Laugh zone

June 20, 2009 

The big fellow on Hillsborough Street was sort of barrel-chested, and we don't mean former Wolfpack football coach Chuck Amato was back for a visit. Some people thought the Monster, as he came to be called, couldn't have been more fun if he'd been full of monkeys. Alas, then the Raleigh police ordered the barrels rolled out, and they weren't talking about a party with polka music.

Sorry. We've got a million of 'em.

It is, after all, a little hard to take seriously: An N.C. State student, Joseph Carnevale, has been charged with larceny and damage to property for creating a Barrel Monster out of those orange and white barrels used to block off construction areas such as the monster's former home on Hillsborough Street. Of course, the person taking credit for the creation will identify himself only by the name "uliveandyouburn." Carnevale is a history major and lately a celebrity whose cause has been taken up by other students -- even by folks around the country who've tuned in to the story via cyberspace -- who want charges against him dropped.

The monster was pointing people away from construction, so it may have been helpful. And a fellow who is a project manager for the company that owns the barrels says the company isn't going to press charges and actually misses having the monster there.

Even Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby says he's not sure that rearranging the barrels into an artistic shape, more or less, constitutes larceny. In other words, Willoughby, who'll make the call as to how to proceed with the case, doesn't sound too enthused about taking the case to court. Were he to do that, the monster likely would have to be rebuilt in the courtroom, and would be accompanied by protesting allies of "uliveandyouburn" or Carnevale.

As an issue of justice, then, this is hardly ... well, monstrous.

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