There is something absolutely gut-wrenching about having to say goodbye to someone you genuinely care about, and I’m certain most of you have had to go through this on more than one occasion.
Even though you might know in the back of your mind that you will probably see this person again down the road, it still gnaws that you won’t be seeing him or her as often as you’d like, or in the setting you are accustomed to seeing that person in on a regular basis. Maybe it’s work. Or a neighbor. Or a close friend. Or a loved one. Whatever the case, saying farewell to that person you have grown close to over a number of years can make you feel as if something very important is being ripped from your heart.
Luckily, that is not the case with Bob Bertram leaving us here at the Point.
Nope. Everybody is pretty darn happy to see our art director make his final pass out the door. We’re thrilled that we no longer have to deal with his cheery welcomes as we enter the office, or be exposed to his mind-numbing talents at the computer. No longer will we be subjected to his kindness and generosity — nor will we be held hostage by spending time with someone we all truly care about.
And, yeah, those previous paragraphs were just dripping with sarcasm.
Our dear friend Bob Bertram is packing up his belongings and joining his lovely wife, Maria, for a cross-country trek to set up home in Mount Shasta, Calif. We have all heard Bob wax nostalgically over his previous time in Mount Shasta, and how he had to fight off dinosaurs and other cavemen in search of something to eat, so we knew this was a place very deep in his heart. So, yes, we are collectively happy to see him chase his dream of living there again.
But we still want to throw eggs at him for leaving us.
To be fair, I might be the only one wishing to throw things at Bob. Most everybody else here has been walking around with glum looks on their faces as they ponder life without “Bobdozer.” There are very few people you have the opportunity to meet in life who are genuinely liked by everybody they meet, and Bob is one of those guys.
He’s brilliant, but unassuming. Creative, but always open to new ideas. Hard-working, but doesn’t carry himself like a martyr.
We have had several people sit in the chair next to Bob over the years for their first job at a professional newspaper. Each and every one of those individuals has made a point of telling anybody who would listen just how much Bob helped them during their time here. He is the pied piper of graphic artists here at the Coastal Point, and the fact that he has maintained that respect despite wearing Crocs and Hawaiian shirts every day speaks to the man himself.
Take a moment and ponder that, if you will. Could you respect a boss who looks like he just stepped out of a fraternity party from 1938? You would if it was Bob.
He’s that guy.
On a personal level, it would be impossible to fully explain how much I’m going to miss Bob’s day-to-day presence in my life. One of my guilty pleasure at work for the past nine years or so has been that day or two a week when Bob and I were the first people in the office for about an hour or two.
We would sip our coffee and talk about our weekends or movies or politics, and then casually slip back into different directions to get our respective days started. It’s been a nice ritual that has meant much more to me than I’d guess Bob even knows. And those ridiculously-early mornings will now feel a bit empty.
But, again, I don’t want to harp on the negative here. Bob has been a dear friend to me, both in and out of the office. Together we have vacationed, dined at local restaurants and fought tooth-and-nail over hands at a poker table. We have laughed hysterically, quietly mourned together and picked at each other to the point where others around us thought we have crossed a line — though both Bob and I know that line doesn’t really exist with us.
We say whatever we want to say to each other, argue as hard as we wish to argue and disagree with vehemence. And it is always taken as intended — good-natured and never with real malice. And I will miss every second of it.
Bob, you’ve had a great impact on me, and made me a better editor and man. Best of luck to you and Maria.