Interview with an Icon
By Mark Davis
Published Oct 1, 2007 8:00 AM
Have you ever seen this man of stone near the Men's Gym?Have you ever seen this man of stone near the Men's Gym?
Like the Black Dahlia and the ingredients of Pink's Hot Dogs, he's a Los Angeles mystery, covered in vines and trapped in concrete on the UCLA campus. He's an athlete, perhaps a hero, from days long gone, cemented for generations to a brick wall.
The typical Bruin passes him all the time while trekking to and from class along Bruin Walk. Most never notice the gridiron warrior peering from the Men's Gym wall, football tucked tightly under his arm, stone face focused and determined, intent on a faraway goal. What secrets lurk beneath that Sphinx-like demeanor? We thought we'd ask.
Copyright ©Illustration by Nishant Choksi
Excuse me. I know you're under those vines somewhere. May I speak with you for a moment?
Thank you, Mr. — What shall I call you?
The answer is hidden.
Rumor has it you're a tribute to legendary UCLA football Coach Red Sanders.
My origins are but shadows.
Well, then, what can you tell me?
I can't tell you what I can't tell you.
OK, sorry to have disturbed you. I'll just put these vines back where they were.
No!! ... OK, buddy, look. The truth is, I'm just a regular Joe. I can't tell you nothing because I don't remember nothing.
You don't know who you are?
No, buddy, I don't have the slightest. I think I'm a running back. No a nickelback? Quarterback? That doesn't sound right, either.
Let's back up. What's the first thing you can remember?
OK, see, I was sitting there one day, minding my own business, looking out over Royce Quad.
Yeah, Royce Quad. It's the 1920s. I'm up there on Royce Hall, looking out at Royce Quad. The whole campus is a construction site, see? There's cranes and trucks and noise. Check the construction pictures, there I am, happy as a clam. Then, "BOOM!"
No, not "boom." "BOOM!" Next thing I know, I come to, I have this serious headache and this huge knot, like somebody knocked me in the noggin, and I'm bricked into this wall, a pool on one side and Bruin Walk on the other.
Did you ever ask anybody what happened?
Who am I gonna ask, that dame in the sculpture garden?
So why open up now?
A guy gets lonely up here. I'm a team player without a team. And I was hoping you could tell me who I am, brother.
How can I help you?
For starters, you can find out who was the son of a gun who conked me over the head and dragged me from Royce and stuck me to this here wall on Bruin Walk.
I'll see what I can do.
And buddy, one more favor.
Tell the dame in the sculpture garden I'm sorry that I stood her up.