Like most people, I grew up idolizing pop culture, candy and women’s shoes. But as time went on I grew older and wiser and came to the sad realization that many of my heroes were nothing more than smoke and mirrors that sometimes had a penchant for masturbating in adult theaters. The truth is rough. And for that reason I figured I owed it to myself and all the disenfranchised youths of the world who grew up to learn that they could never become a member of GI Joe no matter how hard they tried to teach those bastards a lesson.
The thing about taking on your childhood hopes and dreams is that, arguably, you are never prepared for that. Have you ever successfully fought the Harlem Globetrotters? Don’t make me laugh. No, for this, serious and focused training would be in order. Luckily, as an Internet comedy writer, I have nothing but loneliness and free time, so arranging this was not a problem.
There was a time when I was around seven or so when I was pretty much confident I could either be Bigfoot or live with him. Did I carry a lot of lead paint-saturated toys in my mouth as a child? Possibly. But Harry and the Hendersons clinched it for me that Bigfoot was awesome and probably just misunderstood. If I could find him, domesticate him and train him to play tag, we would be the best of friends for all eternity. It was as foolproof a plan as I had ever devised.
For a solid year I was all about Bigfoot. I even attempted an expedition to track him down about a block from my house. I found tracks that I at first thought were his but later decided were probably just hobo tracks or “bum shufflins.” I lived in a really shitty part of town.
Have you ever seen a person who claims to have seen Bigfoot? These are the people that carnies turn away at the gates to the circus because they can’t handle the stress of this kind of shit. As I grew older, my mind wrestled with the realization that one of two things was occurring – either Bigfoot was a hoax or he had a preternatural attraction to mental retardation of the most dire sort.
Some research when I was old enough revealed that most Bigfoot sightings were not even something plausible, like a diseased monkey or an unhygienic mountain man. Mostly they were just dickheads in ape costumes. Any reported sightings of footprints? Frauds and hobo shufflins. Bigfoot’s stubborn insistence on not existing had let me down. Worse yet, the guy who played Harry in the movie actually contracted AIDS on the set of Harry and the Hendersons during a blood transfusion. Fuck you so hard, Bigfoot.
If I wanted to teach Bigfoot a lesson I’d have to go toe-to-toe with him in a manner he’d understand: cold brutality. Now, arguably, fighting a beast I’d just acknowledged had let me down by virtue of not actually existing would be a bit of a challenge but if I’d learned nothing else from numerous montages in 80s fight films it was that no adversary could stand up to a dude who’d gone through one. Bigfoot was in for some shit.
I’m gonna kick you right in your hairy chest box. Pussy.
I did some Googling to find some cryptozoologists, the people who study things like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster while pretending to be actual scientists and not just despicable frauds who waste other people’s valuable time. Once I found one willing to talk to me on the phone, I laid it out bluntly: How can I kill Bigfoot with my bare hands, or at least mess him up real bad?
My cryptozoologist friend began explaining how Bigfoot is obviously a very endangered and peaceful being of high intelligence. I had to cut him off. I don’t give a fig if he’s the hairy, bastard child of Stephen Hawking and Mother Theresa, the son of a bitch stole my hopes and dreams and he’ll be lucky if he gets away with a black eye and some ball kicks. I was hung up on. A guy who pretends to study Bigfoot for a living was too professional to continue our discussion. This Bigfoot rabbit hole full of bullshit goes very deep. Regardless, once the ninja stars I ordered off the Internet show up he’s going to wish he never existed. Which he doesn’t.
When I was a kid, Garfield was hilarious. Sometimes I think he still is and the stuff that gets published now is just a cruel joke that masks the unbridled hilarity of a bygone era. Mostly I realize what a sad fiction that is, however and that Garfield is about as funny as bloody stool.
Jon represented to me the awesomeness inherent in everyone. He wasn’t a superhero, he was just a guy with a smart ass cat and a really stupid dog and every week his life was laid out before me in three panels and each panel was packed to the brim with fantasticness. His hijinks became my hijinks. His plight was the plight of us all--just an average person trying to deal with every day shit. And an obese pet.
I’ll never forget the day I realized Jon Arbuckle was completely fucktarded. It happened quite by accident when I was perusing the comics and had just finished reading Hagar the Horrible, perplexed as to what the fuck Hagar the Horrible was doing in existence. And then, as I looked over to Garfield, I saw that he had stolen Jon’s lasagna and I thought, “Why doesn’t dude just stop making lasagna?”
Man, that is one wicked huge gunt.
The entire Garfield house of cards came crashing down with that one, simple question. Why, Jon? Why the fuck do you make lasagna when you know your cat, the one who has thumbs and a fairly extensive vocabulary, is going to take it and eat it? He’s been doing it since the 1970s.
I had felt a kinship with Jon and it was only because I was eight-years old and had no idea that the same thing told 100 different ways isn’t funny. Jon had no depth. He had no soul. It was no different than falling in love with an inflatable woman, something I’ll never do again after Patrice.
I had to teach Jim Davis a lesson. As the creator of Garfield, he was the god of the false prophet to which I had devoted so much of myself. But how does one exact vengeance on a grandfatherly cartoonist?
I spent nearly a week and a half trying to get in touch with someone from the estate of Charles Shultz--a man whom I assumed had killed a few upstart cartoonists in his day--with no success. Instead, I managed to get hold of a junior editor at my local paper, which runs Garfield. It was a start. When I asked him what cartoonists hate most, he had no idea. When I asked him if the Garfield comics that get sent to the paper have a return address he informed me they don’t get mailed individually to each newspaper. When I asked him if he thought I could destroy Jim Davis’s hopes and dreams, he said he had to go. The lesson learned? Newspaper editors make for shitty Mr. Miyagis.
Finally the answer hit me: furious mockery. I would go online and rewrite the text of Garfield comics to turn them into soul-sodomizing digs at the author!
I have innumerable memories of a harrowing incident that played itself out time and again throughout my childhood. My father would get this look in his eye and I knew what was coming but, as a child, helpless in the face of such things, I could only stand by and watch. He would rise from his favorite seat and proceed to the kitchen. There, he would bust out a can of knock-off Spam. It was Holiday brand luncheon meat. We never bought Spam, it was too corporate.
Spam? This ain’t the Ritz.
He’d plop his congealed pork atrocity on a plate and proceed to make about four sandwiches. And then he would take them to the bathroom and when he emerged, an hour or so later, there would be no indication any sandwiches had ever existed.
I can’t say how much this influenced my idolization of Mr. Alex Trebek, but his confident mustache and seemingly endless knowledge of trivia made me want to go live with him.
Alex Trebek reads the answers off of cards. How the hell did I never notice that? Trebek knows jack and he even shaved off that fucking mustache, the last manly, father-figure aspect of his being and basically killed himself and every 80s-related father I ever hoped would be my own. Magnum, Lando, Ron Jeremy, they all hand splendid mustaches and they all left me too.
Wait here, son. I’m about to pork your mother.
The odds that Trebek doesn’t eat sandwiches on the toilet are frankly astronomical. You know how I know this? Alex Trebek has a goddamn degree in philosophy. He’s me. Without a mustache.
To the best of my knowledge, the only thing that angers Alex Trebek is when you staunchly refuse to answer in the form of a question. Listen, if it’s an answer, it shouldn’t even be a question. Have you ever had to deal with someone who answers your questions with more questions? It’s the most infuriating shit in the world. Jeopardy is a farce and is worse than cancer.
That said, I couldn’t very well mail properly answered questions to the man and no one I knew had his phone number so that left me with the one solution all writers fall back on when they’ve been slighted: libel.
Alex Trebek funds terrorism and produces art house corprophilia porn in his basement. The scripts are pedestrian and his acting is both dry and uninspired. Plus he eats shit in them.
While most 80s bots were busy killing or being made of boxes, Johnny 5 was cracking wise. Remember when he did that Three Stooges impression? And then Fisher Stevens was all vaguely racist? Goddamn that’s good stuff and it inspired me to stray from the pack, be my own hilarious robot, that sort of thing.
I don’t know if you guys know this, but Short Circuit is kind of asinine. And the sequel? What the fuck was that? Los Lobos? There’s a street gang in New York called Los Lobos? They did the soundtrack to the movie La Bamba.
Oh, Lou Diamond Phillips, your ambiguous ethnicity makes everything better.
Worse than the movies themselves was the scarring betrayal I ended up taking away from the films. Why was Johnny 5 funny? He wasn’t, man. He stole all his best routines from TV and books. He was a 1980s Carlos Mencia on treads. Setting a child up to emulate that is like, I dunno, kicking him in the head. Would you kick your kid’s melon? That’s a really shitty thing to do.
This was a tough pill to swallow but it turns out that the universe meted out its own justice in this case. Steve Guttenberg, my likeliest target, starred in a movie called Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus which I looked up on YouTube and was going to link here but my conscience refused to let me do it. It co-stars Crystal Bernard, who you probably don’t remember from Wings and Armin Shimerman, the comedy relief on Deep Space 9. There are movies with worse casts but they generally end in an onscreen murder and a follow up investigation by the FBI.
You can actually watch the whole thing in 10 parts and each part is inexplicably worse than every other part. That’s not even logically possible and yet here were are. I’d dare you to try to sit through more than a minute of the first part but really, there’s no point. Vengeance has already been taken. Let it rest.
To this day I can’t think of anything that should be more awesome than the A-Team and I can think of boobs. I think of them a lot.
The A-team featured a grizzled old dude who just didn’t give a shit, a lunatic, a suave James Bond and Mr. T. That’s a guy who hasn’t seen fit to change the way he looks in 30 years and is known by a letter. That shit is hardcore.
This group of hardasses came together as a team of mercenaries who never actually took money from people that I am aware of. That in turn means they just blew up every goddamn thing they came across for shits and giggles. They had a profound influence on my young mind and, to this day, when I feel a wrong needs to be righted, my gut instinct is to use explosives. Because it’s the right thing to do.
Pictured: Justice.The Heartbreak
You literally cannot blow up a moving vehicle that is full of people without seriously, seriously injuring someone. You just can’t. Hannibal and the boys sent Jeep loads of nameless thugs careening off piers and through burning warehouses all the time and for whatever reason, NBC never showed the mangled remains and bloodied, charred torsos that should have been dogging this crew of “wrongly accused” ex-military men at every turn.
In fact, if you’re wrongly accused of a crime, probably the worst thing you can do is blow shit up to prove how innocent you are. That’s extremely unacceptable behavior, it really is.
Here’s a dilly of a pickle: If the A-team tried to convince me that the best way to make the world a better place is by exploding new assholes in all the bad people in the world, how do I let them know their hamfisted approach to justice is one dimensional at best without resorting to similar, ill-conceived tactics?
Did someone just say hamfisted and one dimensional?
I would have to show the A-team the error of their ways by proving the pen is mightier than the sword. I would write a scathing missive, summoning all the journalistic integrity and skill I have honed from years of writing about boners and 80s nostalgia, and fire it off to the head honcho himself, John “Hannibal” Smith.
It was merely a day after I mailed my 33 page epic that covered topics ranging from violence in American media to Communism, arms proliferation, ontology and, yes, boobs, that I was informed George Peppard had been dead since 1994. Fuck.