The no collar bums of East Hollywood Proper? Boo!
Fake Hollywood? Whoop-doo!
After everything that's been written, I can't believe certain people still believe in this fantasy version of Hollywood. It's a mythical, sacred city that's been built into their heads since childhood. People in the Midwest and beyond tend to think Los Angeles is all junked up celebrities walking down the street, smiling and signing autographs. And if you're dressed right, standing outside Dellbeck's Ice Cream Shop, you, too, might be discovered as the next James Franco. Some think it's all sunsets and Lamborghinis. To quote Mike Patton, they think it's a mile-wide stretch of hot chicks in bikinis sucking off plates of linguini while they tan their plastic pieces in a bed of fresh green grass. Palm trees and peach martinis. Seriously. It's not like that. Sure, they've cleaned it up some since the late 80s, when drug users and disease-ridden whores used to run the place. But the attitude around this town lately has been down right shitty.
And it makes me wish the apocalypse would get here a little quicker. The Rapture, and all that jazz. Speed it up, speed it up, speed it up, White Jesus! Imagine, all of our collective credit card debt being wiped clean. No more shitty movies to sit through. And if you were a good person, like me, you'd get to live out eternity on a drifting cloud of Quilmes with your favorite pet dog from childhood and a Kirk Cameron poster. The good news is: It may be closer than we think! With the magnetic polarities in the midst of a flip-flop, which has all the fish in the world spawning in the wrong direction, people are also being slowly thrown off balance. Anger is thick in the air, and living in the Los Angeles area over the Labor Day weekend was sort of like drifting through a virtual reality version of last February's horror treat The Signal. I'm not making that up, or kidding in the least bit.
Real Hollywood? Boo!
I was thrown into three rage-fueled altercations with complete strangers while on my mission to collect ground beef for our 1st annual Cheeseburger Picnic. Are video games responsible for this type of behavior? Is it violent movies? The heat? People's crappy attitudes in general? Maybe it all does have to do with the magnetic fields swapping their north and south polarities. (That reason makes the most sense from a scientific standpoint.) However you shake it, I was appalled at the abrasive behavior I experience in and around the Hollywood area this past weekend. It blew my mind, really. This is the town everyone emulates and looks up to. Why do these people have such a chip on their shoulder? Is it like this in other parts of the country? This is supposed to be the land of sunshine. Not the land of shit parades and unprovoked fist fights.
Just take a look at this typical day in our favorite state of make believe:
Trash Bag Bums on Bicycles? Boo!
First, there was the guy outside of Jon's Market (a knock-off of Von's where the beer is much cheaper). I'm carrying an armload of groceries and this jackass bum nearly crashes into me, because he's riding his bike on the sidewalk. He leaps over the handlebars and runs his rusted out ten-speed into a garbage can. Then he starts laughing like a maniac. Right there at the sliding glass exit doors. My beer. It's important to me and my fellow partiers at the barbeque back home. If anything were to happen to it, I don't know what I'd do. And this guy nearly made me drop it all. It would have been a Heineken green glass disaster of biblical proportions. "You shouldn't be riding your bike on the sidewalk, dummy." That's all I said, and he snapped like a ruler. That man snapped like a three-ring binder on the foreskin of America. He was super duper pissed and yelled at the top of his lungs for as long as it took me to get into my car and out of the driveway. He picked his Shwinn off the ground and threw it into the wall. His face filled with pure red loathing as his fingers swelled into two tiny balls of hate. He ran after my Tercel, swinging at the air like a prizefighter. I didn't know what to think, watching him Hulk out in my review mirror. He nearly got hit by a city bus, but then started swinging his fists into its bright orange hide. I soon became an after thought.
Road Rage? Boo!
Whew. That was scary. And I thought horror movies were entertaining. I still had a few more stops to make, as there was a ground beef shortage in the Echo Park/Silverlake area on this particular holiday weekend. I pulled into Von's (the real Jon's, if you're keeping up) to see if they had any more of their coveted hamburger. Which was selling for nearly four bucks a pound. (Fuck. Are these cows made out of Gold?) Most of it was gone, so I was out of the store fairly quickly. I pulled into the exit behind two other cars. The traffic on 3rd street was moving slow, and there was a lot of it. So we had to sit there for a few minutes. This white sedan pulled up behind me and laid on the horn. A full two-hand push. "Really?" There was nowhere for me or the other two cars to go, unless we wanted to bare headfirst into holiday traffic. But again, he came with the horn. I shot a mean, one-eyed blink into the rearview mirror, shocked at this idiot's noise pollution attempts. Then I noticed, "Oh, it's my friend, Bo!" Sitting next to him was his lovely wife (or so I thought). There's no way there are two couples that look this exacting in the Los Angeles area, is there? I smiled and waved, and laughed. The guy was now punching his horn with his fist. I thought it was a joke, or a friendly, "Hey, look at me." But "Bo" looked genuinely pissed off. Like someone peed pussy juice in his latte. So I leaned out the window, "Hey, are you honking because it's me, B.? Or are you really upset!" The guy screamed, "Move your fucking cars! Or I will pummel the living shit out of you!" Now, Bo is not a very big guy. And I started to get suspicious. Maybe the heat was playing tricks with my mind. "But Bo, it's me, B.!" The guy started to get out of the car, but the traffic moved at that very moment. Of course, I move with it. I heard his door slam back into place. When it became my turn to pull into traffic, all I could do was stare in my rearview mirror at this guy, trying to figure out if it really was Bo. I even missed my turn into traffic, because the guy was throwing one bloodstained shit tsunami of a tantrum in the car. All the while, the girl in the passenger seat had this dead, glassy-eyed look on her face. Sort of like a corpse. As I pulled into traffic, I was still under the assumption that this was my longtime friend. After all, he drives a very similar car. With both of us pulled onto 3rd street, he zoomed up on me, nearly taking the paint off the left side of my Tercel. I pointed and laughed, still thinking it was a joke. Then I realize, "Shit. That's not Bo." And the guy was thrusting out his middle finger like a shark torpedo. "I'm going to rip off your dick and rape you in the ass with it, you fascist fuck faced fuck!" He screamed out the window, disappearing down 3rd street in a blur. Wow. What a crazy asshole. And I still hadn't made it to my final destination yet.
Everyone needs ice, right?
Angry Iraqi War Vets? Boo!
Wrong. After these two close calls, I should have called it a day and gone home. But instead, I headed over to the Rancho Market on Sunset. They have cheap everything, and I wanted my party guests to remain cool for the duration of the evening. So I turned up Benton and headed in that direction. As I approached the driveway of the store, another car pulled in front of me. This beat-up black BMW then parks there, blocking the entrance. From the passenger's side door stepped a cute little Mexican girl; maybe she was four years old. Then a giant disheveled man in a ragged wife beater that was two sizes too big for him, a pair of once shimmery basketball shorts now stained with nacho cheese sauce, and a pair of flip flops that looked as though they'd once been the teething toy of a playful pit bull puppy, stepped out of the driver's side of the car. This gargantuan bed stain of a beast shrugged me off with grunt. Though he looked like a brick bag full of trouble, I rolled down my window anyway, "That's not a parking space." He calmly replied, "Get out of your car and fucking fight me, then maybe it's not a parking space." I couldn't believe it. This guy was blocking a public entrance and challenging me to a fight in front of his daughter (or possible kidnapped victim) over the fact. "Ah, man, you are just looking for a fight. I don't have time for that." Or the muscle. So I waited for traffic to subside and pulled back into the street. I still needed to go into the store, so I pulled around the back way, thinking the man would go inside and it would all be over. I could get my ice and 'Sicle snacks and be on my way with it. But no. When I finally got my car parked, I saw that he was waiting for me by the front door exit. I got out and walked towards the store anyway. "I am going to beat the living shit out of you. I'm going to hit you in the head so hard." I played it pretty cool, undeterred from making my entrance into the store, "I don't want to fight you. But that is not a parking space. I couldn't even pull into the driveway." That's when he went off on this weird tangent, "I served two terms in the Iraq war, and this is the respect I get? You should be getting on your knees and thanking me! Instead you're being a little bitch! Check my license plate. I was in the Iraq war!" I tried to walk to the back of the store, where the cooler was. But I only made it as far as the register. The cashier and the butcher stared at us as the exchange continued, "I fought for this country, so I can make a parking space wherever I want!" The guy was at least sixteen inches thicker on both sides, and at least a foot taller than me. "Just because you fought in the war doesn't mean you need to be a jerk." The little girl stood, watching, with a big smile on her face. She seemed to be enjoying her dad's tactfulness. "It does too mean I need to be a jerk. I can do what ever the fuck I want. And you are going to get killed trying to stop me. You ain't ever fought in a war! You look like a fucking pussy!" True, I haven't given it my all for this country. But my Dad fought in Vietnam. And both of my grandfathers fought in Pearl Harbor. They were gentlemen until the day they died, and didn't go around picking fights in the middle of mini-marts. "Go ahead!" The guy tilted his massive jaw, cocking his cheek to the left, "I'll give you the first punch. Hit me right here. It will fucking break your hand and then, while you are lying on the floor, crying, I can rip out one of your kidneys." He then lifted up his own knuckle. The skin had been shaved back, and it was all course and callous. "I was an Iraqi underground street fighter, you disrespectful asshole." I believed him. "And I will make a parking spot wherever I please!" I took a look around the store, and decided to let him have whatever glory he wanted to have, "You know what? I don't need anything in this store. Thank you for serving my country." I made sure to get past the door, "Yes, thank you for being such a JERK!" Then I ran for my car. He didn't come after me. I decided to get in and go home, calling it good.
Cheeseburger Picnic? Whoop-doo!
That's pretty typical of Hollywood at the moment. As you can see, its not the fantasy life many of you imagine. Maybe it's just me, but wherever I go, I see nothing but angry people on the street. And in their cars. And it's a tad worrisome. Is the current economic state of being to blame? The out-of-whack seasons? The barrage of bad movies that continually come our way? Whatever it is, I hope a tide of change comes soon. Otherwise, I'm going to need some boxing lessons to survive this weird, once beautiful town. At least we'll always have David Yates to keep our spirits up.
After my harrowing ground beef journey into the heart of Hollywood, I arrived back at the house just in time for the start of the Cheeseburger Picnic. And the All American Labor Day Cheeseburger Jump 2008. Its things like this that give me a little bit of hope in this world. Maybe everything isn't as bad as it seems. Watch, and hopefully it, too, will put a smile on your face and cheer you up a bit. (Or maybe it will make you want to get into a fight in the Mexican Market down the street). Whatever the case may be, enjoy:
Until next time! Eat Food! Kill Grandma! Keep your fists fights off the streets of Hollywood unless those provoking you really deserve it. Let's bring the happiness back to Hollywood and its surrounding areas! Remember, always love! Hate will get you every time.Whoop-doo!
(Huh? What? Get back to talking about movies? Okay...)