Thome Nicocelli | SIPA Class of 2018
It’s happened to all of us. We all have a friend whom we know so well that it feels like we’ve known them forever – but we don’t know the name of that friend and it is too late to ask, even a bit embarrassing maybe. I tell my daughter Sofia when we hang out and find ourselves together in situations like that, “Sofia, ask her name.” To which she will sweetly whisper, “Dad, I can’t ask, it is too late to ask, we are friends already.” I learnt from Sofia that sometimes you just don’t ask things.
How are you going to ask the name of a friend whom you greet with a hug, who will tell you that “she misses you” if she doesn’t see you on campus every day, and who will stop doing whatever she is doing – which is usually trying to stop Columbia students from entering Butler library without an ID which they forgot in their dorm or, at midnight in the freezing New York winter, sitting at the lonely booth in front of the campus, watching Columbia students, professors and staff on their way to the subway entrance on W 116.
That girl likes diamonds a lot. True, the famed movie is right: diamonds are a girl’s best friend. In fact, all of the above she does for one single reason: Diamond, which is the name of her daughter, and the only thing I know about my Columbia security guard friend.
Because there is no food in that Columbia security booth (or a café next door that Diamond’s mom can walk to if she is hungry around 11 PM), I often ask if she needs something before midnight (when I am finishing my SIPA papers at Butler), and she will ask for her favorite food, which I will then gladly go pick up.
That usually makes me think about 263 years ago, at Trinity Church in downtown Manhattan, one block from September 11’s Ground Zero, where nine Columbia students gathered in the year 1754, because they thought it was important to launch an academic adventure, called Kings College, to educate New Amsterdam and that vast Land of the Free west of here, America.
It makes me think that Diamond’s mom may (or may not) have diamonds, but for her to be sitting there on a cold New York night, those nine Columbia students, in 1754, had to start something, as they did, and get the approval of the King of England for Kings College.
True, kings have diamonds; whether Diamond’s mom does, I don’t know. But I know this: Diamond’s mom is proudly sitting there, no matter how cold it is outside, because she loves a Diamond. In the end, we all, proud Columbia students and family, love our own diamonds (mine is called Sofia), and that keeps us going through the cold and frigid New York winter nights.
Diamond’s mom, this one is for you, my friend.