Saturday, March 28, 2009

Fu Manchu

How my hot little mid-life crisis Honda S-2000 entered my life in 2000 is a pretty good story. It all started when the Honda dealer forgot to wash my green Accord… But that’s for another blog on another day.

BUTLER: “Why do you tease people like that?”

BAGMAN: “He loves it! Leave him alone!”

Today I just want to explain his name. I originally called him Shadowfax after Gandolf’s horse in Lord of the Rings. But it never felt right because I once had a ten speed bike I called Shadowfax. And my beard isn’t long enough.

BUTLER: “You don’t even have a beard!”

BAGMAN: “Let him dream! I have enough beard for all three of us.”

So it was really just a car. A cool one. I loved it. Fire Engine Red – except my friends in the Sheriff’s Department tell me that they call it “Arrest Me Red.” But I never got a ticket and never went much over 8 miles per hour above the speed limit. Usually. Sometimes. But if I am the lead car at a stop light, I get up to the speed limit pretty quickly.

And I adore on ramps to the Interstate if no-one is around. And my adrenalin is still up from taking it to an autocross race with a friend of mine last year which is where the pictures were taken.

BAGMAN: “And I love the way the girls look at us when the top is down!”

BUTLER: “They’re looking at Fu, not you. They look even more when the top is up. But please, you two testosterone junkies, just tell the story about the name and get on with it.

On July 18, 2005, I got a phone call at work. Modern, fast-paced medicine. Ptui. I never thought they did this kind of thing over the phone but a doctor whose name I have now repressed, matter-of-factly told me that the results of my biopsy were back and I had moderate to advanced prostate cancer. And have a nice day.

The journal of the next 9 months would make a good 87 part blog which some would find hilarious, some would find a bit nauseating, and most find boring so I doubt I’ll ever post it although I do share it, through my surgeon, Dr. Keane, who I do remember and respect, with other people who get that diagnosis.

BUTLER: “The car, Mark. Focus. You are writing about the car.”

Okay, okay – so for the first couple of weeks, I went on an emotional roller coaster of deep depression, abject terror, and also some amazingly ecstatic moments of deep joy over things like clouds in the sky. It was one of those incredible moments, driving way too fast, with the top down, staring at clouds, when a country song by Tim McGraw came on the radio.

BAGMAN: “Please tell me you aren’t about to print all the lyrics!”

And I’ll copy the lyrics below:

He said: "I was in my early forties,
"With a lot of life before me,
"An' a moment came that stopped me on a dime.
"I spent most of the next days,
"Looking at the x-rays,
"An' talking 'bout the options an' talkin’ ‘bout sweet time."
I asked him when it sank in,
That this might really be the real end?
How’s it hit you when you get that kind of news?
Man whatcha do?

An' he said: "I went sky diving, I went rocky mountain climbing,
"I went two point seven seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu.
"And I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter,
"And I gave forgiveness I'd been denying."
An' he said: "Some day, I hope you get the chance,
"To live like you were dyin'."

He said "I was finally the husband,
"That most the time I wasn’t.
"An' I became a friend a friend would like to have.
"And all of a sudden goin' fishin’,
"Wasn’t such an imposition,
"And I went three times that year I lost my Dad.
"Well, I finally read the Good Book,
"And I took a good long hard look,
"At what I'd do if I could do it all again,
"And then:

"I went sky diving, I went rocky mountain climbing,
"I went two point seven seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu.
"And I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter,
"And I gave forgiveness I'd been denying."
An' he said: "Some day, I hope you get the chance,
"To live like you were dyin'."

Like tomorrow was a gift,
And you got eternity,
To think about what you’d do with it.
An' what did you do with it?
An' what can I do with it?
An' what would I do with it?

"Sky diving, I went rocky mountain climbing,
"I went two point seven seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu.
"And then I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter,
"And I watched Blue Eagle as it was flyin'."
An' he said: "Some day, I hope you get the chance,
"To live like you were dyin'."

"To live like you were dyin'."
"To live like you were dyin'."
"To live like you were dyin'."
"To live like you were dyin'."

And that is how Shadowfax became Fu Manchu, although I now realize that I shortened the two words into one.

I really love Fu. Zooooooooom!


  1. Morning BBM
    I hope that you and Fu Man Chu have many many enjoyable times together ( I suppose those other 2 will always be in the dickey seat..)

    My Beloved is a mopar enthusiast. He imports and restores them and then once a year for a very special treat he races them.
    His special day has grown into an annual mopar event here in Au called Mopar Sunday. (If you are interested try
    Happy driving

  2. A fast red car, yes I see you both in it....

    Very sexy, very smooth, very in the moment, living on the edge day at a time.

  3. I heart that car (sorry...) - I would be the one, ruby-red mouth and bright blue eyes wide open, staring like a loon at the traffic/stop-lights!

    I don't blame you for your too Foo-foo obsession B & B - I would give in to it too...

  4. Hi BAGMAN
    At least you realise and are prepared to admit that a sports car can be an ego/mid-life crisis thing!
    Once we understand this, we can all get on and enjoy what gives us a hoot.
    Me - I have a red car too. Only thing is it's a Hyundai XL ten years old. I couldn't afford to have a more showy mid life crisis, but it probably sufficed.

  5. Haha, another awesome blog! I like Fu because it is red lol! That doesn't make any sense, I know.

  6. Nice car! And yes, it is Arrest Me Red. My husband wont let me have a red car for that very reason, well that and I have a tendancy to get pulled over a lot as it is, so why draw more attention to my led foot.

  7. My mother has an Arrest Me Red car. I drive it as often as I can because I am telling you it's does a girls confidence some good. Enjoy Fu. Love it!

  8. hi,
    it's a magnificent car. i love red ones!
    i linked to you today at my blog, come on over if you can!
    love The Gnu

  9. My first car (when I was 21) was a red Mazda sports car. It was a convertible and I thought I was so sexy in it! I loved that car. Hubby has also done the dance with prostate cancer, but he was not close to the edge of the cliff and his dance was less scary.

  10. I've never owned a sports car, red or otherwise. But when Linda and I spent a month touring the Atlantic Provinces a couple of years ago our rental car was a red mustang convertible with a white top and white interior!

    We felt really Bad driving around in that sucker for a month. It was tempting to forget the plane ride home and just drive straight back to Ontario and hope they never found us!

  11. Look, I don't know how many times I have to tell you to stop taking my car out for drives and taking your picture in it and "pretending" it's your car!!
    Everyone can clearly see that that (I know, I repeated a word, please don't send the word police) lil red car has Reggie Girl written all over it.
    I hope Prince don't see this post......I NEVER let him drive my car and he's already jealous of you. Or is it Bagman that he's jealous of? I dunno, I'm a lil confused......
    Call me.........sersiously dude......
    (And please tell Barry not to call me wild. I prefer the term feisty and slightly off balance thank you very much!!)

    Love the car.........I'm jealous....

    Steady On
    Reggie Girl

  12. cancer over the phone ? good for cars.......i drive one and thats about it.....too fast freaks me out, too slow freaks everyone else out.......i was however told early in life that exceptional people have red cars.........mine is silver, go figure xx

  13. B& the car!
    Love the lyrics!
    Love the post!

  14. Wow- love the car! Enlighten me though, why do guys tend to buy RED sports cars in their mid-life crisis? Why not orange or yellow or or or... On a serious note, glad you obviously overcame the medical news.

  15. I had a Volkswagon. No convertible top, but I thought I was "cute" driving around with flowers in my hair.

    Don't bring that car to Crisfield. We have a 35 mile a hour speed limit when you hit the city limits. I have always been a speed demon but the ticket gods love me; one ticket for running a stop sign in the 80's.

    Last year I was stopped by a new cop for doing 50 in the 35 mile hour zone. I had rushed out of the house to cover two National Night Out events for law enforcement agencies. How ironic is that?

    I was heading from one event to the next and was about 500 yards from my destination when the lights came on.

    "Did you know you were doing 50?"

    "No. I was coming from Princess Anne to Crisfield to cover your events for the paper. I have a deadline."

    A look of embarrassment on his face.

    "Can I see your license?"

    "I ran out so fast I left it at home."

    A look of, "Umm?" from both of us.

    Time starts to laugh at my deadline as the officer calls my tag number in.

    Tick, tick, tick.

    "Well, I am going to give you a ticket for driving without license, a $40 fee as opposed to $150 fee for speeding."

    I thought that was fair.

    I still speed, but I keep it to 45.

  16. when I graduated from university at the age of 47, Camillo bought me a PURPLE Z3 - I miss it terribly - he wouldn't let me bring it to Brasil 'for safety reasons' yeh I bet - it was the greatest car to drive up the ramp in the parking garage - I used to always go to the top (floor 13) then come back down to my parking spot on the ground floor....we do what we got to do.