Wednesday, June 12, 2013

23863. Pennypacker

Here's something I didn't have to figure out. I know too much about Seinfeld.

So, after walking around in the heat for a few hours, I found this stone for Orville Pennypacker. Where I grew up, there were no Pennypackers, nor Entenmans, nor Heffelfingers. I'm just not used to seeing their names, on tombstones, in phone books, in police logs, etc.

But the name Pennypacker is not new to me entirely. The problem is that the only place I've ever heard it is on Seinfeld. By the end of the series' run, the three male leads - Jerry, George and Kramer -all had developed aliases, and all ended up using them in one episode, encountering each other in an apartment for sale. They all had to lie about interest in the place to use the bathroom, and bumped into each other, calling each by their false names: Art Vandelay (George), Kjell Varnson (Jerry) and H.E. Pennypacker, the wealthy American industrialist (Kramer, who also at times went by Dr. Martin Van Nostrand).

And therein lies the root of the problem. For a brief moment my tired brain searched its extensive files of American history for the story of the Pennypackers. The line had blurred, albeit temporarily. I didn't know whether the "Pennypacker" in my brain was real or fictitious. Is this the way it's going to go? Am I going to be 90, hopping on a plane to L.A. because I finally want to meet the Beverly Hillbillies in person? Am I going to start scouring charts of the South Pacific to see if I can help send out a search party to finally bring Gilligan home? Am I going to frustratingly flip through the New York sports pages, wondering why I can never find a column written by Oscar Madison? Worse yet, am I going to start visiting every Springfield in the United States in an attempt to join Homer Simpson at Krusty Burger for a Ribwich?

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