Bear with me while I rehash my Gary Coleman story. One summer I was subleting an apartment in Westwood with my brother and a couple crazy friends...Tuan and Peter. We were close to broke, so we cut corners for fun. You know, sneak into movie premieres, sneak into the UCLA dorms for free cafeteria food, sneak into the underground utility tunnels.
On the 4th of July Peter and I finished a fine tray dinner in the dorms and saw a crowd of international students lined up by a charter bus. With nothing to lose we joined the line and found seats in the back. The bus rolled away and students launched into drinking songs...our new German friends in the back would hit their "In München steht ein Hofbräuhaus, Eins, Zwei, g'suffa!" and the French up front would counter with their "Oui oui oui, non non non!" I claimed Mexico, Peter said he was from South Korea, and the Europeans were cool with that.
Well we ended up at Fisherman's Village in Marina del Rey, and I was surprised to see that Gary Coleman had a little video game arcade there. He'd walk up to folks and yell out, "I challenge you!" and he'd pay for a little push-button showdown. In those pre-Internet days I worked on a 'zine called Farsh Has Fun, and I had written an article reminiscing about Diff'rent Strokes. Everywhere I went I wore a backpack with a stash of Farsh Has Fun magazines, so naturally I had to pass a copy on to the star. Funny...he accepted it and tossed it into a toolbox.
I still wonder if he ever read it, and as we remember Gary Coleman today I think back to Germans, French, and fireworks. Sorry I interrupted your game, Mr. Coleman.