September 10, 2008

The tarp and the jersey

Two or three weeks ago, I braked abruptly when I saw a motel in a tiny town. Last week, I did it again, in one more tiny town. This time, it was raining -- the remnants of Hurricane Gustav pushing north, I believe -- and foggy, and generally not pleasant to drive. Camping destination still a couple of hours ahead in this peasoup. Then I suddenly saw the Mushroom Cap Motel in Mesick, Michigan. How could I not stop?

It turns out that Mesick styles itself the mushroom capital of the world. A photocopied Conde Nast article in my room is about searching the nearby woods for the morel mushroom. Interesting enough, but in this weather I am not raring to go mushroom hunting. I'm happy being in a bed in a room in a motel named for a food in a city that's the self-proclaimed world capital for that food. (How's that?)

Across the road from the motel is Thirlby Auto Parts. Spread between two prominent signs is a list of what they offer: Guns, Camping, Fishing, Sporting Goods, Ammo Licenses, Bait Tackle. Oh, and a Free Battery Test.

What of all these qualifies as "Auto Parts"? Wrong answer: mushrooms.


Also in Mesick, a sign informs me that the Lions Park Restroom was "closed due to vandalism" and the next meeting would be on September 17.

Got that?

On the way out of town I pass a "Gift Shop". It lists two items: "Figurines", and "Tarps".

Sure, I think my 9-year-old has always wanted a tarp. Question is, should I have it gift-wrapped?

Still further, there's both the "Twisted Fish Gallery" and "French Bulldog Photography". So by the time I get to the "Fifth Third Bank", I fully expect it to have "24 hour banking". And it does.


Further north, County Road 66 slices due east from the shores of Lake Michigan. There's a large sign by the side of the road that says "Barberville. Population 4." I looked around for Barberville's four residents, but didn't see them. A little further on is a another sign pointing left to Bliss. So I get it now: you don't see those four people in Barberville, and you find Bliss. Makes sense. Especially because there's yet another sign titled "Cockatiels for sale", and still another saying "The Flower Lady's Farm and Woolery."

Passing Pachy Road, I wonder what would happen if they had a skin doctor there. Would she be a Pachy-dermatologist? And so would you find elephants standing around there? And what if they had Konkani speaking aunties there, would they qualify as Pachy road pachies?


At a small eating establishment, I ... eat. Next to me on the wall is a glass fronted showcase, and it houses a sort of grubby blue football jersey with "97" on it. The handwritten label says of it: "2001 game worn jersey -- Tracy Scrogins DE used in the last game in the Silverdome."

I'm not sure what to make of this. First of all, I presume this is not Tracy Scoggins, the actress. No, I can't see her playing in the last game in the Silverdome and flinging her shirt into the crowd. If it isn't, it must be Tracy Scroggins, pro football player with the Detroit Lions. But more than that, is it really true that he wore this shirt in a game, presumably sweating buckets, and then somebody bought the thing?

Well, yes, and the showcase has a sticker sort of confirming this. It is a "Certificate of Authenticity", bearing certificate number 2A08470, and it is signed by a Stephen Rocchi, bearing title "Professional Sports Authenticator."

Now there's a profession worth pursuing. I wanna be a Professional Sports Authenticator. Only, how do you get in? Can you earn degrees in professional sports authentication?


Anonymous said...

Ot - but here is some news on Varsha Bhosle.

I used to read all your exchanges on rediff.
You always mentioned she was one of your favorite columnists.

Hope she gets better

Anonymous said...

whereis countyDDD?

Dilip D'Souza said...

Thanks Nikhil. I heard about it too and am trying to send her some flowers.

Anon above: in northern Wisconsin, near Appleton.