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Eric's Birthday Book

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Eric's Birthday Book - Page Text Content

S: The Many Things We Love About You

FC: The Many Things We Love About You

1: Eric, my love, Over your forty years, you've made a lot of people very happy. In celebration of your 40th birthday, I asked a few of them to talk about what they treasure about you. To help them think about it, I suggested a few questions they could answer. You will see that some people answered the questions, and some just wrote what felt right. In all the responses, their love for you -- and yours for them -- shines through. Happy reading! Marianna

2: Marianna | Since the first moment we laid eyes on each other outside the Kuskin Room, you have never been far from my thoughts. At first, it was because you were cute and exuded competence. As our lives became more and more entwined, it was because it became almost impossible to think about anything in my life without thinking of you. I wouldn't have it any other way. I rely on you at every moment. You make me feel safe. When we ski, your presence is like a talisman that magically supports me as I move. As I go through my day, every day, I know that if something goes wrong, you will be there to fix it. I admire so many things about you. Your generosity; your total commitment to whatever you take on; your ability to do everything well; your willingness to help friends and strangers at any moment; your creativity in wildly disparate spheres -- law, photography, pottery and cooking are only the first that come to mind. And you make me laugh. This is a theme that will repeat on every page of this book, but your ability to find the funny is one of the greatest gifts you have. Our evenings hanging out on the couch, drinking wine and laughing together are among my most treasured moments. I am always excited to see you walk through the door. I am so grateful that you are my husband. I love you.

4: Describe a fun time you have with Daddy: -- Going to breakfast with Dad on Saturday mornings. Sometimes it sounds like it's just about the food, but it's not. It's the hanging out. -- Listening to what he has to say about lawyering. It's interesting to me, and the way he describes it, I sort of understand. And I like hearing what he does a lot of the time. -- Cooking with him is really fun. -- Walking down to school with him. -- In the car, singing songs. -- Swimming with him. What are your favorite things about Daddy? He's funny. He always knows, when I'm sad, how to look at it in perspective and make me feel a lot better about it. He's always willing to try something new. I like when he calls me "kiddo." What would you like to say to him for his birthday? I love living my life with him. He's the best Dad one could ever ask for! And I love him and I hope he has a really great birthday! I love you, Daddy! | Emily

6: What do you love about Daddy? He's always there when I'm feeling sad at home and he helps me feel better. I really have a fun time with him at pools, and water parks and really everything. What do you like doing with Daddy? Lying in bed and him telling me stories of his life. I liked going to Pingry with him and seeing his pictures. Having breakfast with him and cooking with him. Him taking me to the pottery place. It's so fun hearing him talk about his trials that he is going away for. I like when he takes lots of pictures of my class. Picking out his ties for work. When is your favorite time to hug him? When he comes back home. And I really like it when he says the blessing over me. When I'm with him, I feel like I'm home, even when I'm not. When he's around, I'm calm. He's just really, really funny and really, really fun to be with. I love him. If he wasn't my Dad, I wouldn't even be here! He will always be there for me, even when I'm not living with him. I really, really, really, really love him. He's the best Dad anyone could have. | Rachel

8: In Yiddish, Mensch means “human being,” but in our family, Mensch can be defined as Eric. He understands the importance of being part of a family. His compassion and generosity to everyone is part of his very nature. When my mother was alive, I knew that I could count on Eric to do the right thing with her. If it meant, a trip to New Jersey to see her or a simple phone call to discuss those “lousy Mets,” he was there. Her stroke and consequent loss of speech did not hinder his commitment to keep her a part of the family. He defined being a human being during those painful years. | But being a mensch is not limited to aiding the infirmed. It also means being a caring decent person for everybody. When my phone rings every morning, and Eric and I have our political observations, family discussions, or just fight over nothing, he epitomizes the beauty that is within him. He cares for us-- his family, his extended family, his friends and for doing the right thing. I am so honored to be his mother and to see him evolve into such a wonderful person. | Donna

10: As a young child, Eric was vaccinated with a phonograph needle. He was born talking, and as an adult, he continues to be the great communicator. He is perceptive, thoughtful, articulate and forthcoming. I used to joke that my younger son told me less than I wanted to know and that my older son often told me more than I wanted to know. Now, however, I’ve come to delight in and rely upon Eric’s stories, jokes, philosophy and counsel. He is the older of my two best friends. I LOVE HIM and he loves me and that’s the way it’s “spozed” to be! | Chet

12: Natella

13: My dear Eric, It's too bad we don't have time any more for our political all-nighters. It sure felt like being in a Moscow kitchen with a close friend: sitting at a dining table in the wee hours of the morning, discussing politics. And it's funny to think that it was 17-18 years ago, and you were not a husband and a father yet and I did not yet have that awful title of Mother-in-Law and that glorious title of Grandmother. Now, when I am writing it, my memory is as a kaleidoskope, it brings up various pictures. some of them are obviously significant and some were significant for me when they happened: -- I remember Beverly asking you at Marianna's bat-mizvah, "How did you manage to cook for all these 60 plus people," and you answering, "For Marianna - I'll do anything" -- and you guys did not consider yourself an item at the time! -- I remember hearing about your exchange with Florence: "Eric, are you still dating that Russian girl?" "Oh, Grandma, I am not dating her and she is not Russian" (that from the time you and Marianna were "just friends") -- I remember how after all the Williams graduation festivities you were going in one direction with Donna and Chet and we were going in a different one with Marianna and you stopped, put your hands to your mouth as a megaphone and yelled to Marianna: "Oh, I will not see you for a month," and Marianna said something to the extent of "Well, you'll have to tough it out," and I thought that she was not nice enough to you when you were so sincere and so not afraid to express your feelings -- and then I remember sitting in the lobby of your dormitory on Bleecker on a Friday before Mother's Day and you coming down the stairs hiding a bunch of orchids under your jacket -- I remember you, of course, at the Cub Room, bubbling with excitement about the proposal you made several hours prior to that; I remember how GREAT you looked on November 22nd when you were saying "Thank you" to me at about 1 am (so it was already Nov. 23rd then) and then my memory takes me to the 8th floor of NYU Hospial and you in scrubs telling us that Emily Samara Stone was born at 6:52 pm; I don't remember you on August 2nd, 2004 -- and that makes me sad, but I guess that's because it was a rather tough day -- I remember you saying that you have not been voted a partner yet, but everybody tells you that Marianna should buy a dress for the Partner's Dinner -- and the last image (although out of time order) is of you at Julia Lipsztein's first birthday party, where you told me that you will be moving to Waterside and made me cry in the middle of the party. The very last of all these pictures is the one of several days ago when you raised a glass of wine and said that wonderful toast upon Milya's and mine coming back to New York. I wish I had a chance to memorize or to write that toast down as it was sincere, heartfelt, incredibly well-said, and gracious -- just the way you are at your best moments. Love you, Eric!

14: Oleg

15: The year: 1996. I don't remember the month or day, but I remember it was quite warm and nice. Phone call: "Hi Oleg, this is Eric speaking," and then a few sentences at machine-gun speed. Eventually, I get the idea of the reason for the call -- he wanted to talk to me about something. We agreed to meet at the Bull & Bear at the Waldorf. (Now I think the place with "Bear" in the name was picked on purpose!) Of course, it wasn't the first time we had talked, but my sense was that it was something serious now. Right from the start, I asked him not to talk too fast. Eric looked all business-like (check), sounded also business-like (check), and could drink (a plus). But when he told me the reason for the meeting, the only word to describe him was "romantic." He asked me for Marianna's hand!!! Wow! It's the 20th century, and we live in the US! I had considered myself pretty romantic, but even I had done it more prosaically. From that moment, I liked the guy even more than before. And he was saying so many good things, I thought his talking wasn't fast enough... I don't remember much more from that conversation, except that I asked him to promise not to hurt my daughter. he promised, and it was so sincere that understood that he not only will not hurt her, but will be her guardian, replacing me. That was a long time ago, and many things have happened along the way, and I assume that, like any other couple, they have had their ups and downs, but he keeps his word, in good faith and with great heart. Eric, I love you. Oleg

16: What is your first memory of Eric? Eric who? Just kidding. My first real concrete memory is probably sitting in the backseat of Mom and Dad's old station wagon when the door flew open on the highway and Eric pulled me away from it. What made you think, "Hey, it would be great if we were friends"? I think sadly I was in college before I had that thought. Describe a fun time that you had together. Countless. Would definitely put our first visit to the attic and all BBQ-related events high on the list. | Describe a time that he made you laugh. Every single time we hang out. He's the only person I know who makes me laugh so hard I really can't breathe. | Describe a time when you were grateful that he helped you out. Countless. Still helping me out to this day. What makes you think of him when he isn't around? Whiskey. Bulgogi. Bears. Describe something he did that struck you as very menschy. He is the ultimate mensch. He knows all the reasons I think this is true. What are your favorite qualities of his? He has such an amazing sense of humor and is one of the kindest human beings I know. | Mike

18: Describe a time that he made you laugh. Um, every time we hang out? He's especially good at making me laugh when I really need it. I can remember several occasions when he had me laughing hysterically through tears. I love that I can cry around him. Describe a time when you were grateful that he helped you out. Every crisis and big life event I've had since knowing him, he's been there in a big way. So grateful. What makes you think of him when he isn't around? Amazing food, something ridiculously funny, nice tailored clothes. Describe something he did that struck you as very menschy. The way he lives his life. He takes care of everyone he loves. | Describe something he did that really impressed you. His ability to do everything extremely well. Where does he find the time? His work, his photography, his 'top chef', 'chopped' cooking skills, and of course his menschiness. What are your favorite qualities of his? His sensitivity, his big heart, his humor, his insight, his ability to solve problems. What do you admire about him? All of the above. Why are you glad that he is your friend? All of the above. Pretty psyched he's my brother too. | Ann

20: Jess & Marc

21: What is your first memory of Eric? Jess: His pidyon ha’ben, somewhere around September 5, 1971. If I was there for the bris, I blocked it out. Marc: Meeting him at Pesach in 1992 at Tommi’s house along with the rest of Jess’s family, all of them very hungry. Describe a fun time that you had together. Jess: Dinner at Bear Foot Bistro at Whistler in 2002 when the servers double-introduced each dish and when Eric pronounced the chestnut puree (or gnocchi, I don’t remember) so good that he wanted to wallpaper a room with it. Marc: Skiing with Eric and his three beautiful girls at Vail. What are your favorite qualities of his? Jess: Total consciousness. It’s a Stone thing – a blessing and a curse. We’ve got that going for us, which is nice. Marc: His modesty. Why are you glad that he's your cousin? Jess: I can point to him and say, “See – we’re not ALL short!” P.S. I can report that our girls just adore him! Marc: I just feel more comfortable among loud and opinionated lawyers, like me. You can’t choose your family, so Jess is just plain lucky to have Eric as her cousin. Marc, of course, is lucky enough to have chosen Jess, with one of the benefits (and there are SO many!) being Eric and his company on the slopes and apres-ski. Eric, you can seek shelter with us any time!

22: Adam

23: With profound apologies, nay, condolences, to Faith No More: He Cares A Lot He cares a lot about some of the same things as when he was a teen For example, bathroom humor and the head between his knees He cares so much in fact he said it made him rip his jeans! He cares a lot, and if we didn't then where would all the people be? He cares a lot about the funny, true, the whiskey, wine and ?*$# He cares a lot when it comes to making gourmet feed, He cares a lot about me and you and you and you, He won't eat shellfish cuz he cares about not dying (oh, and Jews, too). YEAH! When there's a dirty joke y'know that he's the one to tell it He cares a lot about photos, skiing and the way the Chinese fight He cares a lot about election fraud, the powerless and their plight He cares a lot about attorney-client privilege and certain first amendment rights, son He cared a lot about me when the heat rolled up Route 2 that night (Run!) He cares a lot about driving (with an automatic shifter) He cares a lot that's why he'd make the world's worst grifter He cares a lot about his family, friends and all his girls He cares a lot too bad there's just one Eric in this world YEAH! When its a dirty joke and someones gotta tell it, He's got the chutzpah, hallelujah we got Eric

24: What is your first memory of Eric? I first remember meeting Eric at the JRC/Kuskin Room in the basement of Hopkins at Williams. Though I have a feeling I'm missing an earlier memory - I want to say that I met him during registration at Williams (but possibly that's an implanted memory by aliens) and anyway I remember him being a friendly face wearing a Williams ringer T. After you first met him, what made you think, "Hey, it would be great if we were friends"? I don't remember specifically, but I'd like to think he told me a stupid joke and made me laugh ;) Describe a fun time that you had together. Whenever I think of fun times with Eric one that pops to the top of the list is going skiing during Winter Break over at Brodie Mountain in the afternoons. Driving like crazy to get over to a tiny ice covered hill, doing a few turns and then going home to relax in the afternoons was a high point of my college experience. And we've had a few other fun times too. | Greg

25: Describe a time that he made you laugh. Too many to count, but one that sticks is the discussion of "odd sandwiches, seemingly normal but punctuated with one ingredient that's weird and one that's just wrong, e.g. A Turkey Sandwich, having honey cut mustard, blueberries (weird) and Bacitracin (just wrong.) Describe a time when you were grateful that he helped you out. Anytime I was trying to do a New York Times Crossword Puzzle after Monday. Seriously, there have been many times that I've appreciated Eric's help - think it's part of his DNA. What makes you think of him when he isn't around? Grammar wars. Changing the volume on the radio. Saabs. Frank Zappa. Beer. Photography. Smiles. Describe something he did that really impressed you. Deciding he wanted to be an important lawyer at age 19 and then going and doing it, even though it was hard and sometimes boring and not as glamorous as we all thought it might be. (I still haven't figured out what I want to be when I grow up.) Describe something he did that struck you as very menschy. Driving to be with Dan Silvia at Dan's Dad's funeral - he totally didn't have to be there (I still regret that I didn't go) and Eric went without hesitation to support Dan at a very difficult time. What are your favorite qualities of his? Irreverance. The Ability to Be Right. Very quick mind. Funny with a joke. Excellent cook and bon vivant. Friend. Why are you glad that he is your friend? Glad that I could call him up in the middle of the night with any problem or question and he would answer (might be a little grumpy in the middle of the night, but always willing to say hello)

26: Ian

27: What is your first memory of Eric? We were playing pool in the basement of the student union and we were, um, rather different in demeanor. After you first met him, what made you think, "Hey, it would be great if we were friends"? He had a twisted and unfiltered sense of humor, with a talent for saying the things that most of us only think. Describe a fun time that you had together. This one time, at Amherst (away basketball game)...Eric became fixated on helping recover the Williams X-country bear. Through an entirely non-devious path, we worked our way into the Amherst side of the stands, Eric all the while wearing his inconspicuous Williams cap. Which likely contributed to his being launched out of the stands (with a kick to the Amherst guy's chest) when trying to recover The Bear. A good effort. Describe a time that he made you laugh. There are too many to choose just one. What makes you think of him when he isn't around? Whenever someone is not afraid to call another out for intellectual dishonesty. What are your favorite qualities of his? He has a strong commitment to justice, a recognition of the absurdities of power and a desire to make others behave in ways commensurate with their station. Why are you glad that he is your friend? There is no one like Eric. He is a great mix of intelligence, culture, love for family, loyalty to friends, and a dash of barely-restrained id to make it interesting. HAPPY 40TH DUDE! -Ian

28: Erik

29: What is your first memory of Eric? Setting: the computer center at Williams. This was the age when the MacSE with no hard drive was state of the art. To use them you had to check out a floppy with the program you needed. I'm a terrible speller, but the dictionary required to use spell check was too big to fit on the disk along with Word, so I was out of luck. Unless, of course, I could get access to a help desk computer and copy the dictionary to a blank floppy which is what I was up to when this tall guy came over and asked if I was a martial artist. I was pretty sure he wasn't planning to kick my ass for pirating a dictionary. It turned out it was my shirt that caught his attention: a Kite Loft shirt with a big yin-yang on the back. We chatted for a while and he invited me to join his kung-fu class. Fortunately the conversation lasted long enough for me to complete my piracy operation. Describe a fun time that you had together. There have been too many fun times to pick and choose just one or two to detail without giving way too many others short shrift, but I have happy memories of sharing (in no particular order): 1) China: Imagined and Perceived 2) Jack’s in North Adams 3) The trip to Sifu Platt’s house for Eric’s black belt test 4) Seeing Michael’s band Naked play in NYC 5) Numerous weddings 6) Passovers at the Jewish center, along with a plethora of other opportunities to learn about and participate in Jewish tradition and culture What makes you think of him when he isn't around? I think of Eric quite often, usually for no particular reason but the fact that I miss just getting to hang out and chat. Eric is a great conversational partner because his interests are so wide ranging. He is always prepared to talk about any number of topics, and, even if the topic is unfamiliar that is no bar to the conversation since he will often be interested in learning more about it and exploring the topic together. I’d have probably done better in college, or at least have gotten more sleep, if he hadn’t always been so eager to discuss something that had come up in one of his classes. Through these discussions I ended up with about 2-3 times the education that I would have otherwise gotten at Williams. What are your favorite qualities of his? Loyalty, integrity, intelligence, curiosity, generosity Why are you glad that he is your friend? Eric is one of the very few people that I can just pick up with even after we haven’t talked in quite a while. I love his intensity when making an argument, his passionate advocacy for fairness, and his wide-ranging generosity. I don’t have very many close friends, but I treasure each one and he is one of the closest that I have.

30: Dara

31: Happy 40th, Eric! I was so glad that Marianna came up with this idea, which gave me a chance to think back on over 20 years (yikes!) of friendship with you. As it turns out, many of my memories of you have to do with food. Cooking and eating Friday night dinners, first in the Kuskin Room and then in the much improved ambiance of the JRC. Meals in Greylock dining hall (speaking of places where the ambiance left something to be desired!). Pizza and beer at the end of Passover. Later, brunches and fun ethnic food in New York, first as couples and soon as families. Bistros and outdoor markets in Paris. And demonstrating that it truly is the company and not the venue that matters most, Ruby Tuesdays in Sandusky Ohio, when you and Marianna came out to register voters. But my favorite memories of you actually have nothing to do with food. My favorite memories are of you at your happiest, which in my experience is when you are playing with Emily and Rachel. Jumping in the pool with them or running on the beach. There’s something so right about a really smart man, a high power New York attorney no less, taking so much pleasure in playing with his kids. That’s having your priorities straight, and part of why I consider you both such good friends. Two people who can appreciate subtle word play, an excellent meal, and a perfect moment with your family all equally. Here’s to many more of each of these in the years to come! Lots of love, Dara

32: What can I say about Eric? Well, Eric entered the extended Stone family over two years after I did, and quickly charmed everyone with his big blue eyes and his nearly insatiable appetite. As he became a toddler, he continued to charm, given his adorable pronunciation of words like “puggle” (purple) and “helicopopter.” Even though he is my younger cousin, Eric began to tower over me at an early age. Despite choosing a wonderful wife with a stature similar to mine, his children have begun to tower over mine as well! Eric possesses many great qualities in addition to height – he is highly intelligent and has a great sense of humor, which manifests itself in the form of joke telling and the sharing of puns, especially those jokes known to our family as “Sam Stoners.” We have shared many happy occasions together over the years, as well as many sad ones. I always look forward to catching up and reminiscing with him. I am happy to be able to share some of my thoughts on the occasion of his fortieth birthday. Happy Birthday, Eric! All the best from all of us! Love, Physs, Glenn, Sarah and Daniel | Phyllis

33: One of my first memories of meeting Eric was just prior to his bachelor party, going out one evening with Eric, Wein, Nick and a few others to watch a game at Brother Jimmy's Bait Shack. After a lot of chicken wings and many more beers, we found ourselves in the company of a couple of stewardesses, who were enthusiastically enjoying the discount on booze that Brother Jimmy's generous and enterprising owner offered young stews. Although Eric left us to go home to his lovely bride-to-be and was thus not a witness to the culmination of the evening's festivities, his terrific sense of humor and rapier wit endeared me to him immediately; and from that point on, Eric and I became fast friends. Over the course of this friendship - which is hard to believe has spanned nearly 15 years - we have had many great conversations, adventures, and even more robust debates. In Eric, I have always found a loyal, sincere, and dedicated friend, who is always there for anyone who needs him, and I am honored to call him my friend. | Chris

34: For me, the moment that best captures the essence of Eric came at the end of my time at Paul Weiss, eleven years ago. When lawyers move on from Paul Weiss to other positions, there is a tradition of writing a departure memo and circulating it to the entire firm. The contents of these memos have run the gamut from a cordial and mannered expression of gratitude to a sharp and snarky airing of grievances. I came to love Paul Weiss during my time there and my departure was a sad occasion for me, even though I was embarking upon the incredible privilege of a career as a law professor. I thus wrote a departure memo that was both long and earnest, perhaps a bit too earnest, trying to capture what it was about the firm and its people that had touched me. There was an informal etiquette in these memos of not mentioning fellow associates by name in one's litany of thanks, so as to avoid the awkwardness of including some friends and not others. In my memo, however, I decided to break that etiquette in order to acknowledge two of my peers -- Eric, and a woman named Kelly (who has since left the firm herself). I kept my remarks about them brief, writing only: "You are both superb lawyers, but much more than that, you are both extraordinary human beings. I leave secure in the knowledge that we will continue to share hearth and home for years and years to come." | Independently, and unbeknownst to each other, Kelly and Eric both got in touch with me to thank me for my words, and their respective reactions are what produced this quintessential Eric moment. Kelly contacted me first, and in explaining why my words had particular meaning for her, she said, "I know I'm a good person. But it means a lot to me that you think I'm a good lawyer." Then Eric got in touch. In the kind of perfect counterpoint that sounds contrived when it appears in fiction, he said, "I'm a superb lawyer, sure -- but it means a lot to me that you think I'm an extraordinary human being." It is an inevitable part of the human condition, I think, that we all experience a gap between how the world perceives us and how we understand ourselves. One way to assess a man's character (or a woman's, but we are speaking of Eric) is in the response that he offers to that existential challenge. Is the man aware of that gap in perception, or at least its possibility, or is he oblivious? Does the man's perspective on himself operate always to his advantage, or is he frequently underestimating how he will appear in the world's estimation? And as he is confronted with those jarring moments of contrast between his own perceptions and the perceptions of others, will he exhibit the courage and trust required to revisit his understanding of himself? Or will he become ever more rigid and hostile, viewing the rest of the world as obtuse and experiencing their opinions as an unrelenting affront? In the answers to these questions resides much of what we mean when we use the term "character." | Tobias

35: Eric Alan Stone is one of the most compassionate and moral men that I know. His desire to do the right thing, coupled always with his urgent impulse to check and question himself to make sure that he is measuring up to his own high standards, are such palpable parts of his character that they are like wings that sweep around him as he moves from place to place. And his fierce and protective love for Marianna, for Mike, for his glorious daughters and his proud parents, is an inner light that flashes from his eyes. It is astounding to think that a man such as Eric could ever doubt that the people in his life believe him to be an extraordinary human being. And yet his reaction to my departure memo was not one of false humility. I still remember the tone of his voice, eleven years later. What he felt, if I do not miss my guess, was genuine reassurance. So here is my charge to Eric as he embarks upon the many great adventures to come. Eric, no one could ever doubt that you already have confidence in your abilities as a lawyer. (Seriously, no one could ever doubt that . . .) My charge to you is that you embrace more fully that same confidence in your virtues as a human being. A great many people -- people of insight and judgment -- have long since concluded that you are one of the greats. With love and enduring friendship, Tobias Barrington Wolff

36: Aimee & Craig

37: The word we most associate with Eric: “Outstanding.” When he said it to describe a hibachi dinner in the Turks & Caicos, he instantly coined a new definition for the word, and provided all of us with a new fabulous insult. But, maybe because it has that special funny connotation for us, it resonates as the right word to describe in Eric when used in its proper and usual fashion. How we met: I don’t recall how I met Eric – probably at the Law Review training at the start of my second/his third year of law school. But I vividly remember how we orchestrated the meeting of Craig & Eric. Marianna and I plotted to make sure that the boys would meet in circumstances most likely to encourage further friendship. Our idea: a date in my apartment to watch "E.R." and drink a bottle of wine. Not the most exciting first date, but it worked! Best word real estate term we associate with Eric: “The cheddar closet.” New Years Eve: It is and will always be the Beef Wellington. That first year, the turn of the millennium, was as important as that carefully orchestrated first double date. But so unexpected! Borne largely from a concern shared by the three guys that Manhattan would be unsafe that evening, and an understandable distaste for blowing money on an overpriced New Year’s dinner, came one of our favorite traditions! And the first year, when none of us had any idea what Eric could really do in the kitchen – it was a revelation! Every New Year’s meal after that has been wonderful, but that first year, when we were introduced to the culinary whiz that had somewhat secretly lived in our friend – that was an amazing night. Eric’s worst movie recommendation: “Diggstown” Spain: The entire week long trip was a blast, but no travel experience can ever exceed Lekeitio. From arriving to discover that we didn’t have a hotel reservation (of course, no fax back meant no reservation. duh!) until we drove out of the town on those crazy mountain roads, the time we spent in Lekeitio maybe be the 36 most hilarious, jam packed hours of our lives. You agreeing to stay in that stranger’s apartment, hanging out on the pristine beach, climbing on the rock wall to get to the island, Eric slipping on the wall and scaring everyone and losing a camera (FAIL!), attending the Basque terrorist street party, learning about the fine tradition of drinking coca cola and box red wine (ideally from a cup that you’ve tied around your neck so you don’t lose it when you black out), learning the universal language of “New York Yankees Michael Jordan!” and “you scary Costco!” and, of course, seeing the Goose Festival in all its glory – those memories are still some of my most vivid and most favorite. Eric takes a stand: His refusal on principle to make well done scrambled eggs. Photography: In the 13 years that we have known Eric, we have watched him develop (get it?) into a phenomenal photographer. His pictures were always technically impressive, but his artistic style has deepened and expanded, frequently leaving us in awe of what he can accomplish with a camera and a computer. On more than one occasion, he has taken our favorite picture of an event or of one of our children in action.

38: Christine & David

39: Describe a time that he made you laugh: This is a bachelor party story, but one that can be shared with all audiences. As part of David's bachelor party -- indeed, before it was permitted to begin -- he was required to sign a page-long legal release that Eric had drafted especially for the occasion. We doubt anyone has ever done a more thorough job of ensuring that the Party of the First Part would have absolutely no legal rights or recourse against his friends/tormentors for the various forms of mental and physical abuse they were about to impart. David wishes he could say that this release is a document that he's saved and treasures to this day, but Eric retained the sole copy just in case David did attempt legal action. Eric: the statute of limitations has run. Can I have it now? Describe something he did that really impressed you: The New Year's Eve culinary extravaganzas. The time, effort and imagination spent coming up with planning a menu, reviewing and testing recipes, working around various dietary likes/dislikes/can't dos (no onions, kosher and gluten-free, really?), and shopping for a gazillion ingredients is enormous. Not to mention the incredible generosity of buying all those luxurious ingredients and cool new kitchen toys. Then the real work (or maybe the fun part for a real chef) begins: prepping and cooking up a storm, yet somehow Eric still has time to catch up with friends, never seems stressed (that is, the speed of his conversation nudges the sound barrier but never quite breaks it), and is so organized that he can actually sit down with the rest of us and enjoy his amazing creations. And, the next morning, sleep-deprived and perhaps a little worse for wear, he waves his magic wand over the leftovers and feeds us all again! Bravo, chef! What are your favorite qualities of his? Rapier wit -- especially when it's not directed at us! Unshakable faith in his friends -- if we were all as knowledgeable/intelligent/talented as we are in Eric's eyes, we'd be a pretty impressive group. Loyalty and dependability -- despite his demanding job and other commitments, we know Eric will always be there for us if we need him Happy 40th, Eric! Love, Christine and David

40: Marisa & Peter

41: It was fate that we became friends with Eric. Had we only had the connection through Chris Lesaca, Marisa's friend and sorority sister from college, well, dayenu. It would have been enough. But NYU had the brilliance to assign Marisa a great roommate -- Marianna. There was no way we would have made it through law school without making life-long friends with Eric Stone. Eric, not only are you a brilliant litigator who never fails to make us laugh whenever we're together, you're also a talented photographer and a master chef. Who knew so many talents could be contained in one man? Just as we were saying the last time we were together, it's funny that every time we're together we comment that we don't see each other often enough. It's as if we still don't realize, even after all these years, what great friends we are and how much we enjoy being together. May we continue to surprise ourselves with how much fun we can have together for the next 120 years! Happy 40th birthday to our dear friend!!! We love you!

42: Joe & Michelle | For all the hours he works, and he works more than anyone we know, Big-time Lawyer Eric is a stranger to us. We know the other Eric, whose hair, were it longer, would surely be down. Sometimes I feel like we're characters in Eric's personal Neverland. We have no stories of courtroom drama, legislative prowess or political wrangling, but we get to see him shine in other ways. Whether cooking, skiing, wine or photography, or even Rock Band drumming and beating 20 thousand tickets out of a video game on the Jersey Shore, Eric seems to be skilled and knowledgeable at everything he touches. We admire his dedication to his family, and his love for Marianna, Emily and Rachel. We're lucky to call him a friend. Eric, forty's been good to you, don't stop getting better. We'll be waiting over here with the talking animals and looking forward to our next adventure. Joe, Michelle, Lila and Noemi

43: Fulsome congrats on your birthday, Eric! I am nonplussed that you are so old. (As Rachel said to my mother-in-law: "And you're still ALIVE?") How fortuitous for all of us that you are...and that you are the hilarious, warm, brilliant do-not-argue-with-him-unless-you-can-support-your-position-like-nobody's-business person you are. I saved what I believe to be my first email from you (except for a birthday invite -- I realize I must be precise when talking to a lawyer), which you sent when we invited your family to Sukkot dinner. It said only, "We should film this. I'm Gonna Get You Sukkah!" Someone who can make jokes about low culture, high art and legal arcana -- occasionally in the same email -- and who can whip up a toothsome alcoholic milkshake on the spot...well, that's exactly what I want in a friend. Happy bday from me and Jonathan...and thank you for never making us have to pretend we am in another theater. -m | Marjorie & Jonathan

44: Jacqui & Matthew

45: Why we love Eric by Jacqui and Matthew OK, for starters, Eric was the one who introduced us to each other. So how skeptical were we when Eric offered to set us up? Well, duh. What self-respecting Wesleyan woman or NYU dude would trust a come-on from a Williams grad claiming that he knew "someone you'd like to meet"? We'll admit it now . . . each of us harbored suspicions that we were about to get set up with a character from The Far Side. But here's the thing about Eric -- besides the obvious fact that he loves people (like us) who are twisted and weird (he married Marianna, didn't he?) -- he cares deeply about the happiness of his friends. Once, we were walking through the Village with Eric and Marianna after a terrific meal about three months after he had set us up. Eric could barely contain his joy at how nicely things were working out between us. The thought that he would always be able to take credit for our happiness gave him so much pleasure, he was practically skipping. Double dates with Eric and Marianna are always the high points of our month. Not only because they invariably involve incredible food and drink, or because the conversation somehow always turns to sex, but because Eric always keeps us thinking . . . and laughing. His wit, his perpetually raised eyebrows, his impeccable ties (well, impeccable until the food arrives), and especially his ability to order us each perfect drinks makes every one of those nights (that we can remember) . . . memorable. But the best outings of all are to Eric and Marianna's apartment, perched high on the edge of Manhattan at Waterside Plaza. There, the expert mixer and master chef in Eric come out, with flawless cocktails and memorable four-course feasts, followed by a viewing of his latest photographic wizardry. The man's talents leave the rest of us mortals more vertiginous than the view does! Eric is a constant presence in our lives. So many times we'll be out without him and see a tempting -- or just weird -- menu item, or an inadvertently bawdy ad, and think of Eric, and what he might say, and laugh. A day without Eric, as Jacqui says, is a day without Eric. But enough with the encomiums already. Where's the cake?

46: Bob

47: Clues 1. You 2. Me 3. And she makes three 4. Never underestimate the power of brown-nosing -- especially in Fort Worth 5. Bob’s brush with aviation law authority 6. As pure as Caesar’s wife -- right! 7. What truly ignited our very mature friendship 8. You always know how to spell -- even when sleep-deprived in the back of a car at 3 AM 9. The most interesting thing about Texarkana 10. Bob and Mario Batali have these in common 11. Maybe if we make it big enough they’ll believe us 12. The crown jewel of the Paul Weiss client list 13. Who says two Jewish lawyers and this Jewish epidemiologist can’t win a case in Texas 14. Where our best ideas went to die 15. Where you became the witness for the prosecution 16. Where Swedish detectives eat Cuban 17. Who do you call? 18. The National Affairs Suite 19. Your achievements are too many to count 20. One man’s fresh meadow is another’s urinal 21. The _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Principle 22. If you can’t find me, just holler these words and I’ll be there. Always. Happy Birthday!

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  • Title: Eric's Birthday Book
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  • Published: over 8 years ago