Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Time I Met Captain Lou Albano

Apparently Captain Lou Albano lived in the condos down the hill from us. One day we kids went out with Dad for a picnic. He went into D’Agastino’s, the local grocery store, and left me, my brother and sister in the back of his Blazer. I was the oldest, barely seven or eight. We lounged with the rear window propped out for fresh air.

We saw this giant man walking down the parking lot towards us. We had no idea where he had materialized from but were immediately scared. He was not only a stranger, but a fat one with a bushy hair and an even bushier beard. There were rubber bands in his hair and he flailed his arms wildly when he walked.

I shrank to the middle of the truck, but he found us. He looked in through the rear window, taking up almost the entire opening with his body. He asked, without a smile, “Do you kids like Super Mario Bros?”

Now, did we? Yes. We played the games all the time and it was one of the dozen cartoons that, whenever it was on, was our favorite TV show for that half hour. The snarky Link character was my little brother’s hero.

But to my child brain, his question wasn’t really if we liked it. It was a threat. If I liked it, he would kill me.

So I responded, “No, but my brother does!”

And pointed at my six-year-old brother.

This giant man looked at him. In that moment the man’s head looked bigger than my little brother's entire body. He was petrified.

The man smiled and handed him a glossy black and white photograph. We recognized it immediately – it was Mario and Luigi, the actors who played the live action part of the cartoon show.

My brother said, “Thank you,” in an empty, confused sort of way.

The giant said some kind of affirmative, then walked away towards the grocery store, flailing his arms.

Both my brother and I sat in stunned silence, trying to figure out what that man’s connection was to this photograph of a fat plumber and his skinny brother.

It was my sister, a four-year-old who only put up with those cartoons to fit in with us, who realized it.

“That was Mario!”

That was the time I met Captain Lou Albano.


  1. heee! I want one! I really liked this one.

  2. stuff nightmares are made of... weird.

    I probably would have screamed... a lot.

  3. This one's actually a true story. I need to make a Non-Fiction tab...

  4. That is absolutely adorable. Rest in peace Captain.

  5. I don't remember this at all, but I'm glad I could help!! Haha, do we still have the picture???
    Great story, excellently executed. It painted a vivid picture for me to hang in my memory closet :o)


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