Boston's Native Son, and Unofficial Mascot"I'm a big walker, so I walk around and people-watch a lot. I love the character of the city. I love the walkability of it."
Imagine Ben Affleck's character in "Good Will Hunting": a charming, funny lifelong Bostonian able to schmooze anyone at any time.
Add a college degree, a high-tech sales job and a pair of hockey skates and you've got Chris Paone, a guy who says he spent so many of his early years in Arlington — a Boston suburb next to Cambridge — that he was like the de facto mayor of the town.
"Everyone else was in and out of there, and I was there all the time," says Paone. "I knew everyone and everything, and I smiled, so people generally liked me."
It's safe to say Paone probably hasn't changed much in that regard. The son of a local firefighter, he plays hockey, occasionally coaches, and loves Boston, in part because it's an endlessly fascinating city in which to walk.
"I love the fact that I can park my car on Friday night and I don't touch it until Monday morning," he says. "Within a three-mile radius of my house, you can just be in any type of area you want. I could be in the North End — our Little Italy — or Harvard Square, which is a little more chichi. I could be in Inman Square, which has a lot of musicians, is artsy, or Davis Square.
"You go to some of these places and you could be sitting next to the kid who's head of Facebook, and on the other side could be a heroin addict," he says. "There's nothing really generic about it."
Paone was raised on skates. ("The main goal, as I look back, for my parents was to keep us out of prison," jokes Paone. "They kept us busy.") By high school Paone was good enough at hockey to garner an invitation to play for Bentley College (now Bentley University), and he became the first in his family to graduate from college.
Urged by his father to find a better way to make a living than running into burning buildings, Paone found work on Wall Street. "I was the worst stockbroker in the history of stockbroking," he jokes.
He showed his Boston chops on his way out, though, getting into a fight with "some jerk from Columbia [University]. We kind of went at it right in the hallway," he says. "At that point I realized this [job] probably wasn't for me, so I might as well go out with a bang, burnin' bridges."
Back in Beantown he's all charm, promoting medical imaging services for InSight Health Corp.
"For the most part I schmooze old ladies all day, get past them to get the doctors," Paone says wryly. Just listening to his dry, yet upbeat, self-deprecating banter makes you want to laugh, and one imagines that, all kidding aside, he's very good at his job. "I'm not bad," he admits lightly.
Would he live anywhere else again?
"Never," he says quickly. "I'm a big walker, so I walk around and people-watch a lot. I love the character of the city. I love the walkability of it."
Check out Chris' Boston.