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.