My Goodbye to Abe Asher

by Thomas Hochman

The first time I met Abe, I didn’t say anything. It was soccer season — I was swinging up as a backup goalkeeper to local legend Jared C. — and I was petrified. “Sorry” when I invariably messed up accounted for about 8 of the 12 words that I said to the whole team throughout the season, so to say that he and I had a lot of social interaction might be stretching it a little bit.

However, tennis season came around, I joined The Dig, got a little more confident and a lot more cocky, and I’ve gotten to know Abe a little bit.

Abe is one of the most all-around impressive people that I’ve ever met. And it’s true, this is in part due to the fact that I share many of his interests, most of which he’s just a lot better at than I am — soccer, writing, etc. But more striking than that is how he balances how bright he is with his interminable kindness.

The first time someone asked me to describe Abe Asher, I explained that he was the type of person that you selfishly spend time around, because you’ll feel better by just talking to him, and become better by just knowing him.

I’ve been able to be more honest and more open with Abe for the short time that I’ve known him than I have with just about anyone that I’ve ever known. And it’s because Abe always gave up his time to be there.

Whether it was spending hours going through my Dig articles with me, or listening as I explained the miscellaneous stuff that I was struggling with, it’s hard to quantify how important Abe has been in helping me get through the first year that wasn’t a bit of a disaster for me since my first year of middle school.

He listens, offers advice, and, when necessary, tells me that I’m completely full of shit. And for that, I’m thankful.

Abe being gone next year not only terrifies me, but makes me jealous of those who will have the opportunity to learn and grow with him for the next four years — assuming he doesn’t end up making the Head of School have a meltdown in a faculty-student tennis tournament and getting himself expelled first.

So I’ll miss him. And I wish I got to know him for longer. But as he said the other day, it’s a whole lot better to have a lot of stories to tell and not enough time to tell them than no stories to tell and all the time in the world.

Abe cares about OES, he cares about its student body and all the teachers, and has been invaluable to the community. OES will soon learn what they’ve lost, and Macalester will soon figure out what they’ve gained. Abe could go anywhere and do anything, and chances are he’ll impact everyone that he meets along the way.

Abe is the best combination of smart and compassionate that I’ve ever seen, and is one of the few people that I’ve really been able to trust fully. If I can have half the positive impact on someone’s high school experience that Abe has already had on mine, I will think myself successful.

So good luck, Abe, and come back and visit soon. We’ll see you later.

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