Who the fuck is Jerry Willard?

jerry willard card art   “The first mistake of art is to assume that it’s serious.”   Lester Bangs

I’ve got my cheap bottle of vodka, walking down Crenshaw Blvd. behind an older mexican gentleman  who absolutely REEKS of marijuana when it hits me right in the forehead: a wave of emotions and forgotten times, thoughts, and practices. I was smack dab in the middle of high school again. You see, my friends and I were always skipping school to skateboard, smoke weed, go to the movies, hit on girls, etc. and we would always stop in this dingy liquor  store next to the Greyhound station to buy this certain brand of cheap vodka. (If you absolutely need to know, the brand is Taaka; which is surprisingly distilled in Frankfort, Kentucky, and even more surprising is their slogan, “mixes easy…just add people.”) Now before you get your panties in a bunch, remember that I eventually went to college and am a normal, tax-paying citizen with a girlfriend etc.  who just happened to grow up in the 90’s when kids acting like derelicts was somewhat common and fun.

 In the typical American fashion, these past-times have turned into big business; as every counter-culture movement is eventually commodified and eventually cynicism and complacency overwhelms your constantly dying brain tissue. (If you are a lucky reader, you were a baby boomer who didn’t have to do shit (not even a college education) except be born in the right era, and you can hang on to the fact that you are “important” despite the fact that you are most definitely a victim of your own glorification of your era, and didn’t actually contribute ANYTHING to the human race except  that you are a horrible person with your head up your ass with nothing to offer ANYONE except for jumbles about the, “good old days” as your parents had told you before you decided to become a faux hippy 10 years after it had died as a movement completely.) The generation after saw these actions and acted accordingly.  (each generation likes to act as if their “dereliction” was “innocent” compared to the generation after. As I grew up in the 90’s, enough time has passed to claim that innocence) My parents fit well into the dereliction of the era and did a bunch of coke, danced, and has children out of wedlock. I am a product of the “hippy era, ” yet an afterthought. A “test tube baby” of the “rock and roll/capitalism” era before anyone (or very few) knew how to cash in.

 The 90’s was known as the “grunge generation” and a particular friend of mine was keen on listening to a band from Seattle called Willard. I thought they sounded like Nirvana, was mildly impressed, even thought some of their songs were better than the so-called “grunge gods.” (who am I fooling?…. all that shit was boring, isolated and well, not punk rock…although some may vehemently disagree) No sooner do I get home when I see this baseball card lying on the floor.  Jerry fucking Willard. I smoke a bowl, put on this absolute piece of shit, stained cassette tape a friend had given me that I hadn’t considered for over 15 years. I smile.

Dennis Lamp sells fish in grocery store

lampHere’s something you probably won’t find in any other grocery store outside the Bristol Farms in Newport Beach: a former major league pitcher manning the seafood counter.

And it’s no publicity stunt.
Though Dennis Lamp fields the occasional autograph request, most shoppers seem to have no idea that the burly, outgoing man handling their halibut once came within three outs of pitching a no-hitter against the Milwaukee Brewers.

The name tag pinned to his red-and-white checkered shirt — “Dennis L.” — provides only this added detail: “Providing extraordinary service since 2004.”

Lamp, 58, was not hired to glad hand or tell tales of his 16 seasons in the majors from 1977 to 1992.

He was hired to work.

“It doesn’t matter if he was a major league baseball player,” store manager Eric Fuchser says of Lamp, the recent winner of a customer-service award. “He’s a great employee — great with the customers, and just a kindhearted man. …

“He talks sports. He sells fish. He works hard.”

If fetching flounder or scooping scallops in a grocery store sounds like a comedown for someone whose one-time career ambition was to pitch in the World Series, so be it.

Lamp doesn’t see it that way.

Though a 1999 divorce rocked him financially, the father of three says he is not broke.

He made about $4.5 million in the majors.

“I just enjoy working,” he says.