Wednesday, September 08, 2004

High In The '80s

King Solomon, he of unparalleled wisdom and insatiable libido, once said, "There's nothing new under the sun." Even though TiVo wouldn't be invented until years after his death, I think he may have been foreshadowing today's TV fare. The only stuff worth watching is the reheated leftovers from my youth. To wit:

ESPN selected the U.S. hockey team's victory over the Soviets in the 1980 Olympic games as the greatest sports moment of the last 25 years. No matter how many times I see it, I still can't believe how long Al Michaels' shirt collar is coming out of his standard-issue, light blue ABC sweater. And, yes, I still get misty when I hear, "Do you believe in miracles?" That moment made me want to become a sportscaster. I'll never forgive him. ("Do you believe in 60 hours a week at $14,000 a year? Yes!!!")

Has there been a better commercial this year than the Starbucks' spot featuring a flabbier but still spunky Survivor providing audio inspiration to the businessman en route to work to the tune of their hit, "Eye of the Tiger?"

"Glen's the man. Goin' to work. Got his tie. Got ambition..."

When Glen exits the office elevator, the band spots the next guy coming in and sings, "Roy! Roy, Roy, Roy!"

Priceless. Am I the only one who - as far back as age 6 and as recently as, say, this morning at 9:30 - has imagined key moments in life being played out perfectly against the backdrop of a particular song? Yes? That's what I thought. I'm sure growing up in the MTV generation had nothing to do with this particular neurosis.

It's like my own personal mental video vault of songs playing over scenes of my life, usually in slow motion and including multiple close-ups of me grimacing or agonizing over a key situation. "At This Moment" by Billy Vera and the Beaters was well-used. I built several scenarios around "The Search Is Over" by the aforementioned Survivor. All of these episodes involved girls, who in real life only knew I existed because I weighed slightly less than a Fiat at the time, ending up in my arms forever.


I almost forgot about that one. Kenny Loggins absolutely owned the '80s, thanks in part to this ditty in which he whines about losing his woman. Not that she left him for another guy. He literally couldn't find her. Whatever. The chicks totally fell for it.

I didn't date much.

Flipping around trying to find that Starbucks commercial again, I stumbled on to the climactic scene from the original Karate Kid with Ralph Macchio and Billy Zabka, the blond-haired punk who seemed to show up as the villain in every movie of import in the '80s: Karate Kid, Back to School, possibly Gandhi, though I'm not 100% sure on that one.

I got to the movie just as Macchio was mounting a rally, prompting the mean guy's sensei to sen-say, "Sweep the leg." (It was at that point that Amy asked, "Is that Patrick Swayze?" I was like, "Are you kidding? The big screen couldn't have contained a single movie with the star power of Swayze, Ralph Macchio, a highly nubile Elisabeth Shue, and Pat Morita, shaking off those last embarrassing years as Arnold in Happy Days to turn in the performance of a lifetime as Mr. Miyagi." She responded with her trademark rolling of the eyes and leaving of the room. I did concede that Martin Kove looked like what Swayze might have after three or four straight months of heavy steroid usage. Judge for yourself.)

Well, anyway you know what happens from there. Bad guy sweeps leg. Good guy uses remaining good leg to assume crane-like position (a position employed many times in my mental music videos, by the way). Good guy kicks bad guy in face. Tournament over. Penitent bad guy presents good guy, whose leg by all rights would've in real life been irreparably damaged and possibly gangrenous by bad guy's low blow, with championship trophy.

Two important things resulted from this viewing: first, I began using the word "dojo" again. It's a good word that I'd let get away. Say the word right now wherever you are. "Dojo." It just feels good. Maybe not as good as "cuppagumbo" but right up there. Second, I was swept back to the whole Karate Kid phenomenon and the epic sequel, which featured former Chicago front man Peter Cetera - The Chipmunks' singing falsetto were a full octave lower - belting out, "I am a man who will fight for your honor. I'll be the hero you've been dreaming of. We'll live forever, knowin' together that we did it all for the glory of love." (It's imperative that you not try to visualize all 117 pounds of Peter Cetera fighting anyone for anything. Stay with me.) What I'm saying is that there's an entire quadrant of my mental video vault dedicated to the montages I concocted using this song, most of which involved my rescuing a cute girl from her loser boyfriend, then furiously making out with her as the music fades and I continue to grimace.

I know I'm not the only one who did this. In fact, if the old wise king was correct and there really is nothing new under the sun, maybe he had a video vault, too. It would certainly explain Song of Solomon.


Joel said...

I was the loser boyfriend who would have rather kicked your butt then imagine anything concerning Peter Cetera. I did dream of biting the head off a live bat (Ozzy)and being the drummer for Rush.

The reheated (or unheated in an eternal crockpot) of my youth:

Trying to figure out "how them Duke boys were gonna get out of this"

Wondering why Jack couldn't score with Janet, Chrissy, or any of his other ovulating company.

Practicing my ZZ Top hand motions.

Practicing my Dwight Clark catch.

Contemplating if Sam and Alice (Brady Bunch) ever took a shot at starting their own clan. I know, I'm sick.

Beating up loser guys (who dreamed of beating up loser boyfriends to the Quiet Riot sound track.)

I dated a lot. I couldn't fight the feeling any longer...what started out as friendship always seem to grow stronger...Hey, No one, no one, no one to blame. (REO Jones Remix is you will)

One final thought: I said "dojo" - I hope you're happy.

Tivo Me! Out!

Unknown said...

What a great flick!

In order to instill a strong sense of "sweep-the-leg-ness" in the men of my fantasy football roster, I named all three of my fantasy teams "Cobra Kai."

And since no one in any of my leagues is named Daniel (has has a questionable relationship with an Asian geriatric), I can't be beat.

Matt said...

My fellow X-Philes, if any are out there, may remember the classic episode "Jose Jung's From Outer Space," in which Mulder and Scully investigate the alleged abduction of two teenagers. Figuring prominently into the story is another teenager: a wirey, social misfit and UFO enthusaist who actually WANTS to be abducted.

In scene toward the middle of the episode, the misfit describes an encounter in which he couragesouly stood up to two "men in black" (played by - no joke - Alex Trebek and Jesse Ventura), resulting in a physical confrontation. After desribing the encounter, he quickly adds: "Hey, I didn't spend all of those years playing Dungeons and Dragons and not learn a little something about courage."

Similar to Grant, my own mental video vault is filled with images of myself as Luke Skywalker, swooping in to rescue the princess amidst a brassy, flourishing John Williams score. Sadly, however, I think I probably came across a lot more like the X-Files dork.

Good thing I didn't know Joel then. He would have beat the daylights out of me at every opportunity.

Val said...

Grant- I lied about how I broke my foot this summer. It was the sweep kick and I am so sorry. Wow, that feels better. It should also explain why I was always assuming the "crane position."

B. S. Denton said...


How could you do it, Grant????!!!!!

How could you reference -The Karate Kid- (in an absolutely earth-shatteringly hilarious post) and not mention the greatest line in movie history: the surreal "Get him a body bag! Yeah!" delivered by one of the other random Cobra Kai, in, I believe, slow motion.

Our high school valedictorian decided to forgo the whole speechifying at graduation in order to simply scream that line at the top of his lungs. Needless to say, we loved him for it.

Rob said...

Long Live The 80’s

My time was wasted seeking out J. Giels Band music

Re-enacting Larry Bird passes, hair cuts and FT technique (I still shot sub 70% though)

Wishing I was not a Braves fan (save 82 when we clipped the Dodgers on the near last day of the season)

Trying to figure out the meaning of Devo lyrics

Walking out of church wondering what an Ebenezer was and if I had any right to ever raise it in public

Longing for Kelly Gibbs to couple skate with my at Skate Along USA after church EVERY STINKIN SUNDAY NIGHT

I could on but many a wound are starting to resurface. “Traci? Where’s my Zoloft?”

I'm gone

Corey said...

I think I may be a little late to get in on the Peter Cetera love (or hate as it may be). But I recall having one or two girlfriends in which that was our song (one of which has a brother who reads this blog...).

However, I too dreamed of things in the '80s.

I dreamed of telling a girl to "Get out of my dreams and into my car"...just like Michael Finley aka Billy Ocean sang about. (Go on look up their photos.)

I dreamed that I could play drums like Tommy Lee or guitar like Richie Sambora.

I dreamed of having girl upon girl dance on my Jaguar(s) like in every Whitesnake video.

Thanks Boone. Thanks for the painful VANS, OP, Hobie memories. And I hope we can all "stop using sex as a weapon".

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