It happened in the dead of night, one sad Christmas back in 2005. As the citizens of Graz peacefully slept, workmen in brown flannel overalls began dismantling the once proud sign from the city's soccer stadium. First to go was the enormous Z (Austrians have a preference for reverse alphabetical order) followed swiftly by an unwieldy W, and then, yes, the S.

"Arnold Charenegger," remarked one of the workmen, breaking for a smoke. "I don't even know who he is."

Well, Mister Workman, I'm here to wise you up. Arrgh, there go the Rs. Anold Chaenegge was once this city's proudest native son, a star destined to burn so brightly that it would light the night-time sky of the capitol of the entire world, Hollywood, USA. A smaller man might have chosen to remain in Austria, feasting on it's famed sausages washed down with the delicious local brews, frolicking with the golden haired fräuleins, and taking a quick dip into the beautiful blue Danube before skittering off to the Mozart festival. Oh no, there goes the O.

But Anld was no such man. He knew there were weights to lift, and lift them he did. Higher and heavier and swifter and longer, it seemed as if he had been chosen to lift the world itself. He did, you know.

No, of course he didn't lift the physical world, but he lifted it's spirits by starring in blockbusters of such unrivaled magnitude that lesser stars - and they all were lesser stars - could only tremble in his wake. I beg of you, please put down the Ns.

And so, since he could not become the president, the golden boy of Graz became the Govenator of the golden state. What, the L? All of the citizens of California sang the praises of Ad Chaegge, for he was a just man, and on his arm he wore a queen. What, the H?

 Oh, Jeez, there go the Gs.

Austria has turned it's back on Ad, and why? Because he fulfilled his duty and let a murderer fry. How could you, Austria, how could you betray Ad Caee for a man named Tookie? You broke his heart with your relentless cries to remove his very name from Graz's glorious stadium. There go the Es as we speak. Once you issued postage stamps bearing his likeness, so every Austrian could proudly say they had licked Ad Ca's backside. Or make that A A, since I see you've demolished the D and the C.

Know this one thing - he'll be back. A! A! Put those down!

© 2006, Mark Hoback