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  • No, I wasn’t born in a barn, just damn close, and let’s get one thing straight, I also didn’t buy the farm. If anything, I escaped.

    For instance, ten years back, I started to travel to NoCal from my SoCal home. I called this trek “Going to Frisco.” For me, this title smacked of Kerouac who I read too much when I was a kid. When I said, “Going to Frisco,” I felt so beatnic. Just hand me the beanie and the bongos.

    “Going to Frisco,” I’d tell people and just keep on walking down the street. Then, one day, my hairdresser Jon Veitch asked me what I was up to and I said,

    “Going to Frisco!”

    His scissors stopped in the air, he turned me around in the salon chair and squatted down so we were face to face.

    “Can I tell you something?” he looked at me with a serious face.

    I nodded.

    “Don’t say Frisco.”

    “Why not?”

    “I’ll have to fire you as a client if you continue to say Frisco.”
    “Seriously?” I pressed.

    “Yes. I don’t do hillybilly hair. Just refer to it as ‘The City.’”

    Frisco is hillbilly, I guess. But I didn’t know until that day.

    To test this theory, I went to a friend’s house, who grew up in Berkley and said,
    “I’m going to Frisco.”

    She crinkled her nose like Uranus had released the foulest of flame.

    “Don’t say that, please.”

    “What?”

    “The F word. Don’t say it.”

    “Frisco?”

    “Yes.”

    I made another friend who lived in that NoCal place, and I tried it on her.

    “You live in Frisco?”

    Again, her mouth puckered like she had eaten a bug.

    “No. I don’t live there.”

    “Where do you live?”

    “San Francisco. The city.”

    “Frisco?”

    I could have sworn I heard a scream.

    I find it interesting, this Frisco thing.

    I went up there to Frisco a few days ago and again, I tested it out. I found a juice bar and a super mellow dreadlocked host. I ordered a drink.

    When I was done, I wiped my face with the back of my hand and announced,

    “That is the best damn wheatgrass juice in Frisco. I tell you.”

    86ed. Kicked right out of the town. Threatened with my life by a vegan, no less. She said she’d kick my ass.

    And so from Frisco, I drove North to the wine country to a town called Heraldsburg, so dang quaint. I walked around the plaza and admired the gentry. Along the plaza were boutiques and wine tasting venues with names like Ferarri-Chianti and Coppola Cafe. I met my cousin who lives here in one of these places. We had a little bite. When the waiter asked how things were at the end of the night, I said,

    “It was okay, but it was no Applebee’s!”

    What do you know? 86ed. Kicked right out of town.

    So, I am headed back to the Southland. Whatever, NoCal friends. At least in the Southland, I can get a Grand Slam at whatever time in the night. Call it Denny’s; I call it civilization. Check it out. I wasn’t born in a barn, folks, just damn close.
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