So, You Want to be a Black Belt?

AFI recently named Karate Kid to its Top Ten Sports Movies of All Time. I love the movie too, but the journey to greatness has a few loopholes as loose as the brick on Ali’s front porch.

Tue, Nov. 1, 1983 Approx 10:15 a.m. Miyagi and Daniel Enter Cobra Kai Dojo

Bonzai, Bitches

Bonzai, Bitches

We know the night before was Halloween (or as the Cobra Kai boys will forever call it, Pearl Harbor 2). Bidding farewell that night, Daniel says “Tomorrow morning? “ Miyagi replies “10:00.” Cut to: Daniel Son: “Good morning, Mr. Miyagi.”

Yes, I know, you’re like, “But Daniel, why aren’t you in school? And Mr. Miyagi, why aren’t you fixing shit?”

Let’s say it takes them 15 min to get to the dojo. Again, don’t ask why there’s a full sparring session well in progress at 10:15 on a school day. Logic does not exist in this dojo, does it? NO SENSEI!

My point is Miyagi convinces Sensei John Creece to prohibit his students from beating Daniel up between now and the tournament, or for one month and sixteen days. Plenty of time for:

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Daniel To Achieve Black Belt Status In One Month, Two Weeks, and Two Days

Minus “Karate from book” and a few lessons at the Y, Daniel has no formal karate training. But over the course of the month and a half he:

– Waxes on and off four cars

You're a Pushy Little Bastard, Aren't Ya?

You're a Pushy Little Bastard, Aren't Ya?

– Paints a fence and a house
– Sands a floor
– And spends one ridiculous session at the beach playing in the ocean and staring in awe/lust at Miyagi’s crane-kicking silhouette.

All told, he really only spent four days training and achieved black belt status. He should be more than ready for:

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The 18th All Valley Karate Championships

Bangs are for the Weak

Bangs are for the Weak

December 19, 1983 is the date. For those of you keeping score, it was a Monday. Again, no school, no work for the sold-out crowd on hand at the Matadome. One quick fact about the Metadome:

It’s record attendance: 3, 106 to watch US/Japan international exhibition men’s volleyball match. It wouldn’t be the last time the US/Japan connection came through…Aye, Daniel-Son.

3,106 people show up to the junior co-ed district karate championships? The Montreal Expos pulled in 3,780 against the Rockies in May of ’02. Six hundred more people at a MLB game… right.

The rest, of course, is history. A montage set to Joe Esposito’s You’re the Best gets Daniel through five rounds. Another two, and he’s hoisting the trophy above his head.

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Do I suspend disbelief for the sake of a great movie? Yes. Are these moments the least believable in the movie? No.

But if you don’t buy in from the beginning, you’re only gonna feel Rick-Rolled in the end.

Catch Something Else With Chopstick

Catch Something Else With Chopstick

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F*/Marry/Kill Starring the Golden Girls

in-the-kitchen

The only rule is that Dorothy and Ma come as a packaged deal; f*, marry or kill, doesn’t matter.  Them Petrillos are inseparable.

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F*:
The safe bet here seems like Blanche, right?   I’m going with Rose.

It’s a late night.  Rose and I finish Bringing Up Baby on AMC (she likes romantic comedies; I’m trying to get in her pants).   She asks me if I’d like to go into the kitchen for a cup of coffee.  I tell her I’d rather go back to her room.  “Oh,” she says, and smiles coyly.

She says she’s going to freshen up and… slip into something a little more comfortable.  I get chub.

"You look amazing," Earl said

"You look amazing," Earl said

Suddenly she appears in the doorway wearing a nightgown that somehow reveals less than the jogging suit she changed out of.

craftmatic-bed

The sex is okay.  At one point, I accidentally roll on the remote for the  Craftmatic Bed.  The foot of the bed raises and messes up my rhythm.  She takes a long time, and I’m kind of chafed by the end of it.

We spend the rest of the night spooning.  As soon as she’s asleep, I roll out.  Let a butcher butch, y’all.

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MARRY:
So I go with Blanche for this one rather than the f*.

The first three months go well… a lot of trips to AC Moore filled with laughter and a lot of early dinners (like a quarter-to-five-early).

But many nights I want to sleep while Blanche wants to “go out.”  My mind races as I lie awake, waiting for her to come home.  Oh, Blanche, don’t take your love to town.

miles

Silver Fox or Home Wrecker?

Then Miles Webster starts coming around again.  He’s Rose’s friend, but I know he nailed my wife.  A man can just sense these things.

One night, in the darkness of our room, I blurt out: “Who’s a better lay, me or Miles?”  She groans and says Big Daddy was right: never marry a Yankee.  That means Miles is.

The next few months are rocky.  Every once in a while it seems like things are getting better, but my insecurities haunt me and I end up saying something snide about my wife, the village bicycle.

The divorce is uneventful.  I didn’t bring anything into the relationship.   At one point I tried to make an argument for the wicker furniture in the living room, but I never got very far.

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KILL:
Damn it, there I go thinking with my small head again, and drafting poorly.

I should’ve took Rose.  Instead I gotta take out two of them.  One of them is practically a man.

roll-into-the-kitchenI hang out in the kitchen with the lights off.  Rose is in St. Olaf at a cow-themed wedding.  Blanche is out, probably with Miles.  Hours pass until I finally hear Dorothy talking to Ma.  Their voices become more audible as they get closer.  And then the kitchen door swings wide.

“Oh my God,” Dorothy exclaims.

We stare at one another before I lunge at her.  Despite her old age and sex, I struggle to wrestle her to the floor.  As we grapple, I realize that I am losing my footing.  She’s winning this thing.  I’m about to go to plan b when all of a sudden… BANG.  Sophia rocks me upside the head with a frying pan.  Rock a bye, baby.  I’m out cold.

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CONCLUSION:
I’m on an ambulance stretcher outside the house.  Neighbors gather in the wee hours of the night to see what’s going on.  My eyes first focus on Dorothy, still visibly shaken and hugging her ex-husband, Stan Zbornak.  Sophia is next to her, quietly whispering, “it’s okay, pussycat.”

Paramedics start asking me questions.  Do you know where you are?  That sort of thing.

Earl the Butcher Was Here

THAT'S MY WIFE YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT!

As they lift me into the back of the ambulance, I see a couple walking towards the scene.  Clutching hands, they jog as fast two old people can.

It’s Blanche and Miles.  She gasps when she recognizes me.

With two fingers, I point to my eyes before pointing back at her.

I’m watching you, Blanche.   I’m watching you like a hawk.

2 Cops Walk Into a Bar

rush-hourThe buddy cop genre. Perhaps the slipperiest slope in cinema. When casted correctly, no genre can touch it. But when miscast, you could be in for a long two hours.

There’s certain elements that are tried-and-true to the genre. Most times you’re gonna get an interracial coupling of cops. Usually black and white, but occasionally black and Jackie Chan. And they’re usually going after a drug dealer, cartel, syndicate, what have you.

As far as quality, you run the gamut. So, I’m gonna rank a few of them.

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lethalweaponLethal Weapon: Pretty much the gold standard for the genre. Mel Gibson is always at his best when he’s not taking himself too seriously. Danny Glover is pretty much one of the worst actors ever. But he gets to play the tentative voice of reason who is always skeptical, the one who has to take a deep breath and say something like, “Oh what the hell,” or, “I’m getting too old for this,” before jumping off of the bridge. Fact of the matter is, the script rocked and there’s the perfect combination of violence and comedy. ✪✪✪✪✪ (Five badges).

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48 Hours: Remember when Eddie Murphy made a good movie? That was awesome. And Jack Cates is Nick Nolte’s second best role ever. His first, Coach Bell in Blue Chips. ✪✪✪✪✪

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Hank's Understudy

Hank's Understudy

Turner and Hooch: This is where you begin to see how vital it is to have two strong actors in these kinds of movies. Hooch does his own stunts in the movie, which is amazing. But Tom Hanks as a cop? Puh-lease… Now, here’s what they should’ve done: replaced Tom Hanks with a dog. Two Dogs! Two dog cops hunting down the killer, and one of the dogs is real close to retirement and gets shot. Okay, I’m getting sidetracked. Not a bad movie; I’m giving it ✪✪✪✪

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Training Day: Denzel could carry a movie playing opposite the Money You Could Be Saving With Geico. Unfortunately Ethan Hawke isn’t even that good. All those scenes where Denzel is like, “Wait in the car,” my guess is that was him ad libbing. Ethan Hawke is horrible. You know it’s bad when you root for the good guy to die. But Denzel’s watershed performance makes it worth the while. ✪✪✪

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newjackNew Jack City: Some guys you buy as cops. Eastwood, definitely. Leslie Neilsen, sure, why not? Ice T and Judd Nelson… Ice T hates cops too much to be able to objectively play one. And Judd Nelson being good in anything is as rare as a cab with a license plate that says “Fresh.”  Anyway, thank goodness Mario Van P kept this flick on track. It could have gone very differently. ✪✪

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lenocollisioncourseCollision Course: A Detroit Cop (Jay Leno) teams up with Mr. Miyagi (Mr. Miyagi) to track down a stolen turbocharger. This movie has disaster written all over it. The logline: The only thing stopping them from solving the crime is…each other. What would you rather see: this movie, or blood in your stool? I’d love to give this one zero badges but Mr. Miyagi’s in it so… ✪

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Righteous Kill: Deniro and Pacino together again, just like the movie Heat.

Only ten years lamer. Zero invisible stars.

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I know there’s so many more… Kindergarten Cop, Red Heat, Se7en, etc. And I would love to do them all but I just saw that Cop and a Half is on TBS. Oh TBS, very funny.

Off the Rails of a Swayze Train

Can somebody please tell me what kind of a world we live in where Laura Dern is as healthy as a horse, but Patrick Swayze has to waste away into nothingness? I don’t have enough on my plate with this recession and T.I. going to prison?

Now I have to deal with a tabloid headline in the grocery checkout line: “I’m not dying.

So I looked at the picture inside the magazine. Not dying? There was more of him lifting the penny in Ghost than there is of him now.

ghost2cancer-2

And of course, my mind went to that dark place again… that place where God takes Swayze before me. And I started thinking, if Patrick Swayze was gone tomorrow, would my list be ready?

So, without further ado, here’s my top three Swayze Moments:

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1) Dirty Dancing as Johnny Castle

The Scene: The Last Number of the Season at Kellerman’s.

corner1Trips to Europe, that’s what the kids want. You have to realize what’s at stake here. Johnny has been fired. He’s officially trespassing at this point. It doesn’t matter; nobody’s going to stop him. Not Jerry Orbach, not Robbie the slimeball, and not even Newman who was definitely on the stage. Johnny rescues Baby from the corner, restores his reputation with Dr. Houseman, interrupts the Pechanga, and delivers the most chilling line in movie history: “I’m gonna do my kind of dancin’ with a great partner.”

Cue The Time of My Life, as a performance for the ages unfolds. For my money, it’ll never get better than when they nail the lift at the end.

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2) She’s Like the Wind as Swayze
The Whole Video

Swayze’s agent sold it like this: Here’s the plan: this amazing song you sang, we’re going to have you sit on a stool and dramatically sing to someone just off-camera. Then, we’ll take scenes from the movie, turn them black and white, and add a ripple effect on it. Then, you just go home and wait for the call from the Grammys.

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3) Ghost as Sam Wheat
The Scene: The One Where He Makes This Face:

ghost-1Apparently it was supposed to be Bruce Willis in the role of Sam. But Swayze signs on, he’s the one who lobbies for Whoopi, and I end up dropping the word “ditto” on my eighth grade girlfriend who broke up with me the same night (second one from the right. What’s up, Sidney? Thanks for dumping me at Megan’s party. Remember when I said I wouldn’t tell anyone that your father was an alcoholic? Whoops.).

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mulletswayzeSome reports say he’s on his death bed now. Others declare we have at least two more years with him. It’s hard to say. But I know that between giref and nothing, I’ll take grief. And so I continue to let myself be vulnerable, hoping and wishing for one last, great Swayze moment.

90210: Brenda’s Back… Now, Let’s Find the Rest of the Gang

SO. Rumor has it that Shannen Doherty is “in talks” to reprise her role as Brenda Walsh. Not quite sure about the “in talks” part. I mean, last I checked, she isn’t in any of this summer’s blockbusters. They say she is reading the script to see exactly what role she would be playing. If that’s all it takes, I have some ideas on how to bring the whole gang back together.

Brandon

After a short stint as a copy editor with the Washington Bureau of the New York Chronicle, he returned to his true love of politics. Running as a representative of Minnesota, it looked as if he’d win until… Chancellor Arnold leaked rumors of Brandon’s checkered past that includes a gambling addiction and a drunk driving accident. Brandon returns to the zip code to wait tables at the Peach Pit while he “gets his head straight.”

What to Look For: Lots of late night convos with Nat over coffee after the diner closes.

Brenda

Her run at British theater was an epic failure. Returning to the states, she did the New York thing, landing two minor roles: One in a Crest Whitening Strips commercial, the other as “White Girl on Scooter” in the straight to DVD release of House Party 4. Things seemed to be taking a turn for the better when she booked the role of “Mirtha” in the feature film Blow. But when the script called for her to be nude, Brenda got all Brenda and huffed out. Now it’s back to 90210 to run the drama department.

What to Look For: Brenda adapting Gil Myers’ unpublished novel, Blood Money, into West Beverly’s spring production.

Kelly

The retirement of Ms. Teasley left a gaping hole in the guidance department at West Beverly. Having overcome a shooting, a rape, a coke addiction, multiple burns in a fire at a rave in frat house, a lesbian experience, and amnesia, Kelly felt as though she would make the perfect replacement. In the pilot ep, trouble again arises when her little sister, Erin (now a high school junior), asks her to buy beer for a party she is throwing in Jackie’s house.

What To Look For: Kelly dropping the “don’t you know who I am?” bomb when bouncers at the Peach Pit After Hours reject her at the door in an effort to keep the joint young and hip.

Dylan

Having blown through the Jack McKay fortune on various heroin and booze binges, Dylan spent the last two years in a tent on a beach in Baja firing a pistol at empty beer cans and listening to REM’s Everybody Hurts on a continuous loop. In one last attempt to get sober, he heads back to 90210 where he too takes a job waiting tables at the Peach Pit.

What to Look For: Lots of seemingly innocent, but nonetheless awkward high-fives between him and Brandon while working the dinner rush.

Donna

After her father’s death, Tori Spelling lost all connection to the TV biz. She not only is rejected for a reprise role as Donna Martin, but she also receives an email from Darren Star saying that if it weren’t for her father, the role of Donna would have gone to Alicia Silverstone.

What to Look For: Tori Spelling in porn.

David

After a failed run in the music business, he opened Silver Party Platter, a deejaying gig for weddings and Bar Mitzvahs. But after complaints of the deejay “dancing too much” at the parties he was working, the business began to suffer. Now it’s time to put his go-for-broke plan into action: Find T-Boz from TLC and hand deliver his demo tape to her, which he says has a “crazy, sexy, cool, Waterfalls vibe” to it.

What to Look For: Silver mentoring the new West Beverly Radio on-air-talent.

Steve

His landmark video franchise Crazy College Co-Eds raked in millions. But when his father, Rush Sanders, passed away, Steve became overwrought with guilt. Knowing that his father would never approve of his financial endeavors, Steve is now about to pull a Warren Buffet, and donate all of his money to a good cause.

What to Look For: A handsome donation to the West Beverly Athletic Department… under one condition: They name the new football field “Steve Sanders Field House.”

Andrea

Andrea died after a long bout with Alzheimer’s. She was 104 years of age. She is survived by her daughter, Hannah, and her ex-husband, ambulance chaser Jesse Vasquez.

What to Look For: A best-of episode where the gang sits under the Hollywood sign sharing their fondest memories of her.

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And that’s it. You take my backstories, throw Lori Loughlin and Lucille from Arrested Development into the mix, and I don’t see how you can lose. The only problem might be finding storylines for the students of the “next generation.”

Awesomest Men: # 4-1

4. Jesus Christ

Let’s say you were at a wedding (open bar), and they ran out of booze. And everyone was like, “We have to go on a wine run. Not it!” And then a guy stepped up and was like, “Do we? Or am I so awesome that I’ll take this water and…BOOYA.” And the guy made wine. And not like Thunderbird, but really good wine. Wouldn’t you be like, “Teacher, you rule.”

Other things you’ll never experience in your unawesome life:

-Rolling deeper than ants at a picnic with a posse of twelve

– Quoting scripture in the Old Testament and then being like: “That’s me they’re talking about.”

– A woman rubbing your feet with expensive oils then drying them off… with her hair

– Having millions wear a bracelet that says W W (your initial) D?

 

 

3. Chuck Zito

When your bodyguard needs a bodyguard, call Chuck Zito. Zito’s so bad, he’s repped two official selections on the Awesomest Men List (Charles Bronson and Sly Stallone). On top of being one of the baddest bodyguards around, he also was the president for a little motorcycle club. Maybe you’ve heard of them? The New York Chapter of the Hells Angels? Ring a bell? Bam! You want more? He wrote a book called “Street Justice.” You still need more? Even after I told you that his book is called “Street Justice?” Okay, here: Chuck Zito knocked out Jean-Claude Van Damme…in a strip club. So huge. The bottom line, the thing that separates Zito from a guy like say, Scott Baio: Chuck Zito only guarded Liza Minelli; Baio crushed her. So gross.

2. Ultimate Warrior

I always bought into the name. Ultimate Warrior. It sounded like a horrible straight-to-DVD title. Couldn’t you see him in the jungles of Cambodia, plowing through the brush like a wild boar with cyan tights and lame face paint? Bullets whiz in front of him, explosions from an air strike behind him. The big movie trailer voice is like, “This summer, Jim Hellwig is…the Ultimate Warrior” (btw, yes his name was Jim Hellwig. But he legally changed his name to… wait for it…. Warrior. That’s his legal name now. Warrior. Off the charts awesome).

UW is all that is awesome with steroids. His ridiculous theme song would come on and rednecks throughout the stadium (me and my dad) just lost it. Then, still tied off, veins bulging, UW came charging into the stadium like the coked-out Tony Montana in the final scene of Scarface. He practically still had the needle in his arm. And you know there was no talking to him at that point. The weeks of rehearsal and choreographing just went out the window in a roid-raged freak out. And when Vince McMahon finally couldn’t take any more and kicked him to the curb, UW got the last laugh: He opened up “Warrior University,” a wrestling school in Scottsdale University.

If you are a Warrior U alum, and you are looking for work, please email your resume to earl@earlthebutcher.com. It’s basically the only credential you need to be CEO of Awesome.

1. Mr. T

 

I don’t need to mention that Mr. T was the personal bodyguard to Bruce Lee. It really only makes sense. And I could sit here and rattle off the insanely awesome roles T has taken as he left his stamp on American culture forever. Clubber Lang, BA Baracus, Samson in DC Cab. But it’s so much more than that. It’s the ridiculously delicious T breakfast cereal. The wicked awesome cameos in the Alvin and the Chipmunks cartoons. The public service video Be Somebody…or be Somebody’s Fool, where T teaches the chil’ens everything from fashion to life’s essential lessons like respecting your mamma.

He invented bling, patented the Mohawk, rolled up in a tank in the absolutely perfect Snickers commercial (get some nuts), and released an album called Mr. T’s Commandments. In short, he is the epitome of awesome.

The fact that a man so tough, so capable of destroying the human race, could be so compassionate as to take pity on fools is a concept I still cannot get my head around. I don’t try anymore. Instead, I just accept the fact that there is one perfect man on this earth, and that my attempts to model my life after the most awesomest man ever to live will always be in vain.

Awesomest Men: # 9-5

9. Tom Selleck

Every time a man grows a mustache, Tom Selleck gets a royalty check.

Period.

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8. Arnold Schwarzenegger

I don’t even know where to begin. Mr. Universe, 1968? Seven-time Mr. Olympia? Pumping Iron? The fact that Musclemag won’t use his name, but rather refers to him simply as “the King?” Or is it that he pumps out awesome movie after awesome movie after awesome movie? Conan, Red Heat, Commando, Predator, Running Man, Total Recall, Kindergarten Cop, True Lies… the list is endless.

I get his whole political thing, but California isn’t the right place for Ah-nold. What the King needs to do is launch a major offensive against Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and the parts of Canada that surround the great lakes. Once he conquers them (and yes, he will conquer them) he should rename the region “Awesome Land” and declare himself supreme ruler. Then rename all of the great lakes “Lake Awesome,” and start a kingdom where physical fitness is the law of the land, and being flabby is punishable by death. Pirates who have sworn allegiance to Schwarzenegger will force the chunky to walk planks and plummet to icy deaths at the bottom of Lake Awesome. Long Live King Arnold.

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7. Weng Weng

If you’re not big into getting punched in the nuts, your best bet is to just mind your p’s and q’s when Weng Weng’s around. But here’s the rub: you never know when that is.

Agent 00 is perhaps the world’s most deadly secret agent. There’s good news and bad news associated with this. The bad news is he works for the Filipinos. The good news is he doesn’t seem to have any beef with the US, thus guaranteeing our safety for at least another day.

At just 2’9″ he has a ninja-esque mastery of weapons like the blow dart, nunchaku, and a wide array of firearms. But he’s twice as deadly with an arsenal of hi-tech gadgets years ahead of anything we’ve ever seen. Weng Weng has toppled impenetrable drug cartels with rocket packs and a razor blade fedora. It’s terrifying to know that such a force is out there.

But we should take comfort in knowing that the world’s most awesomest secret agent wants to protect us, not destroy us.

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6. Sylvester Stallone

I get butt-cised for actors that do their own stunts. So, like, Jet Li, Wesley Snipes, Air Bud… I’m just blown away. So when I found out that that wasn’t CGI, and that it was indeed Stallone doing that ridiculous workout scene, two things happened: 1) Stallone propelled himself right into the top ten. 2) I got all scared and called 911. Here was the convo:

OPERATOR: 911, what’s your emergency?

ME: <<breathing heavily>> I can’t feel my left arm… uncomfortable… pressure in… chest…

OPERATOR: Sir, I can hear the theme from Rocky in the background.

ME: Yes… watching training montage…youtube.

OPERATOR: Sir , listen to me. I need to know which Rocky.

ME: Twooooo… Oh God, please…

OPERATOR: Okay, sir, you’re having an awesome attack. You have to turn the video off.

<<I press pause>>

OPERATOR: Are you feeling better?

ME: Ugh.. yeah, I think so.

OPERATOR: Sir, you can’t watch that montage all the way through. The human body just isn’t wired that way.

I prayed that day that if God let me live, I would devote my life to educating the masses about the dangers of awesomeness in montages. I share my story because if I save just one person from the fate I nearly suffered, I, in turn, save the world.

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5. Malibu

In many ways, Malibu taught me how to be a man. I was young and naive. My only real experiences in watching competitive games were limited to lame contests such as Double Dare and the NFL. And in 1989 a powerful figure with a mane of gold hair and bicepts like boulders atop the world’s highest mountain came into my living room and destroyed weakling-contestants who dared oppose him. To listen to the gladiator speak was to learn about the balances of life and nature, the key that unlocked all of life’s most treasured secrets. His real name is Deron McBee, and I invite you to speak his name out loud. For he was not only the pinnacle of what an American Gladiator could become, but he was also a professional racket ball player as well.

No seriously, he toured the professional racket ball circuit.