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Archive for October, 2010

Yesterday, while driving down the road, Moni mentioned to John, “Chris sure had a Mr. Magoo summer.” Quickly, John agreed while I wondered who is Mr. Magoo and what does he have to do with my favorite little buddy.

John and Moni knew that a German like me may not be familiar with Mr. Magoo, so on their Ipod, they played the theme song to the 1977 movie, “What’s New Mr. Magoo.” My readers may listen to the song and view Mr. Magoo by clicking on (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDIYmwa6vnQ). The chorus of the song includes a line, “What’s New Mr. Magoo? What adventures have you bumped into?” Mr. Magoo answers, “Would you like to know?”

The video clip shows Mr. Magoo who is a nearsighted, short, wealthy cartoon character. He first appeared in a 1949 cartoon named The RagtimeBear. Because Mr. Magoo refuses to wear corrective lenses, he stumbles into messy scenarios which exacerbate when he refuses to admit there is a problem. Mr. Magoo obliviously walks through surrounding danger clean as a whistle. Amazingly, like Mr. Magoo, Chris bumbled into one potentially catastrophic situation after another throughout the summer.

Make this clear, Mr. Magoo can never drive me.

 I’m a bit perturbed with the kid though, because either Moni’s car or Chris’s gray Toyota truck witnessed these adventures while I sat in my boring garage. Then, Moni, John, and I learned about the excitement by receiving text messages and photographs on John’s cell phone. Life is unfair at times.

Since Chris changed majors from mechanical engineering to business, he enrolled in summer school in 2010. On the last day of classes, he sauntered from the NC State campus back to Moni’s car, which he had borrowed. Nearing its parking location, he glanced up and noticed yellow caution tape stretched across the entire street blocking his access to the blue vehicle. To the right, a fire truck blocked the middle of the street. Chris voiced, “What the crap? How do I get my car out of there?”

Eventually a fire fighter informed Chris, “There’s a broken pipeline spewing natural gas into the air. Nobody is allowed in this area.” This was not the place to start an internal combustion engine and chance a spark.

Text Message Read: "Gas pipeline broke. Mom's car stranded."

The stranded vehicle remained while Scott, a friend, drove Chris to work at Transporter Werks in downtown Raleigh where Sean Fraser, the owner, and his employees restore VW buses, beetles, Karman Gias, and Porsches. I hear that Transporter Werks vehicles are knockout beautiful (http://www.transporterwerks.com/). Even though I want to visit these fine people who love Volkswagens, I’m thankful Chris was not driving me that day. Oh, the thought of getting blown to the moon in an explosion just scares the head lights out of me. After work and hours later, Chris returned to the scene and, like Mr. Magoo, found a parking ticket neatly tucked under his windshield wiper.

About the second adventure, a news reporter commented, “It’s a big story that many people likely slept through.” Not true for Chris and his friends. That evening started with the three Bates members setting up chairs for a Richard Shindell concert (http://www.richardshindell.com/index.php?page=home) hosted by Triad Acoustic Stage (http://www.triadacousticstage.com/). Parked outside a restaurant window, I watched my family dine with Richard, his guitarist, and others prior to the performance at Mack and Mack (http://www.mamclothing.com/). Cameron, a high school friend, joined Chris for the entertaining show filled with sweet music, which I could hear drifting outside to Elm Street. Afterwards, Chris and Cameron joined other friends in downtown Greensboro, while Moni and John drove me home to my garage. The next morning, we received the text message and photograph below.

Text Message Read: "Big tank fire."

Today’s technology at times baffles Moni and John. The small cell phone screen did little justice for the photograph. It was tiny. John put on his eye glasses. Moni, like Mr. Magoo, took hers off. They both squinted and still could not make out the image. John questioned, “Maybe this is the accident we saw on the way home?”

Moni answered, “It can’t be, check out the time it was sent, around three A.M.”

The aging parents decided to show me the photograph. Yea, like a 1970 VW Bus handles technology, have they not looked at my dashboard? Come on. Still, I gave it a shot and asked John to turn on my lights. With my head lights focused on the teeny, weensy screen, the image stayed, well, small, and then my head lights crossed.

We waited for the news to inform us that shortly before one A.M. and next to Interstate 40, lightening struck one of the million gallon capacity gasoline tanks owned by Colonial Pipeline. It immediately burst into flames that twisted to the heavens and outward to other tanks. From a highway bridge, Chris and his friends watched in awe as this once in a lifetime event blazed on, ending with contorted, melted metal tanks.

Again, like Mr. Magoo, Chris fumbled into a conflagration that surprisingly did not explode and blow a section of Greensboro off the map. Dang, why didn’t Chris drive me that night? Man, again, I missed all the exciting action.

July greeted Chris in the same vein. Back in Raleigh, while strolling down a side street near NC State, he smelled and saw smoke. Chris exclaimed, “What now?” This time, on a much smaller scale, smoke billowed from the back of a City of Raleigh garbage truck. Moni learned of this adventure from a photograph and text posted on Facebook. Courtney, a special friend, commented, “What the dump?” I wonder if a parking ticket got deposited into that flaming truck. 

Facebook Message: "Garbage truck on fire."

Humor and horror ran thick in our southern blood during the month of August, the third consecutive month of stupidly hot weather. This last adventure made me thankful that I live in Summerfield because zombies are out and about in Raleigh! Driving the streets of the state capital, Chris spotted the North Carolina (NC) Center for Disease Control (CDC) US Dept. of Zombie Removal van complete with the eradicator on the roof!

Facebook Message: "Zombie removal van."

Oh now, this is spooky! What if the zombie removers mistake Chris for one when he is a bloody mess after crashing on his dirt jumping bike? Moni and John tell me not to worry. They have faith that, like Mr. Magoo, Chris will waltz through any incident with grace and a grin. But I so wish that my little buddy would graduate from college in December and come live with me again. I miss him. But first, he may wish to consider a second degree in journalism. That fellow bumps into all the action. Then again, I bet The Onion – America’s Finest News Source (http://www.theonion.com/) will offer Chris a job as a stringer after reading this chapter, degree or no degree. Yes, an office in the upstairs of my garage is a perfect plan. Hum, do you think John and Moni will like this idea?

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