On the first really cold morning of the year, I walk into TYCO to get
the story behind the boy whose enormous picture hangs on their wall. Despite
the early hour, the machines are already humming, and some over-ambitious
students are competing for space at the tiny counter. Ah, the familiar
reek of ink and paper and copy machines worked past capacity.
take a quick glance up at the “TYCO kid,” as I’ve silently dubbed him.
Looking at this happy youth, with his knobby kid-elbows and tufted brown
hair, who wouldn’t be curious? The TYCO kid is possibly the second-biggest
celebrity figure on campus. He is, at four-feet by six-feet, a little
boy of preposterous proportions. It is time to put an end to the mystery.
Iannuzzi, Sr. is the owner of TYCO and the father of the TYCO kid. He
takes me up to his spacious third floor office overlooking Broadway to
tell me about his son, who is now all grown up. Ellie Iannuzzi, the mother,
ducks in for a few comments. “People come into the store, and they know
it’s my son,” she says with just a hint of motherly pride.
explanation of the poster itself is rather mundane. “We needed something
to show that we could make big prints with our machine,” says Mr. Iannuzzi.
“So you know, I went through the photos. That one has always been a favorite
of mine.” The poster is of Mike, Jr. at age ten or so, an up-and-coming
player for a little league team with a fearsome name: Standard Oil.
has the same photo hanging in his garage at home, in a somewhat less gigantic
size. It hangs alongside a print of the TYCO kid’s sister, who used to
have her picture hanging in the store, screen-printed on a T-shirt. “It’s
the first thing I see when I come home,” says Iannuzzi.
switches over to the TYCO kid’s erstwhile baseball career (which, incidentally,
terminated freshman year of high school in favor of basketball). “Mike
was a very good player as a little kid. He had a good arm. It was probably
his strong suit as a young player, a very powerful arm,” says Mr. Iannuzzi.
The TYCO kid mainly stuck to pitcher, catcher, and third baseman, but
as a little leaguer, he naturally played every position.
this point, I am allowed, upon request, to actually hold the TYCO kid’s
glove-the same one as in the poster. Like any true kid’s glove, it is
creased over, sandwich style. I touch its surface, still finely gritted
with dirt, graying and ready to fall apart. The lettering has all fallen
off, no doubt the result of the graceless bobbles that characterize little
trip down memory lane prompts other recollections of yesteryear. The TYCO
kid was very quiet as a child, as one might guess from the shy Bambi eyes
we’re so accustomed to seeing in the poster.
nursery school, Michael just would not talk,” says Mrs. Iannuzzi. “He’d
play with all the kids and everything, but wouldn’t talk to them.” For
a moment, I can’t help but imagine little Mike sitting next to chattering
kids, crushing trucks together with both hands, mouth sealed shut.
Iannuzzi echoes this sentiment, a bit proudly. “I don’t care how good
of an interviewer you were, from 60 Minutes or something, that kid was
just not going to talk to you. He’d speak to us of course, but there was
no way he would talk to an outsider.”
school was his turning point,” says Mrs. Iannuzzi. As these parents launch
into a description of Mike’s high school career, it quickly becomes clear
that Mr. and Mrs. Iannuzzi are indeed the TYCO kid’s biggest fans. “He
never gave us trouble, an honors student, always worked hard,” says Mr.
Iannuzzi. Mrs. Iannuzzi offers to list all of Mike’s awards for me. “It
seemed we were always going to award banquets.”
Mike was something of an over-achiever: captain of the varsity basketball
team senior year, class president junior year, student council vice-president
senior year. “What do you expect me to say? He was perfect,” laughs Mrs.
of this is a far cry from the sweet little TYCO kid who we all know and
love. Mike Iannuzzi is grown up, currently 20 years old and a junior at
Boston College. A contemporary.
is training to be a future oppressor of the masses. It is with great consternation
that I learn of the TYCO kid’s current enrollment in the Carroll School
of Management. His class schedule this semester, aside from a philosophy
course: finance, marketing, management information systems, and business
find it somehow disheartening to think of the TYCO kid, out in the corporate
world serving the Man and crushing the proletariat. Perhaps this is an
omen. If even the TYCO kid can join the Dark Side, what is the average
Yalie destined for?
along with other Yalies rooting from the sidelines, I’d like to see the
TYCO kid take over the family business, one of the few mom-and-pop enterprises
left on Broadway. This possibility is something that has been seriously
discussed in the Iannuzzi household. “These past two summers I started
to take TYCO very seriously,” says Mike.
Iannuzzi says that he just wants Mike to be happy. “He should have the
option to involve himself with TYCO. If he’s leaning in this direction,
if he wants to come here, I don’t want him to look at what I’ve done.
I want him to do his own thing-he should have his vision of the future.”
start of a dynasty? If Mike goes on to own TYCO and then has a child,
perhaps he will tack up a gigantic photo of his kid right next to his
own. Every generation thereafter could add huge pictures of their children
on the wall of the store, passing the TYCO kid torch. Each picture would
be a reminder of years past, a snapshot of youth frozen in time. A portrait
of Peter Pan in Neverland.
Get On Your FeetGenevieve
“On your back!”
“On your feet!”
“On your back!”
Capoeira students spring up and fall to the hard wood floor.
Master Robert Thompson and his Timothy Dwight clan might print it on their
shirts, but they are not the only ones in New Haven with ash