NOTE: With football season upon us once again, I am re-posting one of my favorite interviews here. This piece was originally posted on November 10, 2009.
I met Dan (“The Packer Man”) from Oconomowoc in a parking lot yesterday. It made my day.
Sunday, the day before we met, the Green Bay Packers had managed to present the 7-0 Tampa Bay Buccaneers with their first win of the season in a spectacular display of self-destruction. In spite of this, the sun was shining up in its heaven, which always surprises Packer fans on the morning after a loss.
It’s not terribly unusual to see cars (or even houses) that have gotten the Packer treatment, but Dan’s car carries Packer décor to an exceptional level of detail.
It’s a 1989 Acura Integra, (note the license plate) which was red from the factory, but now carries a paint scheme that replicates perfectly his favorite team’s helmets.
The helmets in the rear window carry all of the numbers retired by the Packers team over their long history.
The hood ornament, which I absolutely love, is actually a trophy for a Punt, Pass and Kick contest from 1974, which Dan bought at a yard sale. He removed the metal figure, painted it Packer colors and bolted it to the hood. I love the way he is leaning forward into the wind, arms at his side.
Dan told me that he only recently repainted the hood ornament’s jersey number to 12. (Some people here have had a very hard time letting go of #4. Others apparently gave Dan a hard time after Bret went over to the Vikings.)
Dan says driving the PACURA is a real kick because of the reaction he gets everywhere he goes. People get so excited about the PACURA that they pass him and then slow back down just to give him a smile and a thumbs up. When was the last time that happened to you on the freeway?
Dan confided that after he decked out the car, his wife swore she would never be seen in it. He thinks she thought it would be embarrassing. “That’s YOUR car”, she told him.
When Dan finally convinced her to go out for a spin in the PACURA, (must have been after a big win) she couldn’t believe the honks, smiles, waves, and genuine expressions of appreciation the car draws from so many people. Now, she wants to drive it to work because it puts her in such a good mood!
As I was thanking Dan for being such a good sport, I finally noticed his Packers watch. Dan confessed that he wasn’t wearing his Packers rings today because he was “traveling incognito… I’m laying low after that game yesterday.”
All contents copyright Jeffery Blackwell 2010