My Best Friend-Hank Berman

Robert Altman and Hank Berman

March 1, 1997

My "Best Friend"

I'll be your "best friend" ...remember that line?

There is no question who my best friend's Hank Berman.

Now he's not the oldest good buddy I have...that distinction would fall to Roy Joselow. Know him since I was five.

But Hank surely is my best friend.

Among the myriad reasons why I love this guy is that Hank is a great storyteller. He's our crowd's historian or 'griot.' He loves to spin lore and one of the tales he loves to tell is how we first met, a rather inauspicious day.

He reminds me that we first layed eyes on each other at Hunter...(College) in 1963. My then girlfriend Ellen Scheff introduced us during finals and at that time it was not unusual to fiercely do some last minute cramming. At times caffeine fueled us, but since this was the Sixties it was also chic to use more substantial 'controlled' substances for the all nighters. Our meeting occurred on such an occasion. I had been up for three days straight, studying for and taking my final examinations. I was so wrung out after the last of these ordeals that when Ellen came over and said-

"Robert, I'd like to introduce you to a good friend...this is Hank"

I lamely snorted back-

"Yeah, so what pudknocker?"

God, with zero provocation, seething and spent from 72 hours sleeplessness and cogitation, I blasted him. Every time he reminds me of this item I crack up because it's really not me.

Really. No, really!

Somehow we survived all that and found a zillion things in common. We have been uncommonly super chums ever since. We twinkle.

Hank is tops and very successful at his profession, Psychotherapy. Honestly, I sometimes need an appointment just to hang with him.
>begin plug< If you want an appointment why not call him at 415 346-1380. >end plug<

He has also sired two magnificent daughters- Sarah Nicole and Milena. The man crowns all this by playing the wickedest blues harp you ever heard. Hank speaks fluent 'sign' and is a well sought after translator. Both his parents were deaf and late in their life Henry became their only child

My latest campaign is to have Hank buy a computer, a Mac computer, but I'd happily settle if he wound up with a PC. Nah, ...definitely a Mac. Anyway, most of our friends are not only going digital, but are wired to the Web and get Email. Amazing that he has resisted this long because he loves to dabble with digital stocks and some of his key clientele hold influential office in Silicon Valley. Oh well, one of these days.

He's my best I his?

Hard to say. I mean this man is good mate to many, plus he's a natural charmer and his friendship is well sought. I wonder who his best friend is...but then, I would never ask. That might tilt the balance with his mates...and they're my friends too.

Hey, maybe one of them thinks I'm their "best friend."

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