What is nice?


Am I a nice person? I like to think so. I hold the door for people when I’m at a store. I recycle my recyclables. I pick up litter when I encounter it (if I’m not in a hurry, or the litter is something gross, like a 7-Eleven hot dog container with chili and cheese all over the innards). I give a buck to a homeless guy if I encounter him, and $2 to Lisa, the StreetWise lady outside my neighborhood market.

Maybe I’m not that nice, though. If I see a guy with a manbun, I’ll make fun of him. When a dude cuts me off in traffic, I’ll raise my middle finger in his direction with great enthusiasm. I donate money to charity, but not enough–probably the equivalent of a piddly Starbucks drink every week–and I spend way too much on myself.

goodgridAnyway, I’m aware I’m muddling up “being nice” with “being good”–someone can be polite and pleasant and agreeable, but still be a horrible person. They also can be a huge jerk when they’re dealing with other people, while they’re doing amazing things for charities and being helpful to their fellow human beings (please refer to the painstakingly rendered grid I created to illustrate this hugely complex concept). It’s important to be both–“nice” makes people feel warm and fuzzy and respected, and “good” benefits people who aren’t you to help make their lives better in ways big and small, in ways they’re aware of or maybe not.

In 2017, I resolve to be both (see resolution #1 in my first post of the year). To that end, I have done good by sharing with you at the top of this blog a shirtless Daveed Diggs (Lafayette/Jefferson in the original HAMILTON cast), because I thought it might be nice, it might be nice.





Writer, drinker, arbiter of sarcasm.

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