When I was graduating from high school, I almost made the Senior Dozen or Golden Dozen, and I know it wasn’t the Dirty Dozen.
This was a group of seniors that were being honored for various achievements; Best Student; Most Handsome; Most Likely To Succeed.
I was the runner up for Most Polite Student.
How sad was that?
It’s bad enough not being in contention for any of the more glamorous awards, but to come out second in the Polite Student category was devastating.
I had labored ceaselessly on being nice and polite, and respectful.
Okay, I did get caught throwing chairs off the boat coming home from Rye Playland. But I was still polite when the Principal caught me in mid-toss and demanded to know, “What are you doing with that chair?”
Alright, so that probably short-circuited any road to glory as a senior. But it was the sixties and chairs were the symbol of the establishment and all that was wrong with our society!
Nevertheless, and notwithstanding (to quote Felix Unger), I was and remain a polite boy.
My mother would expect no less, and I have tried, without perfect success, to shield her from such embarrassment that I might induce.
It started when I was a child…being nice, I mean.
Being nice wasn’t unusual, and it was relatively easy to achieve as everyone I associate with was nice. Of course, there were the usual detractors of all that is nice, and that is all I will say of them because anything more accusatory would be, not nice.
Our group of friends, boys and girls were quite nice, in fact. We didn’t fight or argue because there was barely time to laugh and laugh some more. We did a lot of laughing as teenagers, very little angst.
Being nice may not have been part of our DNA, but if you met all the people I hung around with, you might argue we were genetically pre-dispositioned to one another.
It is what it is, and we were what we were.
I have found that many, if not most, of the people I have encountered, colleagues and new friends, value being nice as necessary and desired. There is no manipulation or guile in their being nice.
They do not so much as act nice but define nice in all things and all ways.
It really isn’t hard to do, but it is always much appreciated.