Here is an example of the power of Jim. I went to his birthday party tonight, see. It was an intimate little affair at Fire & Ice in Harvard Square, maybe 20 people tops. That's how many Jim had told them might be showing up. You always figure in a few cancellations.
I arrived 10 minutes beforehand and found a small cadre of Theatre@First folks hanging around outside. There were five, maybe six of us. We were waiting for Jim. The sidewalk outside was crowded as the inner foyer was already full, so we jostled for space among the groups of other people clustered around the outside door. It was real crowded outside and I worried if we'd actually be getting that table for 20 if so many other people were waiting to get in tonight.
Eventually someone got Jim on the phone and he said he was just a few seconds away, and he was bringing people with him. We all agreed this was a good thing, as we were afraid that if it was just seven or eight of us at a table for 20, things would look pretty darn silly.
Then Jim walked around the corner with Keri and a few others in tow. We recognized him immediately because it's not hard to do.
"Hey, it's Jim! Hey, Jim! Happy Birthday!!"
Only we weren't the ones who said that. Someone behind us beat us to the punch. And then more people said it. And more. And more. So we joined in, lending our voices to the growing chorus.
Turns out every single person waiting outside Fire & Ice was part of the birthday party. We were no longer a cadre, we were a full-fledged mob; a Jim Nation. It was amazing.
We all tromped downstairs and got a table. Well, three tables, actually. And people still kept pouring in and filling up every available seat. Eventually they gave us two more tables after they'd been cleared. All told, 33 people showed up, and I've never seen Mr. Bad Influence so damn happy. He hovered from group to group, always with two alcoholic beverages in hand, and proclaimed, on more than one occasion, that this indeed was the "best birthday ever." I'm pretty sure nobody could argue that.
The afterparty at Maitland's was fun and surprising, too, but this is not the post for that. This post is all about Jim. Apparently the owner of the place took him aside at one point and said, with an appropriate amount of skeptical awe, "Listen, pardon my french, but-- who the fuck are you?!" Turns out we were the largest non-"famous" party that place had seen in ages. Not famous?! Oh, but we were. We so were. Happy birthday, you madman you.