Gregory Lamping is a psychiatric nurse who lives in Kirkwood, a Buddhist and the cousin of Cardinals president Mark Lamping. He's also a contributor to the brand-new Chicken Soup for the Fisherman's Soul.
Unreal: Our fax machine crapped out so we didn't get your whole story. Something about you being ten and catching a carp and releasing it?
Gregory Lamping: That's actually where the story begins. The next day I was down at the work site where my dad was a carpenter. There was a black laborer named J.D. Now, Chicken Soup did not want me to say he was black, or even to give his nickname. They just called him a 'local laborer.' I think because the fish in the story was a trash fish, plus J.D. was a laborer, and just calling attention to race may have been an issue. Anyway, so he finds the fish and catches it with his bare hands, and he's just so super-excited, like, 'Look what I caught me!' He's just so damn proud of himself. He just couldn't wait to take it home and have his wife cook it up for supper. Also, it said in the story I was ten, but actually I did some arithmetic and I was really twelve years old at the time.
There are 65 titles in the Chicken Soup series. How many have you read cover to cover?
None. Let's face it, they're gift books. Even in Chicken Soup for the Fisherman's Soul, there's quite a few stories I haven't' read.
Do you think that if noted fisherman Ernest Hemingway had read this book three hours before he shot himself in 1961 he'd have put off his suicide? Or would it have hastened his departure?
I don't think he would have read the book. I think he would have had other things on his mind.
Are we going to see Chicken Soup for the Vegan's Soul anytime soon? How about Chicken Soup for the Reformed Pedophile's Soul?
If you look at the Web page, there are some titles that can really raise an eyebrow. One that caught my eye was Chicken Soup for the Alzheimer's Soul. You never know, they might get desperate for a title.
Lard Have Mercy
After a week beefing up with brats, brownies and oh, the carbs, a fuller-than-full Unreal is braving the journey to the Sheraton Westport Plaza to get our fat on with the St. Louis-based Midwest Chub Club. The eight-year-old group has gathered for its second annual BBW (Big Beautiful Women) Bash, a weekend plump with activities promoting fun with/by/for fat people. Specifically, we've come for "Prom Night": big broads wearing boas, satin and pearls, doing the Electric Slide and posing for cheesy photos.
Funny, some BBWs look a whole lot chunkier than others. BBWs, we learn, come in two different sizes: The standard caste clocks in under 300 pounds; anything greater's a "Super-Sizer."
"And you would not believe the men that love us," effuses 450-pound Camey, a brunette with a glossy complexion and girl-next-door smile. Camey, who has been picked up at gas stations and stalked outside her workplace, likes her chaps both puny and massive. (Her ex-hubby weighed about 130.)
"Any favorite positions?" we inquire delicately.
"A lot of larger women don't realize there are safer ones to have sex in, like leaning on a couch, or on a bed," says she. Nor should big men feel bashful about hoisting their bellies out of the way to pleasure their women. And gals would do well to place a pillow under their rump "so things are more open," says Camey.
To make Unreal's evening complete, she summons a few male attendees to wax poetic about BBWs. "I'm a booty man," says Scott, a stout five-ten and 220. "The best big butt ever is soft, firm, plump. Vegetable-wise, it'd be like a banana."
Suddenly hungry again, we light out for the nearest QT.
For years the Cardinals organization has touted its fans as the friendliest and most knowledgeable in all of baseball. But Unreal recently learned that the syrup-sweet reputation is sometimes coerced by an etiquette gestapo.
Unreal attended this past Friday's tilt with a friend, who was clad in a spanking-clean "Yankees Suck" T-shirt. A shirt, we might add, that is a commonplace sight throughout the stadiums of the American League East.
Upon entering the ballpark, we were set upon by a security guard and ushered to a leaky restroom somewhere in the bowels of Busch, where our companion was ordered by an ersatz Lynndie England to turn the offensive duds inside-out or vacate the premises.
He complied. But it did not end there.
Our friend had tickets to Sunday's game as well. This time he put on an inoffensive Cardinals T-shirt over his "Yankees Suck"-wear. Reaching his seat in the nosebleeds, he doffed the over-T and let his true sentiments speak.
Not two innings passed before one of Lynndie's sidekicks reiterated Friday's ultimatum.
Speaking through a Cardinals spokeswoman, Joe Abernathy, vice-president of stadium operations, reassures Unreal that the club has long banned anything that might take away from the game's family atmosphere -- and that includes T-shirts.
How does that explain the 300-pound guy sitting in front of our friend on Sunday? Where were the dress police when the behemoth shed his shirt -- the better to broil his hirsute back in the warm June sun?
LOCAL BLOG O' THE WEEK
About the blogger: "My name is Tim, and I live in the zoo. I'm an Emperor Penguin, king of the arctic seas, er, well, emperor of the arctic seas at least. I enjoy fish. I also enjoy swimming. I am also very, very bitter."
Recent Highlight (May 20, 2005): Sigh.
So, I was talking to Craig today...well, at least I think it was Craig. Those King's all look so fucking similar! Mother Nature, you cruel mistress...
Anyway, I was talking to Craig, trying to help him see the light of our situation, but all I got out of the daft bastard was;
"Fish? Eat? Swim? Fish?"
I hate him for his ignorance, and loathe him for his bliss.
Lucky fucker has no idea the rotten hole of filth we're in, and he never will. I bet he expects a fucking whale to beach itself any minute and start trying to gobble us up. Doesn't he know we're in a zoo?? For God's sake, I've already gained 12 ounces! I've got nothing to do! You can only stand that shit-ridden pool of skag for twenty minutes before you've got to get out for fear of toxioplasmosis!
Oh, and before I forget, if I have to eat one more of those pre-dead fish, I'm going to fucking kill myself. It just hangs there in the water like my life; bloated and going nowhere. I had options on the outside! I had potential! Now I can't even get the ole' chilly willy fed, if you know what I mean. Those fucking Humboldts...
Speaking of the Humboldts, Juarez knocked up Mimi, and she's already dropped an egg! Then, get this: the bitch comes crawling back to me, asking me to waddle around with that fucking thing on my feet until it hatches, squawking about how much she loves me and misses me! Can you believe that bitch?! She leaves me for some wanna-be Don Juan, and then comes to me to take care of the fucking kid, so she can go run off and get knocked up again!
Know of an Unreal-worthy local blog? Send the URL to email@example.com.