Monday, April 21, 2008

Stories from Ghetto Kroger #3: Big Head

I've witnessed many crazy moments at Ghetto Kroger. But one of the craziest had to do with a movie starring Cher.

So there I was a month and a half into my bagging duties at Ghetto Kroger. Getting my groove down. Macking with the ladies. Making some money. I even made some pretty good friends at the store.

When bagging groceries, I would sometimes imagine I was in the Super Bowl of Bagging. I would time myself to see how fast and accurate I could bag groceries. I even pitted my time against other baggers.

Hey, it passed the time.

One Saturday morning, I was bagging like a mad hatter and soaking up the views in the process. Many cute little sorority ladies would walk through my line donned in scantily clad Scarlet and Gray apparel purchasing alcohol, pretzels, hot dogs and whatever else you buy for an Ohio State football game.

My early morning shift was going a-ok. The sights were especially good. And, with my shift ending right before kick-off, it was turning out to be a great day.

I said was.

That's when I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. Walking into Ghetto Kroger was this black dude who had what appeared to be a giant foam head on his shoulders....much like the heads you see in the Mardi Gras parade.

I started to laugh out loud. Giggling, I poked the cashier in front of me on the shoulder and pointed to the guy with the funny Mardi Gras head.

"Check it out," I snirked.

That's when I saw the eyes on the Mardi Gras head blink.

That's when my smile turned into a frown.

That's when the blood drained from my head.

That's when I realized It wasn't a Mardi Gras head, but the dude's actual head!

My jaw had officially dropped.

"Psssst," A cashier stepped up behind me and whispered in my ear. "Stop staring at him."

"But...what?....huh?" I mumbled in total shock. I couldn't stop looking at the enormous head.

Big Head and his posse of five or six guys walked over to the produce section and eventually out of my line of sight.

I pushed my jaw closed and turned around towards the cashier.

"You ever see the movie Mask with Cher?" she asked me.

I nodded.

"Well, that guy has the same disease as the guy from Mask, Rocky Dennis."

"Ohhhhhh," I said. Not really comprehending anything she was saying.

"When he comes through the line, don't look at him too long," she said. "Those guys he hangs out with don't like it when you look at him for too long."

"Okay," I thought to myself. "Don't stare at the guy with the enormous Big Head."

About 20 minutes passed and I was bagging groceries completely unaware of my surroundings. Almost like a fish swirling around in a bowl.

That was until I looked up and saw Big Head waiting in line in my bagging aisle. His mouth opened and a big Jabba the Hutt tongue came out and he licked his lips.

"Don't stare at the guy with the enormous Big Head." "Don't stare at the guy with the enormous Big Head." "Don't stare at the guy with the enormous Big Head." "Don't stare at the guy with the enormous Big Head."

But, I was transfixed. I couldn't stop looking at Big Head.

You know that feeling you got when you watched that documentary about the 16-year old girl with two heads? Well, multiply that by 30. And that's how what I felt right at that exact moment.

My heart was beating. My hands were getting pasty. I felt extremly light-headed. I was going to pass out.

I had to get away from Big Head immediately!

I found myself walking away from my bagging station. I had no control over my body. My legs walked me all the way to the back of the Kroger store right into the restroom. My hands tossed some water on my face. My lungs took a couple of deep breaths.

For a brief second, I wanted to quit, leave the store and drink about a case of beer with my friends. Then go hide in a corner.

Just to be sure he was gone, I walked the entire length of the backroom and took an extremely long drink from the water fountain on the other side of the store.

With my composure maintained, I walked back to my bagging station and, to my relief, Big Head was gone.

"Whew!" I sighed.

"Eimer," the store manager yelled. "We're empty on carts. Go bring some in from outside?"

I nodded and hightailed it outside. But, as the automatic doors flew open, I stopped dead in my tracks. I saw Big Head and his posse in the parking lot slowly walking away from Ghetto Kroger.

A white frat boy on a bike pedaled past Big Head and did what seemed to be a quintuple take. Like a five-year old boy attempting to take his first ride, the frat boy meandered on his bike and struggled to maintain his balance. All the while staring at the giant blinking globe.

Two guys from Big Head's posse started beating their chests and yelling insults at the frat guy. But Big Head didn't turn around.

"What's the matter?" yelled one of the guys. "Ain't you never seen anyone with a big head before?"

I'm going to go out on a limb answer that question for the frat boy.


People might be wondering if Big Head was a regular mainstay at the Ghetto Kroger.

Sadly, no.

Although my good friend once served him up some fish filets at the Seafood Department on a different day, I only had the surreal opportunity to witness the craziness that was Big Head once. And, to be honest, that was enough.

During my Ghetto Kroger tour of duty, rumors would always swirl around about Big Head. Some said he was living on borrowed time due to his disease. Others say he donated his head to the Ohio State University after he died in exchange for $20,000 a month while he was alive. I also heard that Big Head and his posse would walk around the campus area beating up and robbing shocked observers who would stare at his giant dome. During one particular lunch break, I struck up a conversation with a cashier who lived in the area about Big Head.

"Oh he a playa," she told me. "He's got, like, 20 kids from 10 different women. My cousin is one of them."

Big Head? A playa?

Of all of the rumors I've heard about Big Head, I found that one the hardest to believe.

Other Stories from Ghetto Kroger:
Story #1: Intro
Story #2: Magic


cbrown said...

Wow, can't believe we never exchanged stories on this one...

When I worked the night shift at BP on the corner of Broad & Monroe in 1991, he came in one night without the posse to get gas. I was working on homework or something and was caught totally off guard when he walked up to the window. He slid a bill through the window tray and asked for something like "10 bucks on pump 4"; when I looked up, I nearly lost consciousness. No shit. I started shaking and stuttering and he just walked away, got back in the car. I'm sure he was used to it, but he caught me completely by surprise.

I felt awful about it after he had left, but how else do you react when you're not expecting something that seems completely impossible? UFOs, Bigfoots, ghosts; it was damn near the same thing as seeing something like that. I'll never forget that night.

Your Finest Eimer said...


Another Big Head sighting outside of Ghetto Kroger. Sweet.

I didn't know he could talk!

I feel like an amateur anthropologist.

Eric Wiley said...

Currently cherishing this package - both Brad's story and Craig's follow-up.

Anonymous said...

Man that is hillarious! Not that the guy has some awful disease, but it's the way you guys tell the story. rotfl

Your Finest Eimer said...


Thanks for the kind words. There's more to come. Lots more.

Anonymous said...

Wow' Thats crazy, here it is 25 years later and I'm strolling through Google and the name big head tony pops up! Its not funny at all because I got to know him and he was cool as hell, just like any other playa playa...I met this beautiful young lady and she was telling me she just got out of arelationship with this dude named tony....I first saw tony in a nightclub/bar, me and a couple friends who just moved here from new friend started screaming saying "yo! What the fuck...look at that mother fucker with the big ass head..yo! What the fuck is this a set up or something??"...then I turned and looked------i almost fell out, at first my mind couldn't register what I was seeing. I got real serious cause I was afraid, and I'm a gangster...then I noticed his crew getting rowd up, i told my friend from new York to chill but you know how hype newyorkers are, so we got up outta there!.... But the craziest thing to me was....he had a black turtle neck on! WTF!

Anonymous said...

He was a good dude

Unknown said...

Yea to be honest the stories I heard from the people who was close to him say that he was very cool.However I grew up with him and just to clarify the obvious disrespect you people keep doing to him, he did have a name. HIS NAME WAS TONY!!!!Growing up,every day after school, Tony would purposly scare me. He knew I was terrified of him so he deliberately started walking funny, moving his arms in a cheezy ghostly way,n making ghost noises.He was a teen n I was about 6. I'm 38 yrs old now but throughout the yrs I have had alot of encounters with Tony. He probably didn't remember me but he is unforgettable to me. He was a very popular and yes everywhere he went he did have his family with him. As an adult I knew it was wrong but I stared until he was out of sight. Whenever I seen him I froze literally, I mean I couldn't move or speak. To this very day I'm extremely afraid of costumes like, Mickey mouse, chuck e cheese, etc. The only reason I felt compelled to write because of the blatend disrespect. If you have been told about Tony then I'm sure you were informed that he has a name witch is "TONY". HIS name isn't big head or the big head, it's Tony. The ignorance you possess is called discrimination. If your child, brother, mother, etc. Was born like that how would you feel??? Smh

Bradley Eimer said...

Thanks a lot Unknown. No disrespect intended. When I wrote this post back in 2007, I didn't know his name was Tony. I flirted with the idea of updating this post, but it's in the past. I'm not sure I was discriminating against someone that I did not know. Again, thanks for post. This is one of the most visited pages on my blog.