Man About Town

In O. Henry’s short story, Man About Town, a gentleman goes in search of the elusive Man About Town.  As he traverses the city he encounters a number of people who express their thoughts and opinions about the Man About Town.

The answers given to the gentleman just pique his curiosity even more.  In the vivid descriptions of the Man About Town no one could point one out or name one.

So he continues his search in New York City after nightfall.  Wandering Broadway he is rapt in thought as he prepares to cross the street.  Then it happens.  He hears a buzz with an odor of gasoline and then darkness.

The next morning he wakes up in hospital.  The doctor hands him the morning paper with a detailed description of him being hit by an automobile.  As the gentleman read about his ordeal, he was startled to read the last line of the article—“Bellevue Hospital, where it was said that his injuries were not serious.  He appeared to be a typical Man About Town.”

All of this time this gentleman was searching for himself. I wonder if it’s the case for many of us on this planet traversing the cosmos.

We are always searching for something.  However, what we seek usually is found close to home.

We create bucket lists of things to do and places to go.  We dream and plan rendezvous.

Nothing is wrong with bucket lists, travel, dreams or plans.  However, do not allow these items to deny you the right to live life fully.  Find yourself and know yourself.

I am reminded of what Ralph Waldo Emerson said to Henry David Thoreau when Thoreau was convinced he had to travel the world in order to know life.  Emerson’s words are as true today as they were in the 1800s.

“Would you be a writer? There is no need to travel abroad, digging among the ruins of the Old World for something to say.  All the world lies within you.  Record your own spontaneous thoughts and you will record that which men everywhere find true for them also.  A wholly truthful report of your own life will be true of all lives.  Look in your heart and write…”

In 2012 keep thirsty for life.  Have your bucket lists, dreams and plans, but do forget to live today.  Today is the only opportunity that you have to live.  Tomorrow is not guaranteed to anyone on the tenacious road of life.


G. D. Williams       © 2012