I Have a Hamburger and Learn Too Much
Prior to 1964, before his job at the bow wow auschwitz experimental station constructed to control the troublesome behaviors of certain types of schoolchildren, Beefheart's manager had worked in a landscaping business started up by a friend's father, and had built himself strong shoulders shoveling sand to better cover the ground of new larger houses being constructed in the Valley.
In the fall of 1964, he had returned from a small touring trip to Europe, and having let go of his position at the pharmaceutical kennel, he was obliged to return to work for the friend's father after a brief unsuccessful and unsatisfying stint as a car salesman somewhere in the Valley. He was, finally, about to fly away from the comfortable nest of his parent's home and was looking for a place to live somewhere in the Los Angeles metro area that was within easy commute of Hollywood and the media centers there, as he was building a desire to work in show business. So I helped him look for a place, and we arrived at an apartment complex, where there was a large pool and young women and men tanning themselves poolside, where we spoke with the apartment manager at the wrought iron black gate. She was a much older lady, about the age of my grandmother, who tended to rentals there. She asked, "Are you swingers?"
We laughed about that, he and I, as we returned to the car with the newspaper that held other possible rentals circled in the classified section. Once ensconced in his new residence, I went to visit him, and he said he was thinking about finding another job (but wouldn't share what kind of job he might want) because, "I can't shovel sand forever." In his new residence, his mother, who knew he was struggling financially, would send over small packages of food. One such package arrived when I was there, which contained 3 filet mignon. He ate two of them. Once we dined out at Bob's Big Boy, likely in nearby Northridge,
where a huge plastic Bob stood out front offering a tray to passersby in need of a plastic cheeseburger. Just he and I, and as I was hungry as I really didn't have a lot of extra money for too much in the way of food after paying my own rent, saving for school, and working for a meager salary at my job, and eating only when the paycheck arrived at the end of every week, I ordered a hamburger. As I had just eaten perhaps 3 hours prior with him, a bowl of green beans at my own place, he disapproved, and told me, "You better watch out with that" (it was not the meat he objected to. girls, don't overeat when your boyfriend might pick up the tab, because you might grow fat and make his wallet slim, and he doesn't like that, is what he seemed to be saying).