13 May 2006

In Praise Of Jim Bergman

Jim Bergman can out-drink Immanuel Kant, out-play
Les Claypool, and out-swim Stephen Hawking.


I have a certain troublesome neurosis, and I think it might be familial. See if you can relate.

I have friends. They're all really great folks. Problem is I just don't like to spend time with them. That sounds bad. Let me try to describe it a little better with an example. When I meet a friend for lunch, somewhere about halfway through, I panic and want to leave the conversation. I feel stuck. I feel like I left a stove on somewhere or a door unlocked - whatever it is needs my immediate attention. So that means when I think about making plans with friends, it always sounds like a good idea at first until I realize that about halfway through a conversation, I'm going to freak out and be overwhelmed by the need to flee. It's not their fault, it's mine. It's just plain bizarre. To say that I am as crazy as a shithouse rat might create resentment among shithouse rats.

Here's the flipside. I don't like being alone, either. I discovered this while I was camping solo in Port Townsend a couple weekends ago. I like hiking alone well enough, but I like hiking with Teresa better. I once described the situation to Teresa like this: if I'm home alone, I get lonely and have a hard time writing well. If I'm home and Teresa's nearby, I can't concentrate enough to write. However, if I'm at home in my room with door closed, but I know that Teresa's in the other room, I'm perfectly comfortable. (She's asleep right now, but when she gets up and comes into this room, my writing day will be over.)

This is your brain on Bergman.

Which brings me to my friend Jim Bergman, who was such good company on our recent hike up to Lake Serene that it made me reconsider this whole weird neurotic "trapped" feeling I get, and made me think that I ought to work more diligently on correcting it. Jim's boon companionship during the hike obviated what I had been cheating myself out of by maintaining this neurosis.

Side note: Bergman was incredibly impressed by your resume - the parts of it that I could recall, including the fact that you once were a luthier for Mike Tobias. How obscure is that?

Jim Bergman was born James Bergman somewhere in Washington State thirty years and some change ago. He has a brother and some parents. I'm making all this up because I don't really know. I do know that he holds a degree in Philosophy (with a minor in Cocktail Party Bullshitting, no doubt), and can throw down mind-bending Kantian dialectic with the best of them. Where I met him was during our tenure at AtomFilms. I was the Editorial Producer and he was woefully underpaid for some horrifically boring task that he performed gleefully enough in some rather Spartan accoutrements. I thought he was gay and Jewish. Wrong on both counts. (Or at least as far as I know, lo these 7 years passed.) He got fired - unjustly in my estimation - for exactly what I can't even remember now. Had to do with saying the wrong thing to the wrong person at the wrong time. After that event, he took to relieving his frustrations by becoming a triathlete.

Bergman was also the bass player for a very fun and rather frenetic country band called Colville Melody, a group of unwashed acoustinauts that were a couple hogsheads short of a jug band. He left all that glory to strike out on his own as an enterpreneur, selling gear to his fellow triathletes. He concurrently worked for Roland keyboards, again probably performing some ponderously boring task for low wages in Spartan accoutrements. Then one day he decided to chuck all of that, sold his 1,200 square foot suburban Bellingham ranch for an embarassingly huge sum of money, and enrolled in massage school. And that's where he is right now.

You can't talk about Bergman without talking about drinking. The two are inseparable. It's also difficult to describe the manner of his drinking because the bouts don't last long enough to be describe as a binge, but on the other hand, explosion isn't all-encompassing enough to relay the short-lived incandescence and ferocity of each event. To wit, back in the day, I could out-drink Bergman if you're talking sheer volume, but I could in no way exceed his alcohol-fueled feats of personality-rending stupicifocity. You never knew how many beers it was going to be until the charming Henry Jekyll mask peeled off to expose the howling, pugnacious escapee from the boneless chicken ranch. We had to invent a whole new term for it. We called it "getting Bergmaned". It's no wonder that Bergman, charming and erudite though he may be while sober, holds the world record for alienating women.

With all his foibles, and probably because of them, Jim Bergman is my pal. Jim Bergman will make you laugh - hard. Jim Bergman is just plain loads (truly plural) of fun, just like the rest of my friends, and I should spend a lot more time with the lot of them.

Oh shit I left the stove on.



T K Wilson said...

So if I promise not to use the K word in conjunction with the P word, will you publish this?

I can't go visit at anybody elses house without working. Also,I do my best visiting when I have my hands in or on something (this should not be construed to mean the person or persons I'm visiting with, either.)
Fear of intimacy and fear of abandonement are two sides of the same coin. In fact they may be the same thing. Fuck Kant. Try
R.D. Laing.

People who suffer radical personality displacement under the influence of alcohol are generally thought to be alcoholics.
Alcoholics can be a lot of fun if you don't have to depend on them for anything. Many of them are incredibly sensitive, talented and all that kind of shit. Oh well. sucks to be human.

Anonymous said...

that's very interesting, but I'm stumped on stupicifocity.
I'm gonna go look that up.