Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

Nice Guys Finish Last

When I was a kid, “Nice Guys Finish Last” was something my Grandpa Andy used to say all the time about wimpy personalities who got stepped on by mean old ogres climbing the ladder to success.  I figured he was just being grumpy and bitter or perhaps did not understand people very well.  I just knew Grandpa was wrong, being a silly old lovable coot, and that you could be a Nice Guy/Gal and have it all. Oh, the finely tuned deductive skills of an 11 year old, hard at work.

Now, I’m not so sure.

See, in my many years I have had the opportunity to fill multiple little black books, rolodexes and computer contact lists with thousands and thousands of names of unbelievably nice folks while working for charitable foundations, parent-teacher organizations and job situations.  I have also worked and walked in circles with what the media has deemed “the one percenters.”  As an absorbent observer, I have to tell you, it’s mighty hard not to pull out the Santa’s Helper file of the Naughty & Nice in the middle of it all.

If you’re me, you meet all of these people and then develop lifelong relationships with all the names you gather (some people accumulate baseball cards and figurines, I collect actual people).  After 50 years worth of faces and places, I have found that some of the truly nicest people I know are those not at the top of the real Game of Life, but those who are struggling to make ends meet, leading me to question if it is the act of struggling during  the race that actually polishes the soul to create the Nice Guy, regardless of how or where he was destined to end.  Don’t you wonder, in the Rat Race of Life, which really came first — the (ruthless, pecking) chicken or the (nice and gentle, fragile) egg?

There is an awfully high profile guy I know who came to write a book about his incredibly successful life and, if you read between the lines (and most media outlets), you can see the trail of broken relationships he’s left behind him.  Looking at his long life, you could say he’s definitely one of the guys who finished “on top” as he has had the great career with private jets, expensive cars, and has lately been seen now around town in the toniest of establishments with gorgeous young women on his super toned arms.  I wonder if, as he glances at the priceless watch on his big ol’ wrist, he ever stops to recognize the actual time and love he’s lost racing toward the finish line.  Eskimopiehead that he is, I don’t think so.  He’s not the nicest kid in town.

But, to be fair, one horse’s behind doesn’t really give a complete picture of the entire herd.

As much as I loved and respected my Grandpa, I just keep meeting (and collecting) people, watching and waiting to prove him wrong.  Just in this one area.  For all of the not-so-nice, self-absorbed wealth I see in the world, what I really want is to see the decent woman who has dedicated her life to her husband, children and community with no thought or concern for herself – want for nothing and be treated to the experiences and things she should have.  I want to see the lovely single mom/dad who has sacrificed everything for her/his kid(s) – fill shopping carts with no guilt or worry about buying the healthier, more expensive items.  I want to see the sweet talented writer/composer/musician who volunteers time at the animal/homeless shelter – get the big break that will help pay for his/her heart’s desire.  There is a very long list of nice guys & gals that I’d like to see finish, if not in the golden category, then at least on the silver or bronze platform.  Heaven knows, they deserve it.

Honestly, Addison Morton Walker, the American comic artist best known for his 1950’s newspaper comic strips Beetle Bailey and Hi and Lois said something I heartily agree with, “It’s not true that nice guys finish last.  Nice guys are winners before the game even starts.”  True, that.  I happen to know thousands of them – and I’m richer for it.

And, for the record, the race ain’t close to being over yet.

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 “I never did say that you can’t be a nice guy and win.  I said that if I was playing third base and my mother rounded third with the winning run, I’d trip her up.” ~ Leo Durocher

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