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Writer's Block: Hey, Aren't You...

I've actually had three encounters with the late  NASCAR driver Alan Kulwicki, although I never spoke to him. Since he passed away in 1993, I've often wished that I had.

The first time I saw him was in a karaoke bar. The MC called his name and he came up to the mic, looking very befuddled. Someone had given his name to MC without his knowledge. But he sang anyway. I honestly don't remember what he sang or how well he sang. But he did appear to be a good sport who  could take a joke.

The second time was in another bar. He was sitting at the bar, and I wasn't sure it was him. But he sure looked like the guy I had seen at the karaoke bar. I'd asked a few people if the guy was Alan Kulwicki. Nobody seemed to know for sure. But after he left the bartender, who apparently had asked him, confirmed to me that it was in fact Kulwicki.

The third time was at a local 4th of July concert. My brother's band was the opening act. The whole family went, and initially we all sat together. As the night wore on we dispersed some. At the end of the evening I looked around and saw my father talking in a very animated manner to the man next to him. Pop kept pointing at the stage, so I knew he was bragging about my brother. The man he was talking to didn't say much, but nodded occasionally. Since this was my third sighting, I quickly recognized him as Alan Kulwicki.

When I caught back up with my father, I asked him if he knew who he was talking to. My father's eyes were bad and he wasn't much of a Nascar fan, so he didn't. I told him he was talking to Alan Kulwicki (something Kulwick himself obviously didn't tell him.)

This last encounter gelled my opinion of Kulwicki. Here was a man of considerable fame and accomplishment listening patiently to a complete stranger talk about his son's accomplishments. And he did this without once saying "I'm Alan Kulwicki". He was obviously a very classy guy.