Nov 5, 2011

Berns stopped by for a drink the other night.  He was wearing his famous, tattered cashmere coat and not looking well.  "I feel like Greece," he said. "I am Greece."

I proposed some old Polish Vodka out of the freezer and he agreed.

"Everyone I know is still looking for work and not finding any," he went on. "Most are giving up."

"Get a grip," I said. "You didn't think you were going to get a job at your age, did you? It's all rigged. Haven't you figured that out?"

"I still have certain skills."

"What are they? List them."

He shrugged his shoulders. "Branding expert; illustrator; mechanic; furniture designer, 'idea man', zoo keeper....I was also a bon vivant once.  And before that, a jokesmith."

"What happened to that?"

"It didn't lead to anything substantial. Well, marriage if you count that. And now I can't remember any of the jokes.  But worse than that I just feel like Greece. I feel like everything is collapsing. I feel like my Parthenon is in ruins."

"What's your Parthenon?"

"My mind, basically."

I told him he needed to stop being so I-I, me-me.  Get out of yourself, I told him.

"No," he said. "I am.  Actually I did find a job.  Doesn't pay anything, but it keeps me out of trouble and actually it's a way where I feel I can go a and get a high dose of common misery?

"What is it?"

I've become a full time activist.  And then he went on to tell me how he goes over to Oakland every day to be with the occupiers.

"Your father was a banker," I said.

"Don't you think I rue the day?"

"But so what do you do over there?"?

"We have 'mike check' and I talk to these kids about the old days.  A lot of people are paranoid."

"You must feel right at home."

"I do and I don't."

"How long can you keep this up?"

"I can't; I'm done with it."


"You know why.  Because it's fucking boring.  I realize I can't stay with causes because they're so fucking boring."