I've got to show my west coast pride and root for Seattle to beat Carolina in Sunday's NFC championship game. But I also have a soft spot for Carolina's diminutive and irreverant wide receiver Steve Smith. Not because his considerable skills or anger management problems. No, it's because he used to work at a Taco Bell at the corner of Pico and Bundy in West L.A. and, as this article mentions, he uses his past fast food employment as inspiration. The article begins:
When there are no cornerbacks to taunt him and no coaches to question him, Carolina receiver Steve Smith heads to the Taco Bell on the corner of Pico Boulevard and Bundy Drive, where an order of motivation is always served fast and hot.
During bye weeks and summer vacations, when Smith comes home to Los Angeles, the car seems to steer itself down Pico. He drives straight to the Taco Bell in West L.A., not for a chalupa, but for a reminder. He used to work that cash register. He used to sweep that parking lot. He used to scrub those floors.
He used to scrub those floors!
Not only that but, without the grades to get him into a four-year university, Smith attended Santa Monica College, located a few miles west on Pico. The article concludes:
This season, he went to Santa Monica during the Panthers' bye week and delivered a pep talk at the 50-yard line. He told the players to go to class, to listen to their coaches, to stay out of fights.
That day, he probably could have taken 10 different roads back to campus. And yet, he took the same one he always did.
"I drive Pico," Smith said. "For a reason."
Yes, we all drive Pico for a reason. I used to live half a block off Pico. Pico was my muse, my home. Pico was my friend, my mother, my child. Now I don't live so close to Pico. Wilshire is my new Pico. They write books about Wilshire, not Pico. Still, I sometimes find myself on Pico.
And here are The Top 8 Reasons For Driving on Pico Boulevard (in west-to-east order)
1. Vidiots. For their fine DVD selection
2. The pool at Santa Monica College
3. The planetarium at Santa Monica College
4. McCabe's Guitar Shop
5. Trader Joe's
6. The Taco Bell parking lot that Steve Smith swept
7. The creepy Swedish grocery store
8. The no-longer-existing club where I saw Ween play in 1994
My NFL Predictions:
Seattle 27 Carolina 21
Denver 34 Pittsburgh 27