"Indeed, a minimum of life, an unchaining from all coarser desires, an independence in the middle of all kinds of outer nuisance; a bit of Cynicism, perhaps a bit of ‘tub’."
Friedrich Nietzsche

29 Feb 2016

Guest Contributor—Brad Benson

 More Insights on Jim Christy

Brad Benson on a single car ferry in Guatemala (photo Jim Christy)

EDITOR'S NOTE: some of the most revealing writing comes from people who apologise that they have nothing to say. Brad Benson is even more minimal than Myfanwy Phillips, who said in a previous post: 'I really have no idea WHAT to say about Jim Christy. Of course, I have myriad things to say, but…  In Brad's few words below we learn more about certain aspects of Christy's character, even so, Christy himself is getting uneasy about these continued tributes and pleads for someone to come forward and say something disagreeable about him:

'I'm still trying to come up with someone who'd actually take the time to write something nasty, rather then merely thinking something nasty. I know one woman for sure but she has made it clear that she in no way wants her name linked to mine.'


If you are talking about writing memories of Jim and our travels, I have tried 3-4 times, but it all turns to shit and I go to bed and try to get some sleep.  Seriously, not being able to string thoughts together in any meaningful way is why I have exited from all my activists activity, including letters to the editor, though I still try. Sorry to be a disappointment on this because I would like to be able to tell what I can. I have very good feelings about our travels together, i.e.:

—we never, ever ever fought

—he never ragged on me (or anybody) about anything

—he was a very good driver

—there were never boring moments with him, because he would pull out one of his 
    thousands of interesting "stories" and let rip

—Jim (and what's his name in Guatemala, Peter something) had some great ideas of 
    places to visit that I would never have seen

—he was always square with money

I was always in awe of Jim's work ethic; every morning, if we were not traveling or eating,
    Jim was writing

—on the negative side, the ladies were always more interested in Jim than me

I have great memories of:

the car ferry in Guatemala

—and that knoll in Guatemala with the big spreading tree on top and the ceremonies of the 
    locals, burning cigars like logs in honour of their gods or family

—drinking beer on the beach anywhere

—great conversations from Jim and Paul

and on and on.

Some Reflections on Brad by Jim 

Back in '99 he was a guy I had seen around town—Gibsons on the B.C. coast—but never spoken with. One day we started talking on the street. I told him that me and another guy were heading to Mexico in a couple of weeks for the winter. He said he'd like to go. I said, Okay; Let's meet up.

So I inform the 'other guy' (Paul Murphy) about what I'd done and he wasn't please, said Brad B. was boring, always going on about 'the environment.’ I said, I can't undo the invitation. Brad drove to Puerto Escondido and Murphy and I flew. We landed late at night having been delayed in Mex. City. I had just bought local bus tickets when I heard my name shouted across the airport lobby. It was Brad waiting for us. We got a beautiful, first floor apartment with tile and a private courtyard and all had a great time for four months—including trips to Guatemala. Brad and Paul became real close.

Brad had been a bank vice-president in Chicago and quit to follow a woman to B.C. When that didn't work out, he opened a couple of businesses and finally became a successful carpenter. He had a volatile temper and a strong sense of 'justice'. I might have saved his life (and my own) on more than one occasion. Once trying to cross the border from Guatemala to Mexcio by car, we arrived late and the guard, a muscle bound Indian guard with an Kalashnikov, wouldn't let us cross. Brad got angry and the guard got extremely angry, pointed the gun at him. I told Paul to get Brad out of there. Brad is six four; Paul was five-six—I still have that image of Paul pushing him. I did the deal with the guardpaid him the "fine" (la mordidabribe).

Another time, Brad and I were waiting for a flight at Ho Chi Minh Airport, Saigon. We passed the counter for the First Class Lounge and wanted to grab a piece of fruit from a big crystal bowl of fruit. The young woman told him it was for first class passengers only and he flipped out. She was going to call security, and he was about to bust a blood vessel at the 'injustice' of it until I reminded him that we paid a thousand bucks for out ticket and First Class paid $7,000—so they were entitled to a banana! (I’d been in a cell at that airport for five hours once, and it was no fun).

I got a job building a mosaic tower at our apartment building and Brad made the form. We threw him a great 60th birthday bash. He is the scariest driver, though a great one, that I have ever met. I finally knew what Jack Kerouac felt like riding with Neal Cassady. Murphy would be curled up on the floor calling on the saints. 

Brad left for Canada via the States before we flew back. He wanted to take along with him a sculpture I’d made of scraps wood; when I asked why, he replied that it would allow him to use the HOV lanes (restricted for cars with more than one passenger). So he drove away with Señor Peligroso in a seat belt by his side, tall enough that any cops giving a quick look would think he was a passenger. He is an Iowa farm boy and always open to whatever experience, situation or adventure presented itself. Never got grumpy except when his beer ran out. I guess he's four years older than me. 

Jim Christy 4/4/2016

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