Remember Arnold Vosloo, the guy who played “Im-Ho-Tep” in those recent “Mummy” movies? If you do, then you can probably understand how easy it is to become totally, irrevocably obsessed with him to the point of sheer, gibbering insanity.

First of all, there’s that name–something about it seems to compel the mind to repeat it over and over, relentlessly, during every waking hour and most of the sleeping ones, too. I, myself, have gone days on end thinking nothing but the name “Arnold Vosloo.” People ask, “How’s it going?” and I respond, “Arnold Vosloo.” Or they say, “Isn’t that your car that’s on fire over there?” and, without even looking, I intone “Arnold Vosloo.” It’s almost as though I can’t get that name out of my mind.

Then, of course, there’s that face, that Arnold Vosloo face. He looks kind of like a cross between Paul McCartney and, oh, I don’t know–Frankenstein. If Arnold Vosloo robbed a bank and you were a witness, you wouldn’t have any trouble identifying him. “It was Arnold Vosloo,” you’d tell the police, and they’d look at you funny and ask, “You mean the guy who played ‘Im-Ho-Tep’ in those recent ‘Mummy’ movies?” and you’d say, “Well, that’s one way of referring to him” and they’d ask the obvious follow-up question: “What’s another way?” and you’d answer, “Well, he’s also the guy who looks like a cross between Paul McCartney and Frankenstein” and they’d call in a sketch artist. Preferably one who knew what Arnold Vosloo, Paul McCartney, and Frankenstein looked like.

Anyway, my main reason for mentioning Arnold Vosloo is to tell you about the time I actually ran into him one day at EZ Mart. I walked in to get some Honey Buns and there he was, standing at the check-out counter paying for some coffee and a used DVD of MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING. Bells and whistles sounded in my brain like a thousand fire alarms, and my Terminator-Vision processed the visual information I was receiving and began flashing the words “CONFIRM POS IDENT: ARNOLD VOSLOO” in my eyeballs.

I threw up my hands and screamed, destroying a display of “Brady Bunch” cigarette lighters with my left hand and knocking a little old lady backward into the ATM machine with my right. Arnold was so startled that he splashed the large container of scalding hot coffee that he was paying for all over his face and down his pants. “YAAAAAA!!!” he shrieked, dancing around. He looked just like Im-Ho-Tep reacting in righteous anger at some infidel who had encroached upon his sacred temple or something, except for the way he was fanning his crotch with his hands and screaming, “MY NUTS!!! MY BURNING NUTS!!!” I couldn’t recall that line from any of the “Mummy” movies, but then again I spent most of the second one in the bathroom because of those tainted chili dogs.

By this time the counter guy had already called the police and I’d begun to calm down, so I collected myself and approached Mr. Vosloo in a calm and respectful manner. Unfortunately, I then tripped over the old lady and launched myself at him as though I were going in for the kill, emitting what may have been misinterpreted as some kind of “war whoop” or something. Anyway, Arnold Vosloo screamed again and grabbed a handful of those extra-long Slim Jims, swinging them back and forth in a defensive motion.

As the counter guy started to ring them up I crashed into Mr. Vosloo and we both went sailing over a rack of Hostess Ding Dongs and into the frozen desserts case. The exhilarating blast of frosty air, in addition to the fact that his ass had lodged in a two-gallon container of Peach Ripple sherbet, caused him to assume a rather humorous expression. I think he also found it somewhat distressing that I now had a number of Klondike Bars stuck to my face, which may or may not have caused me to resemble some kind of crazed Yeti. At that point, perhaps inappropriately, I asked him for his autograph.

Well, it turned out he wasn’t really Arnold Vosloo after all. His name was Finster Bellflower, and he was a mortician from Burtsell, Arkansas. I happen to have passed through Burtsell, Arkansas a number of times, and I wouldn’t have suspected that they even had a taxidermist, much less a mortician. He happened to be both, which had resulted in a few rather embarrassing mishaps over the years. Fortunately, the Wilsons kind of enjoyed having their Uncle Harold stuffed and mounted over the fireplace in a dynamic leaping pose that made it seem as though he were pouncing on his prey.

The downside of all this is that I didn’t find out that it wasn’t really Arnold Vosloo until I’d already ordered a thousand custom T-shirts that said “HA-HA, I MET ARNOLD VOSLOO AND YOU DIDN’T–SUCKA!!!” My self-congratulatory local TV commercial had already aired a number of times as well, and the grand testimonial ball I was holding for myself at the VFW hall was in full swing with a roomful of winos whooping it up on free booze.

After receiving a surprise phone call from Mr. Vosloo’s attorneys, it was my sad duty to mount the podium and make the announcement. “I’m sorry everyone,” I said in a grave voice. “It is with the deepest regret that I must inform you all that I didn’t really meet Arnold Vosloo. It was just some mortician from Burtsell, Arkansas named Finster Bellflower.”

One of the drunken revelers stopped, peered groggily up at me, and slurred, “Who the hell’s Arnold Vosloo?” I leapt off the stage like a screeching condor in heat and attacked, sparking a riot that resulted in the VFW hall burning down and a SWAT team in full battle gear rounding everyone up with excessive force. I then sued Arnold Vosloo for causing the whole thing, which should pretty much set me up for life if I win. After I’m rich and famous, I’ll marry Monica Bellucci and we’ll name all our kids Arnold Vosloo, and when he comes over for Sunday dinner every week we’ll look back and have a good laugh about the whole thing while all the little Arnold Vosloos run around playing cowboys and mummies, and I’ll finally be able to wear those T-shirts.

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