oh, to have been fathered by a fedora-wearing gymnast

I just received a nice note from a fellow who wanted to know if I was the son of an old college friend of his in Idaho who also happened to be named Mark Maynard. The thought crossed my mind that I could say that, no, I wasnt the son of his friend, but that I was indeed his old college buddy himself. It occurred to me that I could tell him that I was the CEO of a small company somewhere, and that in my spare time I created this character that now exists on-line at MM.com. I kind of like that idea, the idea that Im really an unhappy businessman in my mid-50s, working in the back office of some warehouse, whos created an alternate universe for himself in which hes an obsessive compulsive quasi-artist starting a new family in a small Midwestern town. (I could have explained the photos, I think, by saying that I took out an ad for a man fitting my characters profile and then contracted with this fellow that you now know as Mark Maynard to provide a few photos a week.) Anyway, heres the note that I just received from Norman Kelley.

Is your father also a Mark Maynard who went to the U of Idaho in the ’60’s? If so, I knew him, and thought he was one of the most gifted (seriously, not mental!) and talented people I’ve ever met. He would have been a freshman in, oh, say, 1961 or ’62, and was a gymnast. He put on gloves and a clown suit and tumbled his way down Mainstreet as the lead performer in our dorm’s entry into the homecoming parade. He used to come into our room and BS. He smoked and had the habit of wearing a crumpled fedora. He was about 5′ 6″ and muscular, and I might have been the only guy who took him seriously. Anyway, his (or your) name came up out of the blue this morning, and I looked you up. The things on your website are the types of things I can imagine him doing, or having a son your age, who might have that sense of humor–irony and satire–and when I saw pictures of you and your friend with the daughters, It looked like there was some resemblance in the set of the jaw, if you are the man in the background facing the camera on the first picture on your website today. Anyway if you are my Mark Maynard’s son, please give my kindest personal regards to your father. If not, well, you should have been! My apologies for the mistake. Regards, Norman Kelley

I just wrote back to Mr. Kelley, breaking the bad news that, in spite of the set of my jaw and my quick wit, I don’t think that my father is the man hes looking for. I did, however, mention that I would post his letter to MM.com in hopes that one of the other Mark Maynards in the audience (I know of at least three now) might be able to help him in his quest. So, if you know the whereabouts of the mysterious, tumbling, fedora-wearing Mark Maynard, let me know and Ill pass the information along to Mr. Kelley.

And now I must go to sleep, wondering if perhaps my father has a secret past.

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One Comment

  1. mark
    Posted January 26, 2008 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    There’s a women’s gymnastics meet tonight at UM.

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