Goats and Organic Blueberries

Ever been to Key West?

If not. you really should go at least once, just to say that you did.

My darling bride - AKA "Earth Mother Chakra Vaharishnu Granola Patchouli" - would move there tomorrow if I'd let her. Fortunately, the only thing I can figure out anyone does for a living there is sell weed, and that's already a pretty crowded market from what I can tell.

Not that anyone would try and muscle you out or anything; aging hippies aren't particularly threatening, although they do often try and bore you to death:

"Yeah, man, like, I followed the Dead for three straight years selling light sticks and herb, but then the Old Lady got pregnant and I had to get a straight job and......"

Wake me when it's over, dude. Don't one of you have a different life story? Just ONE?

I suppose you could repair Volkswagens or work on outboard motors, but overall it's not really much of a place to bulk up the old 401k. Not that bulking the thing up has done anyone much good lately - for every dollar you slaved for and dumped into the thing instead of buying a 71 HEMI Cuda, you're lucky if you've got 46 cents left, but at Sloppy Joe's I'm not certain that anyone has noticed anyway.

All of which becomes relevant because The Flower Child heard about a "farm market" that she just had to check out and it was only about an hour and a half away from the house.

Meaning that I was going to have to blow three hours round trip to buy heirloom tomatoes and organic broccoli. Imagine if you will my utter joy.

However, since I'm used to it by now - and since I'm still trying to explain the "Terminator 3" pinball machine and the "NMS Performer Grand" 100 CD jukebox that I bought at auction last week instead of the antique tractors I told her I was scoping out - I drove by the local Seattle's Shame Burned Coffee Emporium for a triple venti wallet invasion, punched up the GPS and hit the road.

So that's how I found myself, a couple hours later, standing around with two second generation love children admiring Pygmy Nubian Goats named Hercules and Tulip (BTW Tulip was a real bitch) and discussing how they buy used vegetable oil from a fried chicken chain and - after letting the little tiny bits of burned bird flesh settle out - it makes a really awesome fuel for their trucks and cars, including the 1982 Mercedes Diesel that they insist I take a drive in.

Because of course while surly, right-wing, "Love it or leave it" me would prefer to stop in, buy a couple of rhubarb pies and a gallon of foul tasting pesticide free apple cider and then head over to TGIFridays for the "Grease-on-a platter" Happy Hour Special, washed down with half price Stella Artois, ten minutes after I shut off the engine The Earth Mother is not just having a conversation with a bunch of degenerate burnouts, she's literally in the kitchen with some Old Hippie Broad talking about the best ways to can blueberries.

So while I'm contemplating the various suicide options when all that's available is goat dung and organic honey, I find myself walking around a barnyard with some unrecalcitrant 60's stoner talking about the timing sequence for a 1974 Volkswagen Thing (30 degrees before top dead center is about right) when, somehow, incredibly, the topic of soccer comes up.

He's a huge fan. Has one of those satellite dishes the size of the ones NORAD used to use to watch for Soviet Tupolevs coming over the Pole so he can get games from all over the world. (Of course, he built a descrambler so he doesn't have to pay "the corporate beast" for the right to watch games)(did I mention that he has a recording studio with an electronics capacity that Sony would die for in a barn just behind the manure pile?) Knows every player from every team in every league on Earth.

The breadth and depth of his knowledge was astonishing. I, who had spent the first hour or so of this excursion praying for death, found myself fighting for my self respect just trying not to seem too terribly imbecilic to a 60ish ponytailed guy who wants to discuss the nuances of the French second division and his theory that the Coca-Cola Championship has become every bit as relevant as 1.Bundesliga.

And finally, after maybe 20 minutes of pretending that I had the first damn clue what he was talking about, it dawned on me: this guy, who was way too polite to point out that he had quite obviously forgotten more about soccer than I ever knew in my life, and despite living in Eastern Pennsylvania since the day he returned from Vietnam in 1970, hed not the slightest interest in the US National Team, any US Player, or Major League Soccer.

There we were, plodding through what he assured me was 20 acres of organic strawberry plants, with me thinking of myself as quite the expert on soccer in America, and this guy wasn't even remotely interested in one goddam thing I knew about MLS. soccer in the USA, or anything related to the US National team.

What he was into was firing up his home grown sensimilla, which he assured me was the finest in all the land, and digging on the game that moves him to the bottom of his soul.

I haven't got the first damn clue how to explain all of this to Don Garber,

I just wish to hell that I did,