Saved by maintenance

My friend and I were running late to a play rehearsal at the Mendelssohn Theater. We luckily snagged a parking spot across the street in front of University Health Services, so we figured we were in the clear. Somehow, impossibly, inconceivably, my friend dropped his car keys – right through an iron sewer grate (of course, his spare was with his family . in Chicago). Luckily the keys were still visible, but the car was parked on top of the grate.

We proceeded to fashion a retrieving device out of a dowel rod and a windshield scraper, though we only succeeded in pushing the keys farther into the sewer. We were fast running out of time.

Then, it appeared: a white van with maize and blue lettering. It was a two-man maintenance crew, and they pulled into the UHS driveway. After explaining our pitiful situation to them, they thought it over for a whole minute before calmly issuing orders.

“First, let’s lift the car off the grate.”

And so we did. Thankfully, Saabs are made of plastic.

Then we removed the grate, but the keys were about 10-feet below. My friend and I watched as the maintenance guys pulled their van next to the grate. When they opened the sliding side door, we saw the solution: a insanely high-powered vacuum cleaner. They took the nozzle off the end of the tube, lowered the tube down in the sewer and that was it. We dug around the dusty insides of the vacuum cleaner and retrieved the keys.

No, this was not a “MacGyver” episode.

ANDREW SARGUS KLEIN

Mini-me he’s not

I was on the sidelines, covering the football game on Saturday and chatting with someone from Event Staff whose job is to keep photographers from getting too close to the field.

He pointed out Vern Troyer, the actor who played Mini-me in “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.” After gawking for about 30 seconds, the Event Staffer asked if I wanted to introduce myself to him.

We went over to where he was seated, and the event staffer said “Hey Mini-me.”

Troyer, obviously offended, sternly responded “My name is Vern.” I then greeted Vern, introduced myself, and shook his hand.

PETER SCHOTTENFELS

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