Dead Berkeley Bones ID’d

by Steed Dropout
Oct. 18, 2014

The Poynter sisters drummer visiting Berkeley’s oldest espresso-pull, identified the Med skeleton as “Eric,” from Morgus (sci-fi-horror films) Ch2, New Orleans. “He scared me when I was a baby.”

“Alas poor Eric, I knew him, Horatio,” a Med-head alluded.

That Halloween skeleton ($14.29 Costco) playing the piano at Berkeley’s notorious Caffe Mediterraneum has now been identified as “Eric.”

Alas poor 'Eric,' I knew him Horatio--Shakespeare. Photo by Ted Friedman.

Eric has won over many Med heads with his zany humor; the skeleton has a following and is often on the periphery of nearby conversations. If you didn’t know better, you’d think Eric was networking.

Eric may be more than a mascot. He symbolizes the last scream from the Med as it struggles to maintain its role as a popular hell-hole on the South Side.

Last Scream. Photo by Ted Friedman.


The Med is no longer for sale, according to the owner; his realty listing has been changed, he told me. “Now I’m giving the business away to anyone who will pay for capital improvements–between $250,000–$300,000,” Becker said.

Becker denies it, but his mood seems lighter and he seems to be more relaxed. He has delegated more tasks and accepts that he can’t fix all broken equipment…so nothing to get worked up over.

Replacement for long-broke roof fan. Photo by Ted Friedman.

Now if someone would just accept the Med “for free.”

The last offer this good was “a free trip to Hawaii” at last year’s holiday fair across the street from the Med, where someone won the free trip. “You must have expected a catch. There’s always a catch,” admitted the trip promoter.

The catch was you have to pay for a hotel room. “You don’t expect to sleep on the beach, do you? It’s not safe,” said the promoter.

The price for getting the Med for free is substantially higher than four days in Hawaii.

A new owner would probably do something about the Med floor, which is embossed in dirt that has been pressed (artfully Becker says) into pliable linoleum tiles, but then Eric might not feel at home and many Med Heads would think they were seeing things.

There’s a desperate hint of devil-may-care in the choice of Eric to be house pianist–perhaps with a long run, as Craig Becker, the Med’s owner has always clung to Halloween decor. Now that ASCAP (American Society of Composers/Authors) has killed off all live performances in the Med, Eric gets the house pianist role by default.

Becker can be as playful as the next Telegraph Avenue businessman. If the piano serves no other purpose, it serves as a shelf for a motley collection of puzzles and board games.

“Why do people even bother to look at the [allegedly filthy] floors when I give them so much else to see,” Becker has often wondered.

At press time, two major items have replaced at the Med: an expensive espresso machine and two front windows smashed by a street person.

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