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July 2022
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Whatchamacallit 39: Bloomington Memories

Hoosier Basketball Player

Color this another “annoyed” whatchamacallit – today I am supposed to heading to Bloomington, Indiana, for a few days – some meetings, many friends, an escape from work. Instead, of course, I am working from home in Berlin.

I have been ruminating about my representations of Bloomington – a city I lived in for six years. The fact is, I really do not have anything – save for the above – that represents my time in the city.

This is it: a photo and piece of floor signed by Indiana University’s hottest ever basketball player, whose name I will not spell out here. I’ll call him Tommaso.

Tommaso was not the first hot player I noticed on the university’s basketball team – the first was a young man named Luke, who then left for a desert climate, was in a car accident, then relocated to a different Big Ten university. However, when Luke left, I – and a lot of the guys who hung out at the local gay bar – instead fixated on this guy – an absolutely adorable and incredibly hot redhead.

For many years, I named my computer hard drives after him – so whenever I needed to go into File Manager, I would click on his name. In the early years after I left Bloomington, I once googled the player and discovered that a kitten had been named after him as well.

This naming convention no longer holds, but I am regularly reminded of the player because the photo hangs opposite my bed – so I see it shortly before sleep and right after I wake up.

Thus, Tommaso, by accident, remains the one object in my apartment that regularly reminds me about my time in Bloomington (though I suppose I do have two “GO WYO” license plates from Indiana, but those are more about reminding me of Laramie).

Bloomington remains an enigma in many respects: despite not having lived there in 16 years, it remains central to my American life. It is where I bank, it is where I vote, and it is where many friends still live.

Originally I’d booked a crazy early flight – departing Berlin at 06:40, which would have put me at Indianapolis international at 16:13. I did not have dinner plans for this evening – so I would have probably checked in to the Grant Street Inn, then looked for an early dinner somewhere near by (Nick’s?) before crashing into bed at an obscenely early hour. My days in Bloomington were packed tightly with friends and meetings.

So it goes in my dreams.

Just like Tommaso – the redhead.


During the Covid-19 crisis, I am going to try and make a point of writing a blog post about an object in my home.

We’ll see how long this lasts.

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