Life goes on for a man put on permanent hold

December 20, 1996|By DAN RODRICKS

Message from CompUSA, Glen Burnie, to Mr. Ed Bogdan, Linthicum: "Please give us a call about your computer repair." So what's Bogdan do? He calls. And he gets one of those automated switchboards with all the options, including one he didn't know about -- permanent hold.

Bogdan waits on the line and waits on the line. He sets the phone down and takes a shower. He shampoos but, to save time, he doesn't condition. He comes out of the shower and checks the phone. He's still on hold. He can hear the recorded message. He blow-dries his hair. He's still on hold. He goes shopping. He drives two miles to Whitey's. He picks up some lunch meat -- "I love fried baloney" -- then drives home.

And guess what? Still on hold! Outcome: Bogdan hung up the phone, drove to CompUSA, got his computer back, went home and had himself a big plate of his favorite lunch meat. There you go: Happy ending.

'Give us some color!'

About this Christmas lights business: TJI readers overwhelmingly prefer the multicolored arrays to those tasteful twinkly whites.

"When I was younger, we never had to pay to see the lights, we just rode around -- many colors and many different Nativity sites," says John Chase of Columbia. "Now you have to pay, like at Merriweather, and ALL THE LIGHTS ARE WHITE! I know this is for charity, but come on, give us some color!"

"The city decorated the Washington Monument with all white lights, and it's just not as exciting as in previous years," says a disappointed Herman Heyn, Baltimore's Street Corner Astronomer. (Note: The monument has 28 strings of white lights with 980 bulbs. But the first bulb on each string is blue, in honor of Baltimore police officers who have been killed in the line of duty. The blue lights encircle the bottom of the monument.)

Heyn is also a photographer and creator this year of two of the finest Baltimore Christmas cards we've seen -- one of a Hampden "glowhouse," and one of the Washington Monument that makes Mount Vernon look like the snow-cloaked London square through which Scrooge trudged on his way home on Christmas Eve.

Calling all Griswolds

Harford County acknowledges the "Griswold" in all of us this holiday season. The Box Hill North neighborhood in Abingdon will award prizes to homes that best represent the brightly lighted, megadecorated house in the movie, "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation." In the film, character Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) goes over the top with outdoor decorations. Martha Stewart disciples (you know who you are) need not despair. Other categories in the annual contest include "traditional" and "magical." (I'm a Griswolder, in my heart.)

Decorations, with brass

In Anne Arundel County, a TJI reader reports something really tacky -- not the overwrought Griswoldish Christmas display on a nearby street, but the homeowner's request for donations -- for his electric bill, time and materials. Our correspondent says there's a Judeo-Christian term for that -- "Christmas chutzpah."

He's got his number

Monday night, graphic designer David Pugh answered the doorbell at his house, 3106 Parkside Drive, in Northeast Baltimore. There was a shabby, malodorous 30-something stranger standing there, in his hand a brand new 18-by-12-inch address plate, like something out of the Renovator's Supply catalog. In raised brass numerals and letters, the plate declared: Parkside Drive."

The shabby fellow claimed to have "found it" in a trash receptacle on Belair Road. Pugh, perplexed and suspicious, handed the fellow some money and took the plate. Turns out to have been a Christmas gift from Aunt Priscilla in Connecticut. So what's up with that? The Sherlock in me says someone stole a parcel off Pugh's front step and discarded the contents after determining its low resale value. That's where the shabby stranger came in (assuming he was telling the truth about "finding" the plate and wasn't himself the thief.)

Consider yourselves warned.

Tear up this ticket

Could we get the mayor of Baltimore to ceremoniously destroy Roland and Lorraine Brockmeyer's parking ticket, just as a way of saying, "Roland and Lorraine Brockmeyer, we're glad you own an historic building (Chimney Corner, St. Paul and Centre) in the city, we know you pay more than $3,700 each year in property taxes, we know you pay $200 extra for security through the Downtown Partnership, and we don't want you to think the city is ungrateful"? Huh? Could we get that from the mayor?

The Brockmeyers received their ticket Monday morning on Centre Street after a window on their Chevy Blazer had been smashed and a car phone stolen -- and while they were in their nearby office with a police officer writing a report. I think the meter maid -- yeah, I know, they don't like to be called that anymore -- needs a remedial course in discretion.

Pub Date: 12/20/96

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