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Monday, June 27, 2005

Tony Vickio Lap 19

Experiences of "The World Famous"
by: Tony Vickio

Painting at the Famous Race Tracks

Lap 19: Not Again!

I tried to straighten my head upright and the pain in my neck made me say an "AHhhh" out loud. I shuffled around in the easy chair that I slept in last night and tried to sit up. Oh, was I stiff! I look down at my bandaged up left hand thinking, "It doesn't hurt so bad". I finally stand up, wobble around a bit, and head for the bathroom. My neck is the worst causality of sleeping on the chair. Once dressed, I tell my wife, "This doesn't feel so bad, I think I'm going to call Matt and tell him I'm coming up to finish the grass right after lunch". Harriett doesn't answer, well she sort of answers, with a "glare". Yep, I know that glare anywhere....not good! "Hey", I say, "I don't have a choice, I can't leave it half finished, I have to go". I call Matt and he says he will have the equipment out there after lunch.

It's about 1:30 when I pull into Gate 2 (the main gate) at the track. I'm greeted by "Katie", who heads up the gate personnel. She asks how my finger feels as the story has made the rounds at the track. I say back (with a smile), "it feels ok, but my main concern is that I have to work with Matt today!" We both laugh and I drive away thinking, "Oh God!" You see, Matt and I are so much alike, it's scary. Both of us are, you might say, are a little "crazy". Personalities are very similar; Matt has had a lung operation, so have I (the same side). Once Matt was showing someone a strange looking, pulling of the skin on the "life line on his right hand. Everyone looking at it was saying how strange it was and never seeing such a thing before. I walk over and look and say, "that's not such a big deal", I open my right hand and I have the exact same growth! Matt, along with the others, couldn’t believe it.

I knew, working with Matt was going to be an experience, I just hoped I would survive. I drive down to the "90" (the first turn on the race track) where I find my spray outfit, paint and the, almost finished, grass painting. I park the truck about 100 feet to the North of the painting so I'm out of the range of any overspray getting on the truck. I walk over and while sipping my Pepsi, I inspect the painting. Right where I left it! I get on my radio and call Matt to let him know I'm out here. He said he will be right out. In about ten minutes I hear a car approaching. I look up towards the Start/ Finish line and there is this older, gray car coming down the track. "Who the hell is on the track", I think. As it gets closer I see it is Matt. He pulls off the track and pulls up right next to the logo and shuts the car off. He starts to get out and I say, "move that thing over there (pointing to my truck) so I don't get paint on it". He looks "over there" and says, "I'm not walking that far", and gets out of the car. I say, "What are you driving?" "It's Betsie's car...........remember?" he says with that wide-eyed look (remember the head-on collision). "HaHaHa", I start laughing out loud! "You ass", I say. Matt comes back with, "$7,000.00 damage, I'm still trying to explain it to John" (president of the track). "How's your finger doing?" he say's to change the subject. "It's ok, hurts a lot, but I'm still here. It was a good thing Scott and Greg were here", I say. Matt says, "Yeah, you were lucky. Let's get this done; I have important stuff to do".

I start giving Matt instructions on what to do. This is harder than I thought. Things that I would do by instinct, I now have to explain someone with no knowledge of what we are doing! Finally I fire up the gun. I soon find that working with one hand is hard. While painting, I would simply grab the hose with my left hand and whip it around to get into position. Now I have to have Matt move the hose and this takes a lot of time. It is now about 6:00 pm and the painting is finished. Time to clean the gun and we will have a "cold one". "Hey", I holler at Matt, who is standing there just looking around like he's thinking, "How did I get here?" He snaps around and says, "What". "Get over here and help me get this gun clean so we can have a cold one", I say. That gets him moving! Matt had a cooler with him with some nice, cold Budweiser’s in it. "Get that pail of water (a nasty color of water I used to clean the previous colors from the gun) over here and I'll clean this thing." Matt brings the 5 gallon pail over and sets it down, spilling some of the water on his shoe. "S***", he says while I look at him and think; "I knew it, lucky he didn’t/t spill it all." I hold up the nozzle and say, "turn that knob to the left". The knob puts the gun in the priming position. Now I tell him to put the compressor in the priming position. This back feeds the gun and hose, pushing out the paint and sucking in water to clean the gun and hose. That part done, I place the nozzle into the bucket of dirty water and pull the trigger. My fingers are all safe! BANG!!..........................a flash of white! I drop the gun........what the %*** happened? I have white Latex paint in my nose, ears, hair and most of it in my mouth! The hose, for some reason blew off of the gun handle. "Holy s***! I holler. As I'm wiping my eye with my paint covered hand, I'm spitting out white paint on the ground. "Matt, get me some water, hurry, I've got to get this %***** paint out of my mouth!" Still bent over, spitting, I look up at Matt who is standing there, looking at me with this look of amazement. "Hurry!" I holler. For a moment I think, "he was near me when I was pulling the trigger, why doesn't he have any paint on him?" "Hurry", I say again. He turns and runs towards the car. I look up again, do a double take. The whole back of his wind breaker is covered with white paint! "Oh my God!" I scream, half laughing. Still bent over and spitting, Matt is back. He says, "There is no water, here is a can of Bud!" I grab it and take a slug to wash my mouth out. As soon as that beer hit the paint, it turned to foam and boiled up in my mouth and came out my nose! "Holy s***", was all Matt could say. I'm gagging and coughing while trying not to swallow. Matt gets on the radio and calls for the Track Fire Crew, who is on the facility setting up their camp for the race. "Emergency! I have an emergency in the 90. I need!" They respond, thinking there is some sort of fire. When they get there, they see me with a white face. They get the hose out and fill a pail. They have some rags and I start to clean up. I can talk now and I tell Matt to turn around. Everyone breaks out in laughter. He looks over his shoulder and says, "Holy Christ, how did I get this on me?" One thing for sure, instead of holding the fort and helping me in time of need..........Matt was running!

We all sit on the back of the fire truck and drink some nice, cold Buds. The firemen ask, "What the hell happened to your hand?" I tell them, "Let me start from yesterday, you won't believe it!" I start the story with the "head/on" collision. Then I go to shooting my finger and my operation and I finish with getting covered with paint. This Budweiser sure tastes good! I finish the last drop in the can and Matt reaches over and hands me a fresh one. we sit there telling stories and laughing at each other, the sun is starting to dip behind the mountains off to the west. The past two days were like a dream. I hold my bandaged left hand up, turn it around, looking at it and it becomes evident, it was no dream!

Lap 20: What a find!!


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