Sunday morning. The downtown streets were suspiciously deserted, the eastern sun casting long shadows down the side street where I’d pulled up to park, in search of a friction-free pizza peel. But people were out other places, though; I’d already picked up a half-dozen Everything bagels and a pint of Pink Flamingo from a packed Bagelry and stood in line for a bit at Probuild to buy another 50′ of half-inch irrigation pipe for the new drip system I’ve been puzzling together with Kid Two. But here on Locust Street with the hard-angled shadows, a drifting pocket of fog, and the single homeless man in tattered denim digging through a trash can, the world seemed surreal.

I barely registered the pickup that pulled next to the meter behind me, too busy with Carl Kassell and the Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me Bluff the Listener game. The question: which of these three stories about David Hasselhoff’s next project is true?  The House of Hoff, a new Las Vegas theme restaurant? A Matt Stone/Trey Parker produced Broadway remake of 42nd Street starring the actor? Or The Hoffsicle, an ice cream bar realistically shaped like Hasselhoff’s torso? Here’s a link to the transcript if you’d like to follow along. But you already know the correct answer:

It’s even worse to see it than to imagine what it looks like. I was laughing alone in the car, thinking that this was so wrong on so many levels. Were the royalties on an Elvis Pop too high? Would a Jesus pop be too irreverent? An Anthony Weiner-sicle would have been a timely item. But then I looked in the rear view window and saw the man in the pickup was still there. Another guy in the driver’s seat of a beat-up Volvo behind him. I didn’t really have a bad feeling but was suddenly anxious to just finish my shopping and get home. But as I put my quarter in the meter the man behind me got out of his car. Then the guy in the Volvo did, too. I glanced back, gauging my safety. Pick-up guy smiled at me “A Hoffsicle, who would have guessed?” “My bet was on the House of Hoff,” I answered. Volvo guy walked up now. “But is it a Hoffsicle or a Hasselpop?”

In addition to bragging righs as actor/producer/singer/reality television star, David Hasselhoff now can say he’s got the ability to help strangers bond on Sunday morning in Santa Cruz.

Turns out downtown was only deserted because it was too early. This part of town, shops don’t open on Sunday until 11 or later. So if I ever need a quiet spot to sit and listen to Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me, now I know where to go.