Janay knew that the life-sized incredible hulk head in the dumpster was something I should have. It looked as if it once topped a toy chest. As with most really cool things in dumpsters, most of the time is spent staring at it in disbelief that anyone would throw it away in the first place. So. If you walked up completely cold and saw me I’d be all…

Can you )believe( someone threw this away?

And you’d be all..

Um… I guess?

I exclaimed. I stared. This went on for nearly a year as I contemplated how to glue it to my car. I didn’t have glue, nor did I have the energy to find out what glue is the best glue, so I carried it in the back seat or the trunk for nearly another year, even switching cars in the meantime, although the hulk head maintained its relative position.

So last May I set it out on the curb with all the other glue and toys and let the kids do it, under the benign tutelage of a museum volunteer. That was a really long day, and I took the surface streets over to Quinn’s Lighthouse to celebrate with a small crew. As I drove I noticed one of them driving a safe distance behind me, wondering if I had ever found the best glue. She bought the first round.

Up and down I-80 several times and Hulk has not departed from the roof of my car, although the slinkies have. A child glued a pretzel to my license plate… why, child, why? It remains. We should build houses out of pretzels. Who knew they were so durable?

The only liability is carpal tunnel, from waving at passing children in larger, newer, and factory-decorated vehicles. And smiling. I’ve never smiled so much in my life, regardless of my mood. It struck me only later, due to a lack of forethought, yes, yes, that by driving a car covered with toys and topped with a life-sized incredible hulk head that I would be opening myself to persistent interaction with strangers.

If they happen upon a spectacle, and the person behind the spectacle’s wheel is overtired, distracted, or perhaps simply glum, they feel enormously cheated. I’m no better than a clown with booze on my breath, which brings me to a parallel point:

People who )like( clowns with booze on their breath are actually a majority among people who )like( to put hulk heads on their cars. Riddle me that.

A guy who had to be very clever just to make his nut for the corndog special at derweiner asked me… with real politeness, too: Why would you do that to your car?

I already know that if it takes a chunk of your world to afford a motor vehicle, chances are you aren’t at the point of its willful vandalism. Well, I begin slowly, I feel inspired to imprint my imagination on the things we all commonly use. Yes, he said, taking in the last round of tempera splatter montage from the kids at sculpture camp, you’re a doodler, right?

Now you know my secret, I say.

People take souvenirs, which I always pray they will attach to their cars, thereby creating an exponential movement. Nothing doing, I know, but please don’t disturb my vigil. They favor slinkies, yet somehow reverentially leave the brontosaurus wrestling the train car alone. The army men futilely restraining the hulk come (thanks to me) and go (thanks to them), even though you don’t see anyone actually )playing( with army men very often now do you?

Hulk as Redeemer, Hulk as Personality Coach, Hulk as Father (men in the valley just yell unintelligibly at him, sharing his loneliness), Hulk as Appropriated Toy Chest Lid. I don’t know why I did it, a sad fact about all my creative projects, come to think of it. I knew Hulk was a fact to be reckoned with when we set out for dinner and asked if we could use Z’s car, because it had been a hellish week and I wasn’t up to being an Ambassador for Creative Self-Expression.

Grey ’86 Honda Accord Hatchback.

Slipped in and out without any recognition whatsoever.

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