i met this guy when i was in my 3rd semester of college. in 1979, i lived in stack 6 at fairhaven college, with a bunch of crazy people for the first two semesters, and between the second and third semester i moved into stack 4 with another bunch of crazy people, one of whom was jaymes douglass fyrr (not his real name). before i lived there, the suite was inhabited by a bunch of crazy college
guys adolescents whose idea of a good time was pouring beer down their gullets until they were so wasted that falling out of the third floor window didn’t faze them (really). after they were kicked out moved elsewhere, the suite became the realm of me, my roommate reuter, st. gordy and his roommate (whose name i don’t remember), st. fred, and jim and his roommate (whose name i don’t remember).
jim and i got along the way suite-mates who were from two totally different worlds would be expected to get along – i.e. we were civil, but he didn’t get to know me very well, and i didn’t get to know him very well – and when the year ended, jim went back to his parent’s home and i did “something else” (i didn’t get along with my parents, even then). when fall semester 1980 came around, i had to choose a new roommate if i wanted to live in the dorms, and jim needed a roommate for his apartment in buchanan towers, so i said what the hell.
during the fall semester, we got to know each other quite well, but then it turned out that he didn’t pass a class he needed to graduate, so he dropped out and went back to his parents’ house and i got another roommate, randy (who is a completely separate story).
fast forward a few years to 1983, after my son was born. i was living in a big apartment on the side of sehome hill with my son and his mother, the PHBFH, and we got…
a phone call from jim, who had planned on going back to school, finishing the class that he needed and getting his degree. what it came down to was that i had an extra room in my apartment, and jim needed a place to stay for spring semester. once again, i said what the hell.
it was considerably different this time, compared to the last time we were roommates. jim didn’t want to do his own laundry or cooking. we had meal tickets and “saga” in the dorms, but that was a long time ago, and it got really tense when he asked the PHBFH to do his laundry. also, at the time, jim was getting really cranky and mean, so when he graduated, we asked him to move out.
i should have known then that he wasn’t the best person to hang around with, but i have had a tendency to “forgive and forget” in the past (now i’m just as willing to forgive, but if you slight me, i’m definitely going to remember it), and it wasn’t too long before i was sharing a house with him again. st. gordy owned a house on state street and jim already lived there when i moved in. at the time, i was transitioning between the print shop and the music shoppe, and jim stepped into my vacant position, thus making the transition somewhat easier. for a while we worked down the street from each other, me at the music shoppe and jim at quik kopy, and we would take our lunch break at the park down the street and get stoned. by 1990, jim was developing, what i considered at the time to be, a very unhealty relationship with the “mom and pop” of the “mom and pop print shop” at which he worked (which was part of the reason why i left originally, as well: they were scary people), which was making his crankiness and meanness even worse, and by 1994, just before i moved away from bellingham, jim and i didn’t spend an awful lot of time with each other, simply because he was so disagreeable to be around.
then, in 1995 i moved to seattle, and i didn’t think about jim that much, because i was going through my own little hell, living at 5 different locations and having 3 or 4 jobs within a year before things started to settle down, and in 1996, i got…
another phone call from jim…
it seemed that his toxic relationship with the “mom and pop” had blown up, and he had been fired from the print shop, at which point he got a job at “the other print shop” in town and promptly gotten fired from that, because he was mean to the customers and kept coming to work drunk. he asked if he could come and stay with me while he got “cleaned up” – which i took to mean that he wanted to get sober and get a job. at the time, i was flush with my first successes in the computer industry and, despite my better judgement, i said he could stay with me for a couple of weeks, until he got his feet under him.
the first night he stayed in my apartment, he asked if i had any beer, which i didn’t… so i went out and bought a 6 pack, which – even now – usually lasts me a couple of weeks. i drank one and the next day, i got up and went to work. when i came home, there were no more beers in the house, and jim was complaining that we didn’t have any beer.
at that point (because my father was an alcoholic) i got straight to the point, and said that there wasn’t going to be any more beer, or anything else alcoholic to drink, in the house, and if he didn’t like it, he was welcome to leave… which, after a few days, he did. he didn’t go far, though… i actually caught him sleeping in the bottom of the main stairway in my apartment building, on the “fire escape” level, below the bottom floor, and told him that he couldn’t stay there – actually watched him pack up his stuff and leave twice before he went somewhere else.
it turned out that he had copied my key before he left, though, and when he left, he went back to bellingham, where he met a lady i had worked for, named almitra, immediately prior to moving to seattle (or, it’s possible that he knew almitra before coming to seattle, and conspired with her to get a copy of my key. i’ll never know for sure…), who convinced him that i had stolen her computer – in reality, she had given it to me in lieu of cash payment, but that, too, is another story. i can just picture them, both soused to the gills, and jim saying “i have a key to his apartment, we can just go in while he is at work and
steal it take it back…”
which they did.
it didn’t take much sleuthing to determine who had my computer, and so i went to bellingham with st. gordy (who is a fairly big guy) to find him. the first place we looked for him was at st. gordy’s house, which had been gutted by a fire and had been posted as “unfit for human habitation” by the fire department… and, naturally, we found jim living in his old room, as though nothing had happened. in fact, he was incredulous that we had found him at all, but he didn’t have the computer… it wouldn’t have done him much good anyway, because the electricity (which was the original cause of aforementioned fire) had been shut off.
at first he wouldn’t tell us where it was, but… have i mentioned that st. gordy is a pretty substantial fellow? jim was a predictable drunk, and caved almost immediately, and soon we were on our way to almitra’s apartment. after a tense interaction with almitra, which involved st. gordy and the police, i learned what the phrase “possession is 9/10ths of the law” means, and left without a computer. fortunately (or not, depending on your point of view) i had encrypted the entire disk, so the only thing they could do with it was totally wipe the disk and start over… with no fonts or a typesetting program or anything other than a blank operating system. jim actually called me a couple of weeks after, to try to wheedle the password out of me, but i refused.
i have never seen him since then. about once a year for a while i would get a “i’m sorry, do you still want to be friends” email from him, which i ignored. then i had my brain injury and i stopped hearing from him… i guess maybe he thought i had died, or something, which would have been fine with me.
i got email from him again about this time last year: “remember me?” i wrote back “yeah, i remember you.” and haven’t heard from him since.
this story leaves out A LOT of detail, and merges some of the details together, to save having to go out on long, meaningless tangents in order to explain relatively minor events… but that’s basically my side of the story. if jaymes douglass fyrr finds this via google or something and wants to respond, i probably won’t delete it.