Me: Call me if you need anything while watching the boy.
Dad: You will be away somewhere where you cannot help me. So why the hell would I call you if you could not help me?
Me: Um, okay.
Dad: I will see you when you pick him up. Gotta go. Your mother just made us some sandwiches.
After reviewing this list, I would have to say that 1984 was the best year for movies. I can quote countless lines of dialogue from memory on most of those films. My dad really let me watch some inappropriate films during my impressionable years. He took me to see Ghostbusters, Gremlins, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (the very first movie rated PG-13) and Police Academy in the theaters. Terminator, Red Dawn, Revenge of the Nerds, Nightmare On Elm Street and Sixteen Candles found their way to me via HBO with my dad’s standard caveat, “Don’t let your mother know I let you watch this.” There was some excellent gratuitous nudity in those films; Police Academy, Purple Rain (Apollonia jumping into Lake Minnetonka), Revenge of the Nerds (full frontal), The Terminator (right before Sarah Connor’s roommate gets “terminated”) and Sixteen Candles (Caroline in the locker room shower). Sadly, there will probably never be a year of cinema packed full of winners like that again. Unless someone decides to resurrect Steve Guttenberg and Ralph Macchio’s careers.
My response to the well-compiled Tomato Nation 25 and Over list:
- Remember to write thank-you notes. The written word is a lost art and most youngsters under age 25 think texting ‘THX PLAYA’ does the trick. Taking the time to send off a stamped, hand-written note (especially after a job interview) shows that you are considerate and not a serial killer.
- Do not invite yourself to stay with friends when you travel anymore. Being as I have a deep aversion to inconvenience (both for myself and those around me), this has never been a problem for me. I would much rather crash at a hotel even if family/friends are close by.
- Do not expect friends to help you move anymore. I only expect my friends to help me move things if they stayed at my house due to a bout of excessive drinking the night before. Asking someone to help you move a roll-top desk with a crippling hangover should not be an issue if said someone yaked in your sink twelve hours earlier.
- Develop a physical awareness of your surroundings. I pride myself on assessing my surroundings and acting accordingly. Alcohol often kills this one for me.
- Be on time. I generally show up on time to most events. If I am late to anything longer than thirty minutes, I will blame my infant child who cannot speak.
- Have enough money. Nothing pisses me off more than somebody who never brings money out in card or cash from. You did not leave your wallet at home. You are just a cheap bastard.
- Know how to calculate the tip. It is not difficult to multiply the bill by two to get the 20% tip equivalent. If you do not have the mental capacity to calculate a tip without the aid of a calculator or cell phone, eating out is probably the least of your worries.
- Do not share the crazy dream you had last night with anyone but your mental wellness professional. Depends on what the dream is about and what your intentions are by sharing said dream. A sex dream with the intention of getting yourself laid? Absolutely. Murdering all you co-workers with a machine gun during a casual Friday with the intention of getting a raise? Probably not.
- Learn to walk in heels. Only applies to me if I patronize an East German sex club.
- Have at least one good dress-up outfit. Before the wife cleaned me up, taught me how to dress and expanded my wardrobe, I owned only one suit at the behest of my mother. It was my all-purpose suit that saw many weddings, funerals and job interviews. I could sometimes tell the last time I wore it by reaching in the inner-coat pocket and finding an old event program.
- Do as invitations ask you. I am usually not formally invited to anything and if I am the wife handles all the RSVP-ing and gifting. It is better this way.
- Know how. Sadly I think most people 25 and under grew up with every convenience afforded to them and would perish in the wilderness after being given a knife and a water source. Problem solving is lost on a generation that did not have to solve any problems because their parents were afraid if they failed it would crush there delicate sensibilities. I like to think I know enough about enough to be dangerous.
- Don’t use your friends. This should be on an age 5 and over list. You should never use your friends unless they have an awesome surround-sound system.
- Have something to talk about besides college or your job. As the many people in my life can attest, I have plenty to talk about besides college and my job.
- Give and receive favors graciously. As my Dad said while scolding me after an excessive sports celebration in my youth, “Act like you have been there before.”
- Drinking until you throw up is no longer properly a point of pride. It depends on how good the scotch is.
- Have a real trash receptacle, real Kleenex, and, if you smoke, a real ashtray. Toilet paper serves multiple purposes (in my opinion); nose blowing and ass-wiping. If you smoke? You will be dead before me. That and you should properly dispose of your butts. My yard is not that place.
- Universal quiet hours do in fact apply to you. Working from home I keep weird hours and I keep the volume down during the quiet hours without even realizing it.
- Take care of yourself. Workout a few times. Take a shower every other day. Do not eat Taco Bell three times a week. Repeat.
- Rudeness is not a signifier of your importance. It is when you are from California.
My love for the Terminator franchise began in 1985 when my dad let me stay up late with him and watch the James Cameron joint on HBO. The movie had everything a ten year-old boy could want; violence, cyborgs, sex and boobs! I was hooked. In 1991, early CGI technology, a ripped Linda Hamilton and a Guns N’ Roses-laden soundtrack made for a sequel that was much better than the original. When T3: Rise Against The Machines came out, I took my wife on our first date to watch it in the theater (I am a hopeless romantic). I thought I would have to keep her informed with back story through out the film, but she quickly interrupted me mid-Skynet dissertation with, “I know what Skynet is. Please shut up,” and thereby proved her worthiness as a mate (this date was the very reason I engraved ‘NO FATE’ on the inner-band of my wedding ring in reference to Linda Hamilton’s bowie knife table-carving in T2). I even went so far as to tune into the first full season of the Sarah Connor Chronicles only to tune out once Brian Austin Green joined the cast (thanks to long-time reader of the MB, Bryan Candee, who pointed out that Brian Austin Green’s initials are BAG for a reason). Sadly, the television series has resorted to this for viewership. Summer Glau has a nice little frame, but her eyes are so far apart she looks like a cutthroat trout. Cutthroat trout are delicious when sautéed in butter, but are not sexually arousing. I can only hope T4: Salvation with Christian Bale will renew my faith in the franchise. At least they cast Christian Bale. He alone will get my wife out to the theater with me. She would watch that guy read the paper.
My Dad is a difficult man to buy presents for. When prodding him for gift ideas he usually mumbles, “I could use some golf balls” and than quickly changes the subject. Last year my Mom suggested we get him some new basketball gear for Christmas as Dad still rocks the Larry Bird Scrotum Fliers on the court. He kept the Dri-Fit shirts we bought and took back the baggy shorts. I am happy to report he is now tucking his Dri-Fit shirts into his High Thighs. I fired off on email to Mom this morning asking her what the old man could use and she replied with this gem:
The Greatest Hits of Air Supply and a small AM/FM radio for his office.
My Dad is a cyborg from the future sent back through time with only one mission: to keep the 1980s alive.
These past few weeks the wife and I have been up to our tits in U-Hauls, moving boxes, giant Tupperware containers and throngs of able-bodied help throwing our furniture around for the promise of free food and liquor (including one tattooed freakshow who has visited the new crib twice since moving day but has yet to bring over any housewarming scotch). Amidst the chaos we only lost one small mirror that the wife purchased on clearance at Marshalls. While the wife was conveniently out of town I spent the past few days unpacking, trimming juniper bushes, raking leaves, committing genocide on the ant colony in the mud room, configuring the entertainment center and setting up my office. My Dad gave me a bevy of tools; rakes, shovels, hedge clippers, an extension cord, a pruner, a hatchet, a lawnmower and a gas trimmer that came with the spoken caveat, “Don’t tell your mother I gave it to you. I just bought it last summer.” A housewarming party will be imminent. Bring scotch.
The moment of truth arrived for the wife and I as potential property owners this past Saturday; the dreaded home inspection. The first few times we walked into the house we were awash in euphoria and statements like “We could put our [furniture piece] in this corner” or “We could do [short-term project that will turn into a long-term project] this summer.” The reckoning arrived in the form of an elderly gentlemen with shaky hands and a red Geo Metro. Being as the home inspection is a make-or-break affair, I called in Big Guns (read: my Dad) to tag along while the inspector eviscerated our future residence. My old man is the working class hero of North Metro Denver, somewhat akin to Bruce Springsteen minus the gravely voice and the E-Street Band. Whenever something breaks, my Dad “Has a guy” for it. Usually that guy has a blue collar handle like Jimbo or Murph and will charge you little to no labor costs to fix the problem. The inspector was a friendly and competent man, and aside from my Dad correcting him about an electrical box and aluminum wiring being legal for certain types of jobs, he wrote a fine report. He mentioned on numerous occasions that the house was “well built” and “has good guts.” Aside from some leaky gutters, a pipe that needs tightening, a sewer line scoping and siphon valves that need to be installed on the sprinkler system, the future homestead is in solid working order. On a related note my Dad just sent over a quote this morning that his sprinkler guy Bruno gave him to install the siphon valves. He agreed to do most of the work for cost.
Kids are such pussies nowadays. All I know is if I would have seen a severed arm in the fifth grade, it would have changed my life.
Dad: We bought you a new bike. One of those BMX jobs with the cool racing checkerboard frame guards and back wheel pegs.
Me: Cool. Can I get a severed arm with it, too?
Dad: Only if you fuck around and ride it like a jackass.
Until this mustacioed mayhem, I thought my dad had the coolest facial hair in the world when he sported thick mutton chops and a mustache that rivaled Magnum P.I.‘s in the early eighties.
“When you are using that paint gun, be sure to wear safety goggles. You do not want to get paint in your eyes.”