Monday, June 27, 2011

Have Cape, Will Travel

My friend, Mark, is one of those people you just want to have around. He's a good conversationalist, an easy networker, he's smart, funny, kind and empathetic. When things are going well you want to be sipping a beverage and chatting with him. When things take a wonky turn he dons his cape and becomes SOLUTION MAN!

I met Mark when we worked for a fancy person who, for our own safety, shall remain nameless. During an especially hard year he made doing my job easier. Since I have moved to working for less fancy but infinitely kinder folk he still makes a practice of making my job easier. Have a blackberry question? Need a particular sort of wrench to fix your copier? Wonder which of a thousand tech solution links actually answers your question? Mark can help you with that. Not only can he help you with that he will help, happily, with minimal fun-making of your fumbles.

The day before the Mermaid Parade he tweeted, "Anyone going to the Mermaid Parade on Coney Island?" I told him not only was I going but I was marching and there was room in our group for the right kind of person. He, rightly, assumed he was that kind of person and had the foresight to ask if we had a theme so he could put together a costume.

On parade day, due to circumstances beyond anyone's control, I was an hour late to our meeting place. Mark's first question upon my arrival? "Do you want a drink?" I did. Very much. He bought two since I was vague about what type of beer I wanted. He figured we could each start one and switch halfway through. Undeniably brilliant, that one. He also bought beer for my friends, Teddy's Girl who had come with me and Carmencita who he'd met for the first time an hour before and been hanging with while they got ready.

Carmencita later explained that, a few moments after he approached and introduced himself, she set to work assembling the pieces of her costume. This means that Mark had known her for all of about five minutes before he was required to keep up his end of a polite conversation while she sewed a homemade shrunken head to the center clasp of the bra she was wearing. Not everyone can pull that sort of Miss Manners task off but he can. When she moved on to securing tulle to the shoulder straps he even offered to help!

I only brought three matches and the fans at Ruby's were going full bore. Not an issue for Mark, he came up with a light bulb app on his phone that, when you blow on the phone, turns the light bulb out. As good or better than real candles if the birthday girl's face is anything to judge by.

When I shoved my phone into my Hillbilly Holster (bra) he only commented mildly, "That's a trend I'm not entirely comfortable with." An hour later as I peeled the phone away from my sweaty skin and wiped off the display and camera lens with the lining of my skirt he handed me a real holster and said, still mildly, "At least use this." He then commandeered the luggage cart from me and, in his costume as World's Worst Lifeguard (the rest of us were all dead), he toted our baggage and held our group number high and pointed out photos I should be taking. All, of course, while taking notes on parade management ideas for his work with the German-American Steuben Parade of New York. Even when we got to the beach afterwards he wouldn't pass off the heavy burden.

I will admit that having this much help can be addictive. It's far too easy for me to slip into a state of utter helplessness when so much help is so freely given. However, I promise that it wasn't on purpose that I went swimming in the Atlantic Ocean with two SD cards for my camera in my swim skirt pocket. I could, though, have taken some of the petulance of the four-year-old out of my tone when I came from the sea dripping salt water onto Mark's toes and declared, "I fucked up. Can you fix it?"

He did.

I try to say thank you early and often but it's possible that there aren't enough thank yous in the world to get the message across. If that's the case one little blog post may not help either but I figure it couldn't hurt, right?

Thanks again, Solution Man. If you're even in need of cape repair I'll be happy to help.


  1. I demand that I buy that man drinks on my next trip. DEMAND IT.

  2. Chrome10:44 AM

    Is there a store that sells Marks? Because I'd pay top dollar. Top dollar.

  3. Pretty sure he won't turn down free drinks because, as I mentioned, he's not stupid.

    He is, in fact, priceless. But he is looking for a job in IT so if you hear of anything please think of him and pass the info along.