5 Childhood Heroes from the 80s That Let Me Down
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.
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.
Jon ArbuckleWhen I was a kid,
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.
Alex TrebekI 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.
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. Vengeance 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.
Johnny 5Short Circuit is, without a doubt, one of Steve Guttenberg’s best films. That statement holds more gravity than I care to get in to right now but trust me, it’s completely true. But more important than Steve Guttenberg’s involvement is the film’s central character Johnny 5. Of all the robots I ever thought were awesome, Johnny 5 was the only one with a campy 80s soundtrack and Ally Sheedy, who I couldn’t give half a shit about. While most 80s bots were busy killing or being made of boxes, Johnny 5 was cracking wise. Remember when he did that
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.
The A-TeamTo 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. Vengeance 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.