Bear with me here. I loved the National Lampoon’s early 1970s Lemmings record. It was a take off on Woodstock.
My favorite part was “Farmer Yassir” and his line, “Long hair, short hair. What the hell’s the difference once the head’s blowed off.” The character was played by Gary Goodrow.
Fast forward to the early 2000s. I go into the Kettle of Fish in the West Village to see my pal Warren who was behind the stick. I walk to the far end of the bar. It was pretty crowded and noisy and all of a sudden, through the din I hear this voice. I say to Warren, “That’s Farmer Yassir!”
Warren looks at me incredulously and says, “Yeah. How much pot did you smoke in college? Yeah that’s Gary. You have to invite him down and make him say that line.” I just couldn’t. It was too weird. So he goes down and talks to him the next thing I know, Gary comes down and Warren introduces us. I shake his hand and say how it is a pleasure to meet him.
Warren says, “Go ahead, ask him to say it and buy him a beer.” And I said, “Could you please say that Farmer Yassir line?” He smiled and said it in that voice. “Long hair, short hair, what the hell’s the difference once the head’s blowed off.”
I have to say, it was a weird, but one of the greatest moments in my life. He wasn’t some large celebrity. He was someone who made an impact in my young years and was not a household name, but I knew who he was.
He passed away in 2014.
But I thought of him when Prince died. He gave many people much joy over decades and he was a hotshot. But Gary Goodrow loomed larger for me. It wasn’t a lifetime, it was one moment. One moment that affected me. Sure it was a silly moment, but it make me think those silly moments are the ones that stay with us.