I loved 1998 – 2001. I’m sure living in Brazil and those being my first real years of consciousness contributed to the love, but I also think those years were amazing in general. They were the first years where the internet was really changing things for normal people – Napster existed, Amazon was out there. There was a certain electricity in the air, a collective feeling that everything was about to change or at least that Y2K would destroy us all.
The summer after 8th grade was my favorite summer during adolescence. We’d always come back from Brazil during school breaks, but instead of staying in the Camden Suites that was located in the scenic parking lot behind the Target (with “penthouse” views of the hospital from across the highway!) we weren’t renting our house out that year and we were able to spend the summer there. It was The Summer of Rap, the summer I wasn’t fat and the summer that Rachel got to stay over basically every night. Rachel was my best friend all through middle school, and the glue that held our friendship together despite my living in another country was that we both loved to make stupid shit. It started with our development of a village for tooth beavers. Tooth beavers were Rachel’s creation from I dunno when, but I learned about them when she used them to defend me from this boy who was making fun of me in 6th grade. I was wearing two WWJD bracelets that happened to be purple (“God’s Royalty”) and rainbow (“God’s Promise”) without understanding that those colors were fairly popular symbols of gay pride. Poor pre-adolescence Tiffany, realizing stuff was gay would not be my strong suit for the next 10 years…
So anyway, earlier that day I was wearing the bracelets when this scary goth chick named Cassidy stopped me to ask me something. By default, anyone with any sort of identity was cooler than me because all I had going for me was that I was The Girl Who Had Green Highlights On St. Patrick’s Day, which was kind of cool until I nervously explained to everyone that “oh no, this wasn’t intentional. I didn’t wash my hair after swimming and the pool dyed my hair green” so that’s not saying much. So Cassidy goes,
“Are you hetero?”
And I have NO FUCKING CLUE what that means. So I’m like,
“… Am I… head-ro?”
“No. I said are you HET-ER-RO?”
“What’s a head-row?”
“HET. Er. ROOOOOO.”
“I’m really sorry. I don’t know what a head ter row is. Can you explain it?”
“Just forget it.”
Later on in Journalism class, this boy Matt started making fun of me for the bracelets and I figured out what Cassidy was asking me.
“Haha. Your bracelets are gay.”
“No they’re not! They’re What Would Jesshsus Do bracelets. They’re like the opposite of gay.” At that point I still had the lisp.
“Why are you wearing purple and rainbow together then? Are you gay?”
“Purple issssh royalty and rainbow is God’sh promish!”
“Purple is gay and rainbow is also gay. Are you gay?”
This is when Rachel swooped in with her wonderful, weirdo tooth beavers.
“Matt the tooth beavers are gonna eat your teeth and paint a giant rainbow tooth beaver on your garage if you don’t shut up.”
“What are tooth beavers?”
“They’re the things that cause cavities. Duh.”
Then Rachel spent the rest of class drawing pictures of Matt’s garage door with rainbow tooth beavers on it. I thought they were hilarious, and they become our joke for the rest of the year. We made cardboard cartoon tooth beavers and tried building a village for them. We made them costumes… the whole shebang. When I moved to Brazil the tooth beaver project was tabled indefinitely, but my trips to the US gave way to new jokes, dances, songs and entire imaginary universes around the characters we’d create.
Ice Jam 2000 was the birth of “No Stubs,” our incredibly offensive amputee-themed parody of “No Scrubs”. I wonder what my mom was thinking as she drove around two girls gleefully singing, “If you have no legs and you’re hoppin’/ Oh yes son/ I’m talking to you”. But that summer we blew “No Stubs” out of the water. HomeGrocer had just come out, along with WebVan and bunch of other services that would deliver directly to you. My father had been telling us for years that this was going to happen. “One day you’re not going to need to leave the house to rent a movie! That’s the future!”
For some reason, Rachel and I decided that Home Grocer was gangsta as F and that he was just one dude driving around in a peach van, bringing the whole city of Atlanta their groceries from his peach truck.
So, because it was The Summer of Rap, I made up a few rap parodies about Home Grocer. They were basically all Eminem songs, but “The Real HomeGrocer” was my absolute favorite. And I want to share the lyrics with you guys, because I still remember them. I can’t tell you any important dates in US history, but I can remember the lyrics to a rap song about groceries I wrote in middle school. As a disclaimer, in middle school things like cheese and the name “Bob” were hilarious to Rachel and me. Was that everyone or just us? I’ve never been able to tell, but this song references cheese a lot for that reason. Other than that I need to remind you guys that I WAS ONLY 13 WHEN I WROTE THIS. Yes, I know. I’m brilliant. People tell me far too often.
If you want to try to rap along, here’s the link to The Real Slim Shady. I’m giving you the edited on because that’s how I learned it in 8th grade.
The Real Home Grocer
May I have your attention, please?
May I have your attention, please?
Will the real Home Grocer please stand up?
I repeat. Will the real Home Grocer please stand up?
We’re gonna have a problem here.
Y’all act you never seen a Home Grocer before
Cheese all on the floor
Like pans and muffins just burst in the door
He started deliverin’, first to your door
First was ignored
Fruit stains on the furniture – ah!
It’s the return of the ah, wait, no – wait?
He didn’t just eat what I think he did, did he?
And Web Van said –
Nothing you idiot! Web Van’s dead he’s locked in peach truck
All of the women love the HG man
cheezy cheezy cheezy
Home Grocer, I’m sick of him. Look at him?
Drivin’ around, bringing us who knows what
Bringing it to you know who
Yeah but he’s so cheap though!
I probably got a couple of screws up in my truck loose
But no worse than what’s going on in your parent’s fruit juice
Sometimes I wanna get on the highway and just let loose
But I can’t, but it’s cool for Web Van to sell a dead moose
“His cheese is good on chips, his cheese is good on chips,
And if you’re lucky it might not burn your little lips.”
And that’s the produce that we deliver to little kids
And expect them no to know what blue cheese really is
Of course they gonna know what mold spores is
But the time they hit fourth grade
They got the science lab don’t they?
But if he can sell dead animals and cheese that’s old
Then there’s no reason I can’t sell rotten cantilope
But if you feel like I feel, I’ve got the antidote
Women I sell panty hose, and the chorus – here it goes
Cuz I’m home grocer, yes I’m the real grocer
All the other web vans are just imitating
So won’t the real Home Grocer drive his truck?
Drive his truck?
Drive his truck?
“Forgot about Cheese” was also a favorite of mine. For what it’s worth, I always imagined the HG man to look something like this –
After Googling HomeGrocer, I learned more than I ever wanted to know about the company and it’s totally shattered my childhood dreams of the mystical one man HomeGrocer. And that’s why Wikipedia shouldn’t exist.
Peace, love and mold spores,