Monday, October 19, 2009


(Ok, by now you know the routine. You've got to go back and read Acts 1 and 2, Act 3, and Act 4 before you read this. Beginning to end--front to back--you know it's only right.)


The Scene: Tom’s Google-addicted wife is working at her laptop one day in September and decides to search “Krane Blooger” to see if he is showing up as a famous artist, thereby making the painting worth more than just a traveling gag gift between old college buddies.

Synopsis: Sure enough, within minutes she hits pay dirt. She is breathless with anticipation. However, the excitement slowly turns to disappointment as she checks each Google search site. Krane Blooger does not appear to be a world-famous artist. On the contrary, he currently lives on the East Coast and works in the public relations department of a community college. He dabbles in his art on the side. One site even shows a sample of his work. Although his art seems to have improved quite a bit in the past 40 years, he’s no Picasso. But it’s worth one more shot . . .

Tom’s wife screws up her courage, composes an email, revises it eight dozen times, and finally hits the “send” button. Her email reads as follows:

If you are the Krane Blooger who attended NDSU in the late 1960s/early 1970s, I believe we have one of your oil paintings from your early period.

Could you please give us some information about this painting (see attached photograph)?

Seven minutes later, she received his response:

You found me.

I believe that painting was done as part of a painting class at NDSU.

You’re trusting to my failing memory, but as I recall it is of the Red River in Fargo near Plumtree Road. Area has probably changed completely by now.

Hope this helps,
Krane Blooger

Not willing to give up completely, she sends another email:

Krane: Thanks for responding so quickly! We've had the painting for so long that it's interesting to find out a little information about it.

Just out of curiosity, I have one more question for you. (I'm trying to trust your failing memory one more time!)

The painting was originally found in an apartment closet at the Bison Arms Apartments in Fargo approximately 40 years ago. Do you have any idea how your painting would have ended up there? Did you give it to someone or sell it to someone who may have forgotten or left it in that apartment?

His response:

Holy cow!

I don’t even remember the Bison Arms Apartments...

I probably gave it away as I rarely sold anything in those days. To whom? I haven’t the foggiest notion.



The Scene: Tom’s wife’s living room, slumped dejectedly over her laptop computer.

Synopsis: Here are the questions Tom’s wife had been asking herself all this time: Was Krane Blooger a noteworthy artist? Was the picture, done in his early period, now worth thousands—or millions? Was there international intrigue including art theft and black market fencing involved? Is it better to know the truth? Or is it better to live life in La-La Land, with just a tiny ray of hope that you may have the golden ticket, the winning numbers in the lottery?

The answers to the questions above are no, no, no, no, and maybe.

The mysterious Krane Blooger turned out to be just an ordinary guy who works in an office at a community college. He doesn’t really remember painting Red River at Plumtree Road (at least there’s now a name for the painting). He doesn’t remember what he did with it after he painted it, and doesn’t really seem interested in where the painting is now.


Krane Blooger, you are a big fat disappointment. Not only am I disappointed, but the people who have been anxiously reading these blog entries are disappointed, too.

The next time Morrie repaints the fence around his yard or John reshingles his roof, we will not be sneaking in the Krane Blooger oil painting housewarming present with nearly as much enthusiasm as we have done in the past. Now we know for certain that the painting really is bad and that it really isn’t worth anything, just like we probably knew in the bottom of our hearts all along. Or at least, we were 99 percent sure.

But it was that 1 percent of uncertainty that made it seem intriguing all these years.


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