Regular Life

Regular Life

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on. – Robert Frost

Real Inspiration for Bernie

(Note: Those reading “Bernie,” please continue today with Part Three)

When I finished up late that Thursday night making a video and doing crazy voices at Moksha’s house, I stopped at the picturesque private college nearby. The snow continued falling fast and steady, with about three inches already on the ground. I missed wooded parks blanketed with snow, and this college was the next-best thing.

I turned carefully into the school’s main entrance — the snow not cleared as well there as on the main thoroughfares. A couple of cars moved slowly in the distance, glistening horizontal cones of snowflakes leading the way.

Across from one of the beautiful buildings bedecked in Greek columns (or were they Roman?), I noticed a dark figure lying on a concrete bench.

As I drove closer, the prone form looked more and more like a homeless man huddling up from the cold. Why would he be out in the open instead of bundled up near a doorway? Was he alive?

He hadn’t been there long, because the snow had only just begun to pile up on him.

Relishing the opportunity to speak to a real homeless person just before posting the first of my chapters about Bernie, I pulled into a side street and parked. I prepped my camera and my recorder, never sure what I might need.

hobofullI cranked up the ISO setting so I could get a few pictures without using flash. A bright white streetlamp shone on him from one side, a yellowish nightwatcher bulb from the other.

My camera’s mirror slap was enough to roust him. He turned toward me, and as soon as he realized I was taking his picture, he held up his hand in protest. “Get away from me!” he yelled.


I managed to get a couple pictures of his face.


I ran to the car and fumbled my keys into the snow. Before he could reach me, I found the keys and got inside. I shifted into reverse and mashed the gas pedal, snow flying out from under my front-wheel drive tires.

I spun the car around and got out of there as fast as I could on the slippery streets.

Despite my risky behavior, I was safe again and would live to write “Bernie” without that man-on-the-street interview.

10 Responses to Real Inspiration for Bernie

  1. I think you should call Moksha right now, because I think you’ve found his long lost twin that he was separated from at birth.

  2. Hmm… how did you get Moksha to lie down on a snowy bench? *LOL*
    Also, how come he hasn’t updated his blog lately??? (too much fooling around with you? *S*

  3. I think it would have been a kindness for you to have given up your own jacket to the poor helpless man sequestered there on the bench. He was obviously suffering from some sort of delusion or cold-induced psychosis, keeping himself exposed to the elements like that.

    Either given him your jacket, or put him out of his corporeal misery and eaten his steaming liver there in the snow as a show of piety to your god.

    You know… one or the other.

    (So, if I had cranked up the ISO setting on my camera a couple weeks ago, I would have gotten better shots at my Burns night supper, eh? I’ll keep that one in my back pocket for future reference.)

  4. Wow, I thought that homeless person was dressed rather well!

  5. So I’ve been coming over to read about Bernie. I didn’t watch the vid from yesterday cuz I was on the laptop and I don’t bother with the vids, I can watch them upstairs later.
    And well, today I’m reading this and thinking, good God, Mark, don’t be an idiot. Leave that poor man alone. And the longer I’m reading I’m thinking, this isn’t Mark. Mark is not an ass. The suspicious side of me clicks on one of the pics and I’m like, holy crap that looks like Mokker…
    You met the Gren!!! That is soooo cool. Is he as crazy and sweet as we thought? (Well, the crazy is attested to here in this post…) And Mokker! That means you got to meet Mark. This is so awesome. Did you shake hands or hug? I gotta know.
    Oh yeah, I completely missed the part “AT MOKSHA’S HOUSE” at the beginning. La, La.

  6. Good story telling on the opening, Mark. Not quite as much of a surprise coming on the heels of yesterday’s film, but fun none-the-less.

    Charles – I’m well aware of that guy. There are those who say he is the rightful heir to the Grenstead throne…but we know better.

    Dave – This sort of foolishness takes quite a bit of time. Sure, Mark may have time to write fiction, film cups, and keep posting to his blog…but he’s some kind of superman or something. Me…I’m content to lie motionless on cold stone benches while various folks on campus cast suspicious glances our way.

    Si – I’m rather glad Mark didn’t consult you for the “art” projects we did. I’m rather fond of my liver and would have been none too willing to part with it just for the sake of Mark’s piety.

    Anna – nicely dressed? That’s my hobo coat, man. My wife won’t let me wear it if I’m near her. I thought it was a perfect fit here.

    Linda – You missed a good vid yesterday. S’all I can say on that. As for the huggins. Mark went for the handshake, I cut him off with a hug.

    Mark – sorry to answer all your posters as if this were my own blog. It’s just that…my place is a bit boring these days ;)

  7. Well, everybody, it looks like the self-employed Moksha has replied to pretty much all the comments.

    I was hoping you’d do that, MG.

    Because I was with a co-worker, I reached out a hand to shake when I first met Moksha. I envisioned the old lean in for a hug while still shaking hands (which, I guess, kind of becomes holding hands, so maybe it’s better we avoided that move). Moksha practically swatted my hand aside and wrapped me up. It was cool.

    Yes, indeed, the foolishness takes time. We ad-libbed everything, but that definitely doesn’t mean we were immune to second or third takes. Once you say something aloud, you get a feel for something else and just keep going.

  8. Moksha….me and my low expectations! I am ready for you to be visiting my blog again and I miss yours! :)

  9. Awww, I want a hug. sniff sniff. I actually had you pinned for a sensitive and respectful person too Mark. I had a hard time thinking that the Mark I know wouldn’t harass a poor homeless man. I actually said in my head ” no way, Mark is a nice guy, he isn’t really going to take a picture?”. I was relieved when it was just Moksha.

  10. “…just Moksha.”

    HA ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha …


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