Jennifer & Tom - Photo by Christine Moore

In 1963, Tom Berry was born. He was an only child of an only child, but was named after four generations of Scottish ascendants. His parents, both educators with doctorates, taught Tom to read before he entered kindergarten, where he was "skipped ahead" a year. Tom was subjected to a series of "gifted programs" and promptly began his historic rise to mediocrity.

alien

Tom's baby picture.

When he was six years old, he was too young to be the first man to set foot on the moon. Instead, it was around that time that he followed a pack of feral dogs onto a frozen pond, where he broke through the ice and fell in. He clawed his way up through the jagged hole, clambered onto the ice, and ran home, where his mother made tomato soup, and he had some brand new toy cars called Hot WheelsSee My Little Cars™.

Throughout his secondary education, he found himself the proverbial hexagonal peg in a square hole. His observations of the world around him, and an ample imagination diverted him from scholastic achievement. His tenure at Papillion-LaVista High School was so traumatic that since then his mind has eliminated nearly all memory of it in favor of NASCAR trivia.

He developed amazing talents for playing piano and guitar, and around the time he left High School, he became involved with the Voices of Omaha and the Omaha Symphony, so he killed some time being a music major at the local State University. There, he became dispirited at being forced into mandatory prerequisites, rather than the advanced classes he needed in order to improve. After flubbing his lines during an Italian oratorio, he fled in humiliation, and began dabbling in hotel/motel management.

Meanwhile, his mother had become a Media Guru with entire school districts at her disposal; at the same time his father Ph.D. initiated the "I.T. Revolution" by developing educational software and opening a computer store. Sadly, the family narrowly avoided becoming kajillionaires because, at the time, nobody knew what a computer was.

Although Tom was exposed to Apple IIs (and the first Macintosh) along with the prevalent TRS-80s and Amigas, he eschewed them in favor of local social networking, utilizing such Graphical User Interfaces as "Pac-Man" and "Asteroids."

security clearance

Toward the end of the "lost decade" that was the '80s, Tom began his career in photofinishing and image manipulation. He attended industry seminars and enrolled in relevant curriculae at a local college. There, he scored an astounding 100 percent perfect score on his entrance exams by discovering that, when held to the light, one could discern the answers through the cover sheet of the test form.

Only later did he realize why he enjoyed photofinishing and photographic imaging— he was unconsciously using his talent for graphic artistry to alter reality. After making a particularly bizarre statement (common for him), Tom was once asked, "What color is the sky in your world?"

His quick retort was, "Any Colour I Like!A Pink Floyd video"

Through the 1990s Tom simulated flying Sopwith Camels and F-18 Hornets, and driving Formula 1 race cars. By cheering loudly at the television during football games, he helped lead the Nebraska Cornhuskers to back-to-back National Championships. Meanwhile, in one glorious summer, he single-handedly lost over 100 games of Nintendo Major League Baseball.

More than once he was seen playing assorted musical instruments in local taverns. It was in those taverns that he and his photofinishing colleagues competed in a weekly Mensa Team Trivia tournament and compiled a dominating 13 and 1 record. However, their results in volleyball tournaments were quite the opposite— in three seasons, the only match they won was on the night their opponents never showed up.

For a brief time at his peak, Tom was appointed Assistant Manager of a chain of six photo labs, while being courted by Kodak for a corporate position. Self-training for over a decade, he was prepared for the Digital Age. To his misfortune, the company he worked for— wasn't. It changed its business focus, but the company continued to decline, as the Digital Revolution wiped out the entire industry. The company's owners closed its store locations, and sold off the most expensive pieces of equipment, including Tom. The company no longer exists.

Three days after being released to free agency, Tom spawned, and the trauma of these incidents caused him to suddenly shun his high-profile Hollywood lifestyle. Currently living in seclusion, he declines interviews and is rarely seen in public. Tom practices daily in order to remain a Photoshop whiz, and continues to play guitar, piano, and computer (often at the same time). He studies subjects in many diverse fields and considers himself a typical renaissance man; jack of all trades and master of few.

Barricaded within his mansion, he reads (a lot), and writes about himself in the third- and sometimes fourth-person. He tries, fails, and optimistically tries again. Due to a bitter falling-out with Mattel, he no longer plays with Hot WheelsSee My Little Cars™. Instead, he spends his days rambling about his ancestral estate, crafting his masterwork and tending the gardens of his mind.

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