Monday, February 15, 2010

He's Either Really Boring Or Really Crazy

Mag’s Sentence spent another relatively fruitless weekend conducting surveillance on Mike Magnuson’s home. Either he knows we’re watching him and is keeping as low a profile as possible or he’s a dull, routine-bound middle-aged man who simply never does anything exciting or worthy of note. Our current thinking tends toward the latter, duller interpretation. The guy puts the mono into monotony, if you dig what we’re saying.

Consider his weekend: Saturday, he walks the dog at seven a.m. Forty-five minutes. Then he disappears into his house. At noon, he walks the dog again. Thirty-minutes. Then he returns with a couple of plastic bags from Ralph’s. At two p.m., he leaves on bicycle, wearing shorts with a hole in the back. Three hours. He returns sweaty and momentarily disoriented, and we send our operative up the street to engage Mike in casual conversation.

Transcript follows (edited for clarity):

Operative: What’s your favorite book?

Mike Magnuson: The one I’m not reading.

Operative: Why?

Mike Magnuson: Exactly.

Operative: What’s your favorite movie?

Mike Magnuson: Patton.

Operative: Really?

Mike Magnuson: No.

Operative: What’s wrong with me?

Mike Magnuson: You.

Operative: You don’t know that.

Mike Magnuson: I don’t.

Operative: When will I know?

Mike Magnuson: You won’t.

Operative: Will I know when I won’t know?

Mike Magnuson: You won’t.

Operative: What’s the point of asking you questions?

Mike Magnuson: On my bike ride this afternoon, I ended up doing hill intervals in Forest Lawn cemetery – you know, the place where Michael Jackson and a number of other people are buried. I would charge up the road that climbs westward after the park entrance and would really try to kill myself all the way to the top. I’m not climbing very well lately – probably today I maintained the identical rate of speed as a circus bear might on a unicycle (well under the park-wide speed limit of fifteen miles per hour) – but the point of such an interval is not the speed but the duration of exertion and of course the feeling of killing myself without actually joining the thousands of dead people lining the road on the way to the top. Mourners lined the road, too. The living. Old ladies picnicked for the day by graves and burned incense. Groups of people in black surrounded holes with the dead just put in them. Some of the mourners arrived and departed in black cars that I believe they own expressly for the purpose of attending funerals – that’s how goddam wealthy people can be around Los Angeles, at least before they take their place in the ground at Forest Lawn cemetery. No one looked at me when I huffed and puffed and sloughed up that hill five times in a row. Not one cyclist was anywhere in the park, let alone doing intervals. So here’s a question to answer your question: Do you think I’m disrespecting the dead by doing intervals in a cemetery?

Operative: Why do you think I’m qualified to answer that?

Mike Magnuson: I don’t know. Your guess is as good as mine.

Now, can you make any sense of that? We sure can’t.

On Sunday, Mr. Magnuson’s schedule was exactly the same as Saturday’s – to the minute.

We still believe he’s up to something he shouldn’t be doing, but for the moment, we have no idea what that might be. Could be that boy is plain crazy in the coconuts.


  1. If you are not afraid, and you have access, doing your intervals before or after daylight avoids any disrespect for the living. For them, ignorance is bliss. As to whether your actions are disrespectful to those in repose, you must consult your shaman/rabbi/priest/pastor/etc.

    A desolate cemetery, without traffic, might be a real good place to do dusk or dawn intervals.

  2. Is this a dirt road? If so, Heckawee approves but watch the corners: don't want slide off into a headstone. If paved, Heckawee also approves provided you salute the spirits for the KOM points.

  3. The dead could care less. The living? Buddy, this is El Lay, most of those people died years ago and only resemble living when they're due for new botox or the cell phone rings. If any of them got off the cell phone long enough to notice you, they probably thought you were an Angelic courier of some sort. "Bicycle? What being from this world would do THAT?!"


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