Dirt Plowed Under

by Marshall Stacks
Editor Reverberations Magazine


Last Friday, when I caught up with Phil Dirt, King of surf radio, he was emerging from Taco Bell wearing a plaid dress shirt (2 sizes too large), with a torn pocket protector containing 3 pens, a mechanical pencil, and his bifocals, and what looked like a shred of lettuce hitching a ride on his left sleeve. His khaki pants displayed a week's worth of wrinkles, and sported a fashionable 3 inch gap displaying his off-white socks and penny loafers. At 4 foot 6 190, I have to tell you he seemed much larger on the radio. I employed that tried and true journalism 101 tool of casual conversation to gain his trust. I told him how much I liked his show, and was grateful he didn't quiz me, since I've never actually heard it. We chatted about O. J. Simpson's glove, Lynn Russell's wigs, and digital editing. After a decent interval, a concept I've been personally burned by, I slipped into the heart of the interview.

I asked Phil if the biography I'd seen on Reverb Central was accurate. Actually, I'd been snail mailed a copy by a disgruntled net surfer who had been repulsed by John Revolta's flab exposure in Pulp Fiction, and had blamed it all on Dick Dale. dick dale I thought network was like CBS, or something. I still use a typewriter. Anyway, I began the hard questions about the laughable bio that's been circulating, even appeared on the front page of Eclectic Ear Piercing, or some such rag.

So I asked about the accuracy in the most delicate way I could. After all, I wanted an answer. No not just an answer, a scoop. I asked "So Phil, I read that hilarious bio on your homeboy page, and I was wondering just how much of that is true?"


Phil Dirt looked around, lowered his voice to a whisper, and sent his answer drifting lightly toward me on a breeze of green jalapeno sauce. He said "Can I trust you? I mean, if my publicist ever found out, he shoot me, but it's all lies. I don't even know who wrote that stuff. It might not even be from the head publicity babe. Probably some hacker. Anyway, that's it. There, I've cleared my conscience."


nerd license plate Seeing pewlitzer (is that some kind of organ?) flash before my eyes in recognition of a Leonard & Bernstein style expose, I egged the trusting Dirt into another corner. I asked about his cool woodie. I mean, I always wanted one of those things. When I was in high school, I could have gotten a date and the accompanying show of status from Mary Lou Soughtafter. Oh, the thought of opportunity lost. Anyway, enough about me. I queried "What's it like driving around in that bitchin' woodie? You must be shovin' the babes out at every turn!"

Phil shook his head slightly, panning left to right, then back again, then went on to say "(sigh) I've never owned a Woody, and besides, I ride the bus! I like the camaraderie of rubbing shoulders (and a lot more if size is any measure) with the common man, or on rare occasion, woman."

Seething with anticipation of even more revelations to come, I asked with convincing mock concern about the inconvenience of public transportation, especially in rural areas like Felton. Phil looked a bit sheepish, saying "I live in Alviso, and I'm a junior programmer at Cisco Systems."

"A programmer?" I asked. I could have guessed as much. Those tiny orbs were probably once near normal size, but have been reduced to mere pinpoints of colorless pupil. Phil said "You may have used my music editor software." I had gone along with his earlier talk about digital editing during my effective disarming small talk, but I didn't think he'd want to actually consult with me about it. I cautiously asked "What's it called?" Phil answered with great pride "I wrote a simple little subroutine that reduced the operating overhead by 90%. The Vice President put it in his new music manipulation software offering, and he expects to move 500,000 pieces the first year. I asked Phil "Which VP?" to which he replied "Our VP." I said "You mean..." and Phil said "Yes, Al Gore."

Now, I had to wonder if this guy had all his cookies, but he just seemed too innocent and genuine, so I bit the bait. "You mean, our Vice President, Al Gore, writer of fantasy stories and architect of the information stupor highway, has his own software?" Phil responded with a firm "Of course! I mean, he used ghost writers, I was one, but it was his idea." So I had to ask "What's it called?" Phil momentarily dodged the question, with a slight clarification, admitting that "Al really only had the idea. Well not the whole idea, just the title, but he was so inspiring, I don't even care if gets all the royalties." So, I said "and the name is?". Phil paused for a second, then said "I'm really bad with trade names... its called... uh... oh yes, AlGoreRhythms."

Well, now I wasn't sure what to think. After all, Dan Quayle thought people in Latin America spoke Latin, so maybe this is for real. Wanting not to stop the flow of incredibly valuable insights into the real Phil Dirt, I proceeded without missing a beat.


So, Phil, your show must be a magnet for the women, huh? Do you date much with women who call you while you're doing your show?

dirt girlfriend Phil looks down at his unfinished Dr, Pepper, and says "I get a lot of come-ons, alright, but I try to be loyal to the girlfriend du jour." Phil takes out his wallet, an almost two inch thick moth eaten denim thing bulging with frayed and torn pieces of paper. He scrounge around for a while, and then offers "Here's a picture of my grilfriend right now. Her name is Patsy, er uh. Peggy - yeah, Peggy Sue."

I've seen this girl before somewhere... but I figure I should just move on to the next subject.


"Your Bio said you were 25 going on 50 with a big gray mustache and proxy locks. That seems to be a slight overstatement." Phil responded without batting an eye "Overstatement, Hell that's my brother, not me. He's the one who wears the gnarly blue and black Pendletons, vintage Jansen baggies, and huarache sandals. I've always like the professional look, you know, neat business clothes and a snappy pocket protector. You probably didn't notice this one. I had a really rough day today. To make things worse, I tore the corner of my PockyPouch (his favorite brand of pocket protector) on my keyboard while trying to do a save as my herb tea slid off my desk into my top drawer, soaking yesterday's tuna fish sandwich and my monthly report. This was my favorite, but I guess this is its last day on earth. I am not a happy camper."

I begged with surprise "Does this mean you don't surf much?" Phil looked indignant. He snarled "Don't I look like I can surf? I spend about 50 hours a week on the net!"


I felt I had enough to blow the lid off the entire caper. I could be the Paul Revereware of surfdome. I excused myself politely with a tale of tardy for dinner. man in white coat As I began to float out the door, a distinguished gentleman in a lab coat approached Phil and said "There you are. You're a naughty boy. You know you aren't supposed to leave your room without an escort. Phil will be very upset to hear we misplaced his favorite brother for a whole hour."


I hung my head. All hope of fame and misfortune dashed, I wiped my oh-poor-me tears from my cheeks, and dragged my reduced person back to the paper. I mused aloud "What will I write about now?"