RIP David Berman

Leonardo da Vinci, St. Jerome

I was operating the elevator when the repairman came aboard. After a lot of small talk he let me in on an industry secret: the “door close” button is not wired to anything. “It’s just a pacifier,” he said.

On a normal day I think in questions: “Should I quit my job? Why can’t I relate to people? Where am I going?” I can never answer them conclusively and only wear myself out. When I’m high in the back of a club listening to Son Seals play I only think in answers: “I’ll move to El Paso this fall. These solos are wandering into every unused space. My girlfriend is pretty good looking after all. I should see about buying a mausoleum.”

A municipal concession to human psychology: The insides of buses are lit at night because people will not sit in dark rooms with strangers.

I bought some greeting cards in a Nungessers junk shop last night. They’re not much more than twenty years old but the sentiments are already foreign. Fluff from other eras always turns my stomach. What if no one feels these feelings anymore. Do they go down in history like famous clothes?

I wonder if Jackson Pollock unconsciously designed so many of these canvases to have the same dimensions as U.S. paper currency, accidentally imbuing them with some concrete power.

Working at the museum is changing the way I look at everyday objects. Eating at an Italian restaurant, I look at the red and white gridded tablecloth and wonder that all the dishes have their owned unnamed coordinates.

All the guards are freaks. That is a fact. Wouldn’t standing alone in a corner six hours a day over many years change you?

David Berman, "Clip-On Tie," The Baffler No. 6 (December 1994)

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