Monday, August 29, 2011

We Congratulate the "Most Fun" Harpies of KVKL and Duckie Deconstructs Dirty Dillons in a Guest Column

Since attendance at the KVKL Championship is required for all scenesters, we showed up briefly just prior to the Star Bar/Love Garden showdown, assuming we'd see fireworks and streaking. We didn't. And we even missed the promenading dog who was dressed like a Star Bar barracuda. But we DID get to see some of our friends in the Harper Valley PTA "Fightin' Harpies" take the field to claim their "Most Fun" award. Doesn't the very fact that there IS a "most fun" award suggest that too much about local kickball has become not very fun? Anyway, congrats to the Harpies! Early in the season we suggested (ignorantly) that the Harpies misfits might actually rise, Bad News Bears-style, through the ranks and become real contenders. But in retrospect, we're more proud of them for keeping KVKL about what it should be about: getting fucked up on a Sunday with a sense of childlike exuberance (and occasionally cruising around the Eastside on a pirate ship). We left about four innings into the championship, but presumably someone won, and a few people got pissed, and everyone made up over PBRs at the Replay afterward.

Here's a shot from behind the legendary KVKL horsehead during the national anthem:


In an ideal Larryville, you would read the following article in a hard copy of an edgy cultural magazine while kicked back in a booth at your favorite dive sipping a leisurely afternoon Hamms. In this Larryville, you'll read it here, on a blog mostly devoted to boner jokes. But maybe that's pretty cool too.

This is our Twitter-friend Duckie Lane's take on the demise of Dirty Dillons. Settle in and enjoy!

"While devouring 2-for-1 burgers one Monday night at Henry T’s, my friend lamented the demise of Bagel Bites. (Have you ever noticed that it’s more fun to talk about food while you are eating?) “Pizza in the morning, pizza in the evening, pizza at supper time … when pizza’s on a bagel, you can eat pizza anytime,” we sang, mouths full of beef patties.

She swore to me that she hadn’t seen a single Bagel Bite for sale on local grocery store shelves in ages. Not only that, but apparently mini-bagels were also a thing of the past. Shoot, there goes my backup plan …

In 2004, I subsisted purely on crisis portions of Bagel Bites. Was this legitimate part of every phase of my life gone forever? After the shock wore off, I pondered the validity of her claims. Seriously? These things no longer exist? We paid our checks and I essentially tricked her into stopping at Dillons on 6th Street. I headed straight for the frozen foods.

And there was the frozen box, packed with tons of:delicious pizzas on a tiny bagels. Crisis one averted. We wandered over to the bread section and yes, mini-bagels also still exist. Crisis two, false alarm. Rather than call my friend a dirty dirty hysteria-monger, we set to determine where this myth originated. The answer? Dillons on Mass Street. East Lawrence’s beloved Dirty D, or Dillons of the Damned (I'm dying to know any other nicknames you might have had for it), while insanely convenient, was somewhat lacking in the inventory department. Since many of us only patronized our neighborhood grocer, it made perfect sense that we would assume a product doesn’t exist at all before we’d concede that Dirty D’s product selection was mediocre at best among like 8,000 other flaws—no ... quirks.

It came as no surprise that plans were unveiled to give the sole grocery store serving East Lawrence a much needed overhaul. The store was built in 1960, caught fire in 1974 and is set to be demolished this any day now. (If anyone wants to watch them bulldoze that thing, I'm so there.) Plans for the new construction boast 10,000 additional square feet, a hot food bar, dining area, free wifi, a Starbucks, sushi bar and an expanded organic department in addition to a host of other improvements. The store will join its Lawrence brethren in the 21st Century.

With these projected improvements come some drawbacks. Not a day has passed where every single inhabitant or couch surfer at my house complains about walking/biking to Checkers. Sure, Checkers is awesome when you've got a car and go for the major groceries, and honestly it's not THAT far. But man! I could ride my bike to Dirty D's in 5 minutes flat. I was the master of showing up at 10:57 p.m. and still managing to get out by closing time at 11 p.m. (Seriously, please don't get me wrong on the Checkers thing ... it's just ... who wants to walk an extra mile in winter conditions for pizza rolls?) The big bosses at Kroger (Dillons' parent company) are projecting a Spring 2012 reopening after the whole shebang is leveled. Shall we start a pool now naming the date the project will actually be completed? Winner gets a free PBR?

At an unofficial meeting of the East Larry Residents Club (a.k.a. while hanging out around my fire pit), we discussed coping strategies. Obviously, most people are just going to Checkers (and whining A LOT about it), and some have been knocking out their shopping at the Cottin's and Downtown Farmers Markets. One friend promised to only purchase “groceries” from surrounding convenience stores, and another said she would be forced to patronize Bambino’s at the Grove daily, else the starvation will take over her body. (Isn't that place closed?)

Melodramatic? Sure. But many of us Eastsiders rely on pedal and foot power to travel from point A to B. We do not travel more than two miles from our homes, and honestly, we like it that way. What are we supposed to do now?! Seriously, this is the ultimate Catch-22. Together as always, we will cope. East. Lawrence Will. Grocery Shop. Again.

It’s still bleak to consider 2011 the “Year Dirty D was closed.” This place is the stuff of Lawrence legend. I Googled “Dirty Dillons” and found some posts from the forum waxing nostalgic for Dear Dirty D. “I shop there because it's the closest grocery store to us, but only when I'm in a big hurry. I had one friend get her wallet stolen (out of her shopping basket while she was holding the basket), and I've seen them chasing out homeless shoplifters TWICE. Once they were literally chasing the dude around the store, while he had sandwiches in his arms,” poster Nemmie said.

I’ve certainly seen overzealous employees chase shoplifters out of the store, but come on, y’all! The store wasn’t that bad. During my time in the South, I had the pleasure of spending my weekends in Midtown Atlanta, and (the primary neighborhood grocery store was called “Murder Kroger.(Remember, Kroger is the parent company of Dillons.) Trust me, Dirty D haters, things could have gotten much, much worse. I’ve certainly never felt uncomfortable shopping in the store, except for the few times I had the audacity to interrupt high school gossip hour at the U-Scan attendant stand.

Dirty D, most of us will miss your bizarre charm, miraculous proximity, mediocre produce, $.59 fried chicken livers at 10:30 p.m., and the character that only comes with aging fixtures and devil-may-care attitude toward, well, everything. Sure, we’ll happy to have something shiny and new, but you’ll live forever in the hearts of Eastsiders and that unmistakable Lawrence lore. Goodbye, my overpriced, understocked, bizarrely staffed friend. Goodbye.

HEAD'S UP: Missing your favorite Dirty D employees? Cruise over to 23rd St. Dillons ... It's like walking into your old store, except it's clean and bright and huger and has hot food and a cheese sampling zone."

Now read this piece on "Murder Kroger" over here

No comments: