Hammond Wry is the screen name of one Damen Ginzberg who lives in his parents’ basement in their middle class home in Hammond, Indiana.
He understands the town’s bleak economic outlook, from its dearth of established high-paying jobs to the scarcity of interesting entry-level opportunities. Moreover, he recognizes, in part by overhearing his parent’s desperate, late night conversations, that those already established in the job market are in for a hard time, as well. Mr. and Mrs. Ginzberg live within their means, stay at their reasonably well-paying, if ultimately boring and unsatisfying jobs, and maintain the promise that their children—Damen has an older sister named Kenzie—may attend good state universities after high school without having to worry about the cost. But with Kenzie down at Bloomington-Normal, food and fuel costs ballooning, and the business-friendly state legislature always threatening to cut Mr. Ginzberg’s pension, Damen has been questioning the wisdom of playing by the rules. For if playing by the rules guarantees that you lose, why bother playing? If you must play, why play on their terms?
So that summer, before he is to join Kenzie at IU, he tells his parents that he is taking a paid internship with a famous cheese maker in Los Angeles, and hops a freight train. He supports himself through the summer by working part-time jobs at Whole Foods and as a cabin boy at a ritzy day spa. In his off hours he works toward his ultimate goal of making very pure LSD, which he plans to aggressively market and restore to its proper place among frequently used psychedelics. To be honest, making cheese is not even a vague consideration for him, and he had told his parents that line only because his mom loves cheese and he had read about a contest for said internship in the back of a Wine Spectator magazine in which he was trying to learn more about tannic acid, which he sadly later finds out has absolutely no suitable application for making LSD. But when the assistant cheese buyer at the Whole Foods chides him for making such a burnout drug and informs him instead that cheese is where the real action is, it does not take him too long to realize that not only is cheese-making considerably easier than drug manufacturing, but that it also has the advantage of being legal. It doesn’t quite sit well with young Mr. Ginzberg, who doesn’t want to play by society’s rules, no matter how convenient they might be, and it takes him only a short time longer (a matter of seconds, actually) to realize that his other job allows him enviable access to celebrity bacteria, bacteria that can be used in a line of paparazzi cheeses. As far as he knows, celebrities have yet to trademark, copyright, or patent their excretions, parasites, and byproducts, but stealing their most private privates would give his venture the kind of edginess that generates excitement.
So he goes to work and at the end of the summer posts his inaugural cheese online at celebritycheesehunters.com under the name Lagoon with a View Bleu, and watches with amazement as the auction prices skyrocket.
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Editor’s note: Technically it is her vulva, not her vagina.