When people think of a Gentleman, they automatically assume it's a well off man. It’s easy to be a courteous and gracious when you don’t have to worry about money, right? Nothing is further from the truth. We now live in times when a man wears a suit to demonstrate his ambitious and his cut throat business nature. I have met my share of suited wolves as well as I have met my share of true Dons from humble homes.
We get to meet mentors in the most unlikely places. During my employment in a rather professional office, I met one of the most elegant and educated Gentleman I have had the pleasure of their company. It was neither of the firm’s partners who came in every day in their tailored suits and their luxury sports cars. These men got rich by crossing anyone in their paths, something they held perverted pride in for some reason and something I would later on experience firsthand. The Caballero I mention was the chief of the maintenance team.
An elder gentleman, elder to my standards back then, he would always exude calm, even when the rest of the office was in turmoil. Every day he would walk in, greeting everyone with a smile, commenting how wonderful it was to be alive. As I got to know him better, I learned of his interest in astrology, wine, art, and music. He played the trumpet in a Big Band once a month, could tell you off hand when it would be a great night for stargazing, and the history behind most Tempranillo grape wines. Every day he would get to the office at the same time every day in his beautifully restored 1968 Volkswagen Beetle, have for lunch a selection which he had made the day before, his coffee break was at exactly at 9 am and again at 2 pm. You should set a watch to his schedule.
Later on I learned, not from him but from other team members, that the man was a decorated War Hero, a cancer survivor, his only son was killed by gang violence, and his wife, his love since they were teens, had died a few years earlier. He had every excuse to be a grouchy spiteful old man, pissed at the hand life dealt him. He had faced death lurking within his life more than once. Ironically it was this hard life that gave him his zest for living. The one time I mentioned to him that I wanted to be like him when I grew up, he just smiled. “I just hope you don’t have to walk my road to get there.” Now that I am older, and have lived my share of tragedies, do I understand what .
A true Gentleman is not the one who can wear a suit, or has the luxury car, or even the big bank account. Having it doesn't take away from being one either. Money is inconsequential here. A true Gentleman is a man who has fallen down or has been beat down and has every reason and excuse to be bitter. Yet, and in spite of it all, is able to proudly stand back up. So next time life beats you down, stand up, dust yourself off, smile and just says “you hit like a bitch”.