Brother Steve also mentioned in his recent comment on an entry a picture of me and others in the Occidental Mag, the one with the class notes in it. And sure enough as I thumbed through it I come across a page called “Collective Enterprise” that really is an ad for a coffee table book with pictures of Oxy people and activities for about 100 years. So there we are—me and other people I knew—in a picture right in the middle at the top of the page.
Sort of startled me. Come to think of it I actually knew all these people. Not that we formed a group or anything. I didn’t belong to any groups. But they were all people with whom I felt relatively comfortable. If I had to label us I might call us proto-nerds. Back then there were no nerds but we might have been the evolutionary precursor of the nerds. We were known as people who studied, I think, and took the whole educational game pretty seriously. Later on after Oxy I bumped into one of my class mates and she said I was a “turkey,” which meant gobbler of books. But I didn’t feel back then that I was a social outcast, as nerds are frequently portrayed to be. I was just an outsider. If we were nerds we were tormented nerds, from the inside, not because we felt persecuted by the jocks. But I don’t think of nerds as being particularly internally tormented.
I think our picture is at the top of the page because we are all seated in front of replica of the Star Ship Enterprise made out of beer kegs and cans. Thus the title of the piece, Collective Enterprise. I have no idea what I was doing that day or why I was there, but there I am. Sure, I liked Star Trek. There hadn’t been any good science fiction TV shows on for a long time. But I am surely not a Trekkie.
On the far left, that’s Jesus. He is the one who submitted the picture to the collection. He is a director for TV. He did numerous shows for the different Star Treks and recently directed an episode of Criminal Intent now on USA. Next to him is his wife to be, Gayla, though they separated a number of years back. Next there’s Todd Bergesen; he was the best English Major in my class. I couldn’t keep up with him. Then there’s JG. She and I were like friends, if you know what I mean. Then that’s me all bearded. On the left below is Jim Miller. I think he became a professor. Then there’s Dave Miller who teaches tango in Oregon somewhere in his own private Tango Studio that he made built himself.. And then there’s my main man and good buddy Rex who grew up in Tulsa Oklahoma and got a PhD in Literature.
I get all wierded out looking at that picture. It was so damn long ago, and I really truly regret that I never got to know JG, in a way I might today, because I was so twisted up in my internal misery I couldn’t see too far past the tip of my nose. I am pretty sure now she was an interesting person.
Damn. Looking at that picture is too much like looking at a gravestone.