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Friday, January 06, 2012

Less of an Ass

In New York City, kind words stand out, as do gentle souls, genteel manners, and thoughtfulness. Some people exude one or more such qualities, and for a New Yorker, these people are show stoppers. Often this is a cultural trait, whether owing to another region of the United States or perhaps another country. This was what made meeting someone like Su Jung from Korea, featured in my story Friends (see Part 1 and Part 2), or Jamie Adkins in Kind Words, totally disarming. The impact was large enough to inspire an entire story based largely around each of their extraordinary characters.

On New Year's Eve, I attended a large party given by close friends who have been involved in a number of other parties, including the one featured in Myra's Isle. As time passed and I ruminated on the midnight hour, I played with the idea of preparing a toast for our collective New Year's Eve group. It occurred to me that it might be fun to ask people what their New Year's resolutions might be, write them down, and read them aloud at midnight, perhaps even singling one out as my favorite. I squared away my idea with our party host and was given immediate approval.

I made the rounds, chatting and collecting resolutions from those who had made them. My list grew, and I looked at how to best present them and perhaps choose a "winner." Until I spoke to Mark Mahoney. His resolution was essentially four words, and after hearing them, I was so taken that I crumpled my list and decided that I would only present Mark's resolution. They were not the words I expected from a New Yorker, and I knew that they would be met with tremendous approval, which they were.

Mark Mahoney is one of those gentle souls, quiet and unassuming, always with a smile. He is a good guitarist; I video recorded his version of the classic blues song Key to the Highway. I love his casual, easy style. Mark's father is also a musician, a pianist who can be found Sunday evenings at the Limerick House on West 23rd Street.

A few minutes before midnight, I called together our revelers in preparation for a toast. Behind me on a large TV was Times Square with the teaming masses ready for the iconic ball drop. I began with a brief story about renowned science fiction writer Isaac Asimov, whom I had seen interviewed on television many years ago. He was asked what he would like his epitaph to read. I recall my mind racing to guess what a man of his stature as a writer might answer. I was quite stunned by his answer: that he would like to be remembered as a "really nice guy."

When I asked Mark Mahoney for his New Year's resolution, I was reminded of the Asimov interview and how Mark's response was essentially a variant on Asimov's, just a little more self-deprecating. I was a very happy messenger as I heard everyone heartily applaud Mark's resolution for 2012: to be a little "Less of an Ass"  :)

Related Posts: Jungle Lovers, Devil Ups the Ante, New Year's Day


Karen said...

Priceless Brian. I'll still be smiling thinking about it when you're reading this I'm sure.

Mary P. said...

Yeah Mark, and Brian for recognizing it!

Terry at Blue Kitchen said...

A great resolution indeed. And thanks for the nice musical interlude, Brian. Looked like a good party.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Brian, a really great post!!

The Suites At Silver Towers said...

Your words about New Year's Eve night make the pictures even more rich with warmth. The video proves you right about Mark's style - setting such a smooth, cool atmosphere for a party where the reveling crowd is fairly screaming in the New year. Cheers Brian!