, you can pick that up right here at Focus on the Family, help us do ministry. If you can, uh, make a gift of any amount, we’ll send it as our way of saying thank you. If you can make that monthly, that’s great, because it helps us do ministry here. We’re ministry-based-
Jim: … and supporter-based, so it all works, and you get a great resource to strengthen your relationships in your sphere of influence. I- it’s been great. Thanks for being with us.
Tommy: Oh, this is super fun. Thank you, guys.
Eddie: Thank you so much.
John: Yeah and follow up by getting a copy of Smells Like Bacon: The Skit Guys’ Guide to Lifelong Friendships, written by Eddie James and Tommy Woodard. Our number here is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY, or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Next time on Focus on the Family, Chrystal Evans Hurst will encourage you to see life a bit differently.
Chrystal Evans Hurst: Maybe instead of lamenting your mess, you just need to own your mess, and say, “God knows what he’s doing.”
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John: On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller inviting you back, as we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ.