Stik Man Mystery Solved

Enjoy the latest story from the blog,
“Wrong Turns Write Life”

I got it all planned out—go there, see that, eat here, and all that. But something is going to happen that wasn’t planned, and that is what will be remembered.

Hustling from one attraction to another in a sightseeing frenzy, zipping around Washington D.C., something outside the crosswalk lines caught my attention. I stopped and looked down. A mini robot painted on the pavement stared up at me.

I pointed it out to my wife and kids and said, “That’s a strange sight.”

“Looks like an alien,” my son said nonchalantly.

“It reminds me of a petroglyph,” my wife added.

“It looks like we’re going to get run over if we don’t move,” said my teenage daughter.

I figured it had to do with marking the power lines under the street or something like that.

Later, we saw this peculiar fella painted by another crosswalk. Our imaginations went into overdrive, exploring other possibilities for this fella no bigger than my hand. It was strange. It didn’t quite belong, and we all knew it. But our curiosity dissipated as our other activities mounted.

After hotels, parking, meals, admissions, etc., a third of our trip was over, and what did we remember but a sidewalk performer who rivaled the original recording artist, an all but forgotten side entrance to our hotel – it was where President Reagan was shot. My daughter was being posed for a photo by a feisty old Asian woman we had never seen before. This stranger saw my daughter trying to mimic a statue’s positioning and decided it was all wrong. Despite the language barrier, her charisma made an ordinary stop into shared belly laughter.

We left D.C. a few days later to continue what had been a very expensive trip up the East Coast, exploring our nation’s history.

In Philadelphia, our minds were blown when the peculiar painted fella from D.C. seemed to follow us. First, he appeared—slapped aside a metal newspaper box. Then, there he was, next to another crosswalk. We quickly snapped photos of the robot-alien-petroglyph before we could get run over.

Gazing at the phone photos while we waited in a long line wrapping around a famous Philly steak sandwich shop, my wife explored the Internet in the palm of her hand to solve the mystery.

Soon after that, she yelled, “stickman!”

A man in line turned. I shook my head to say, no-no-not you.

She proceeded to rattle off her discovery, unaware of the ‘excuse-me’ gaze.

A street artist littered this “stikman” everywhere he went, including Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Boston, and other cities. But he and his creation were largely a mystery.

We became more fascinated with Stikman than any exhibit we saw at any museum. On this trip, where we saw iconic American history, Stikman was one of the more memorable sights. The most memorable moment we shared on this budget-busting adventure was also completely free and unexpected.

Vacations cost money, but the memories are often not ones of expense. It’s the unexpected—like Stikman—that sticks with us.

By Frank Rocco Satullo, The OhioTraveler, Your Tour Guide to Fun! 

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“Wrong Turns Write Life”

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