When you encounter people like Aaron Jones, it’s easy to take them for granted. When we should be treasuring the genuine, the caring, the compassionate, the wholeheartedly fantastically nice and pleasant, we see them as a constant. We need them in our lives, so we don’t always appreciate those amazing people to the extent that we should. Why wouldn’t Aaron be there every Monday night, my favorite drink in hand, as soon as I walk in the door of The Other Bar? How could he possibly be anywhere else other than acting as the best audience member a comedian could ever want? Who, if not Aaron, would always have a smile and a nod and a genuine interest in your life?
I’ve been fortunate that I’ve only lost a few friends, and only a few family members. Aaron’s death has been simultaneously more and less than other losses. He wasn’t my friend, because he was more than that – Aaron was the force of nature, the fixture, the familiar face in the crowd. He was the pal, the buddy, the guy you knew you could always approach and talk to. I didn’t even have his phone number, but I didn’t need it. I knew where I would always find him. Defining him is difficult. Aaron simply … was.
And now he’s not. He’s been taken from the world from the reckless action of an unknown hit and run driver. His family and friends gathered last night at The Other Bar in a celebration of his life that was unlike any outpouring of love I’ve ever seen. Aaron Jones was easy to take for granted. We all knew that he’d be there forever – the same old Aaron, smiling, chuckling, rocking out, making drinks, and being Aaron. We knew it. We knew he’d never go anywhere.
He touched many lives over those 28 years, some briefly, some so extensively that the healing will take years. There won’t be any more new moments to treasure, but there are always chances in life to share the past. To cock your head, put a wry smile on your face, and know that the world would be a more beautiful place if we could all be just a little bit more like Aaron Jones.
When I heard about Aaron’s passing, I wrote this, a parody of Ernest Thayer’s Casey At The Bat, and posted it on Facebook. I decided to share it here as well:
Aaron at The Other Bar
The outlook wasn’t pleasant for the Monday night comedy:
The bar was empty save for bad comics with stuff to say.
And then when Preacher bombed when first, and Akeem did the same,
The hostility was palpable to all on the stage.
A struggling few got up to bomb in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which rests in ev’ry comics’ cold dark breast;
They thought, if only it was my turn to tell my new jokes –
I’d turn this night around, even while, on stage, Murray chokes.
But when Ross and Larry tried, as did also Avitable,
The hatred from the crowd began to turn quite tangible;
So in that darkened bar waves of desperation set in,
For there seemed but little chance of getting even one grin.
And then Pupo stopped mid-set, after giving up all hope,
And Clay, the darkest one, just stood on stage and moped;
And Morgan and Alicia – well, they didn’t even try,
Luke and Clayton did, but just watched as each of their jokes died.
And as Luchun took the stage and proceeded to just yell;
While Rauce, Irv and Carmen took the crowd further into hell;
The crowd’s mood began to brighten as sharply as a star,
For Aaron, Aaron Dale Jones, was making drinks at the bar.
There was joy in Aaron’s smile as he mixed a tasty drink;
There was a certain attitude that made each of us think.
Who cares if we’re all bombing? Just look at where we all are.
At least we can get nice and drunk with Aaron at the bar.
Viola sucked a big one, but Aaron kept grinning;
Myke lit himself on fire, but we still felt like we’re winning.
Then while Mike C. just stuttered and while Justin did his shtick,
The audience began to laugh as the drinks did their trick.
And Ken and Pedro and Arnie all took this chance to shine,
Getting laughter from the people lubricated with wine.
Ivan and Wilfren tried to ride that wave of drunken glee-
They failed, as you’d expect, but some things just aren’t meant to be.
From the tables, filled with people, there went up a muffled roar,
As Jiggy and Eric Gil got laughs like never before,
“I killed it! Applause break! I’m awesome!” declared little Kirk;
Ignoring that it was just Aaron’s drinks doing their work.
With a firmly planted smile, Aaron continued to mix;
Making the crowd even happier with his boozing tricks;
Big Tim performed on stage wearing his giant overalls;
Proving that nothing could bomb on that stage – nothing at all.
“More!” cried the laughing hundred or so people in the crowd;
As Joe and Tom and Mike did nothing more than talk real loud.
There was no stopping the momentum of humor that flowed,
And Carmen and Will enjoyed the laughs that were bestowed.
As the night begins to wane, Aaron never stops to think;
He helps people laugh at Darren by mixing one more drink;
And now the crowd holds their own, never quieting down,
Even if Gramma Rich got time, nobody would dare frown.
Oh, somewhere in this favored land, comedians do well;
Every punchline hits home, and hacky jokes go to hell.
But on Monday nights on Wall Street, our egos should be quaffed,
If not for Aaron, mighty Aaron, no one would have laughed.