The Danger Zone of Coolness

I was at the gas station the other day and there was a song playing that brought back a memory which prompted this post.

This Guy is Cool.
There are two questions that I get asked a lot by various people.  The first is "Hey Eric, how do you stay so skinny??"  For the answer I tell them to click this link.  The other question is, "Hey Eric, have you always been the pinnicle of coolness that you currently portray yourself as?"  For the answer to that question, I tell them to read the story below.

High School Senior year.  I was taking this class that was pretty much a blow off.  It was a pilot course given by one the speech teachers the second semester called "Audio/Video Technology" or something.  There was no curriculum that I can remember.  The teacher had no clue what to do, so we spent most of the time talking about what Naughty By Natures' "OPP" song meant and stuff just as revelant. 

Yeah, I had no idea.  I thought it was "OCP" and it stood for "Oreo Cookie Posse"

Cool Point 1.

One time they were talking about the MTV Video Music Awards or something and didn't understand how Beavis and Butt-Head were on the live show presenting.  I tried to explain the concept of previously taped and the teacher brushed me off.  It took about five minutes of debating with her on how it's not a new concept and anyone who's watched Who Framed Roger Rabbit would have an idea of how it can be done.

Cool Point 2.

So when this teacher finally decided we were going to do a video project, it was concluded each of us would do a music video.  I hated it.  I had no real personal interest in music at the time.  The only music I knew were the movie soundtracks I had on CD and the mix tape my dad made of his record albums from the 70's he played constantly in the minivan.

Cool Point 3.

Seriously, he played it ALL the time.  It's so ingrained in my brain from the constant repetition that if I hear Jeremiah was a Bull Frog, I expect to hear  Iitsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini to play after it.

So here I was in class about to do a music video and I had no idea what music would not have been socially damaging to my reputation.

Please let the genre be "Your Dad's Mix Tapes"..... Please let the genre be "Your Dad's Mix Tapes".....

Well the genre turned out to be movie soundtracks.


Oh wait.  I remembered my CD library of soundtracks.  The Doors, Batman Returns, The Bodyguard (don't ask) and Top Gun.

Cool Point 4.

I totally didn't want to do a Doors video on account I didn't have the hair to pull off Jim Morrison.  Batman Returns would be cool if I dressed as Michael Keaton's Batman and beat the crap out of people to the sounds of Danny Elfman, but since there is NO lyrics in the soundtrack, that was out.  And no black girls would let me carry them around in a video to pull off Bodyguard.

So I went with Top Gun by default.  And it's not like Top Gun was a recent movie.  This was 1993 and Top Gun came out 1986.  Other people were doing Boyz in the Hood and Waynes World.  Me, I was going Kenny Loggins.

Cool Point 5.

Now if you're familiar with the Top Gun soundtrack there's only a few recognizable songs on the album.  One of the more obscure ones was "Playing with the Boys" by Kenny Loggins.  It's the beach volleyball scene where they're all looking like a bunch of douches with their shirts off and Ray Ban glasses. 

Let's face it, at 18 I wasn't as Pec-Tacular as I am now, and instead of Ray Bans, my parents got me Roy Bans.  Seriously.  They said Roy Ban on the side and looked nothing like Ray Bans.

Cool Point 6.

Now a couple more songs were "You've Lost that Loving Feeling" and "Take My Breath Away".  Loving Feeling was the scene in the bar where they serenade the chick and Breath Away was the make out scene with the chick.  Well remember what I said about not having a black girl to carry around as The Bodyguard?  There were actually no chicks of any color that I knew (who knew me in return) that would allow a video with me in those scenarios.

Cool Point 7.

So the obvious choice from the Top Gun soundtrack was "Danger Zone" (which is the song I heard to prompt this post). 

Well, the videos were going to be shot on the stage in the cafeteria in ONE SHOT and we were to lip synch to the music from a CD player off stage. 

Top notch quality I tell you.

I already had the military haircut because I was in JROTC.

Cool Point 8.

So I started planning the direction of my video, what I would wear do etcetra.  I'd use my Roy-Bans and leather jacket I'm not sure how I obtained.  I remember asking my parents for a leather jacket one year and for Christmas I got this fruity puffy yellow, red and blue coat.  After I got it, I had to look up in the dictionary if leather actually meant "fruity puffy yellow, red and blue coat".  I also wondered if they thought we moved from San Antonio to Wisconsin.
Now I just needed F-14.
How was I going to get an F-14?? 

I know!! I'll make one I thought.  I just needed poster board. 

I then cut it out in the form of an "F-14".  I now just needed a a way to hold it while in the video.  I then made it 3-D by cutting slots for more posterboard to make a wing to come thru the slots and taped together.  I would then put my forearm through it and hold it like a shield.

I just made an "F-14 Tomcat Posterboard Shield"  Who else in the entire entire history of the world has ever said that?

Cool Point 9.

So the day of the video shoot came and the teacher informed us we only got one shot to do the video.  So there were no re-takes or different cuts.  It's cool.  I had my BAMFn "F-14 Tomcat Posterboard Shield".  I was going to kill. 

Now I understood it was going to look cheesy.  A stinkin fake plane with a gangly kid with fake sunglasses lip synching to a song from a movie from the previous decade, sticking out of it does not even sound cool.  But I was going for creativity with a side order of cheese.

Now it's my turn.

I get set up, they push record on the cam-corder and play on the CD player. I start my move set thinking I'm awesome.  I'm actually friggin Pete "Maverick" Mitchell buzzing the tower and shooting MiGs.

I've added some illustrations to give you a better idea.

Now Dangerzone is 3 minutes 38 seconds long.  With about 3 minutes and 20 seconds left in the song, the plane's integrity starts to give way.  The nose cone starts to sway, the rudder begins to flop and the wing starts to fall apart, when all of a sudden it crashed and burned on the stage floor.

Cool Point 10.

I look at my teacher and she does the finger-rolling thing and mouths "keep going".

Seriously?!?  My prop is dead and I'm standing her like a doof with a pile of posterboard that used to be my plane.

Keep going.

So I improvise.  I stretch my arms out and I start running around in a figure eight formation.  Like a 4 year old kid in Roy-Bans, I'm skipping across the dang stage BEING FILMED for my music video for the next three minutes.

Cool Point 11.

Do I need to continue on about how cool I am?

I think I made my point totally clear.  Have a great week my friends.


  1. How is this not on Youtube? Seriously, I think it could go viral. And I used to sing Jeremiah Had a Bullfrog all the time at school. It was the only song that didn't make my voice crack. And I'm a girl.


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