I am back. No more traveling for this working stiff. Well, at least not for another month so let the Christmas countdown begin!
Today I am going to share a story I seldom tell because it shows what a naive and questionably intelligent kid I was at age seven. It’s not that many had a good grasp on basic physics in their younger years but gee whiz, at least they didn’t do this.
Every Christmas Eve it is a family tradition to open one present. That present is carefully selected from the few that were under the tree which taunted me for a month before the big fella brought the rest later in the night. That particular Christmas, Top Gun was the previous summer hit and after having had a theater experience like that, I knew I was destined to be a F-14 Naval Aviator but (spoiler alert) we all know I did not. I eyed the gifts and with a recently purchased VCR begging to be fed, I eyed what could only be a VHS tape. To my delight, I received my favorite movie, Top Gun.
Not wasting anytime, I begged the parents to let me watch at least the beginning scene. You know the one, when all the planes take off and Kenny Loggins belts a killer “Danger Zone”? Yeah, you know the part. My nagging worked and I found myself up in their bedroom, unwrapping the cellophane, sliding the tape from the box and inserting the tape in the VCR. The anxiety of Christmas presents took a backseat to the movie which changed my life, or at least changed my idol from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Tom Cruise. Patiently, I waited through the FBI warning for piracy and just when I thought the Paramount mountain was next, it was a commercial.
It was not just a commercial but it was a Top Gun parody commercial by Diet Pepsi. Had it been one of the damn Coca Cola bear or that stupid pigtail-ed girl, I would have FFWD that shit out of it but this was different. This had two Navy Fighter jets! And a “Refreshment System”!
This pleased me.
Okay, so we have two fighters that just came off of maneuvers and in celebration they are treated to a Diet Pepsi but something went wrong. Apparently Mustang’s DPRS (Diet Pepsi Refreshment System) malfunctioned and would not release his drink. Taunted by his fellow crew in the opposing jet, he fibs and claims no problems on board while trying to jimmy his Diet Pepsi free. Then, pulling out a bottle opener, he has an idea.
Thinking fast, this cocky jet jockey pops the top of the Diet Pepsi that is lodged in its “Refreshment System” and held a cup to the edge of the bottle. Instead of tipping the bottle over the cup, Mustang turns his A-4 Skyhawk upside-down, simultaneously pouring his drink into his cup using gravity and the agility of his aircraft.
The two assholes in the F-5 look around in puzzlement, wondering where he went. To their surprise, Mustang pulls an inverted maneuver and looking up, they are canopy to canopy, forced to acknowledge there really was no problem with his ability to be refreshed.
We finish with Mustang rolling his jet over, his cup of Diet Pepsi keeping inline with the angle of attack. The two jets roar over head and disappear into the blue as the iconic voice of Pepsi states the tagline, “Diet Pepsi: The choose of a new generation”.
Whoa! I was fascinated. I wanted, nay, had to try to invert-pour a soft drink into a cup. Nevermind the movie beginning, nevermind Kenny Loggins was starting to sing about the “Danger Zone” and nevermind Santa, this was what I need to try. But how? I didn’t have an A-4 withe a refreshment system or even a bottle of Diet Pepsi.
I went downstairs and found the closest soda to a Diet Pepsi (a can of A&W) and a coffee mug. Also a bike helmet. I went back upstairs with the items in hand as the adults were still at the dinning room table talking about dull things which were apparently hilarious. I never understood the conversations from the adult table that elicited such laughs and wheezes.
There I was, sitting on the edge of the bed with my pretend fighter helmet on and holding a can of soda in my left and a mug in my right. How the hell am I going to do this? I tilted my left arm up as my right arm dipped but it wasn’t quite right. I needed to somehow roll myself upside down as well. Shit, this was hard.
I GOT IT!
What if I was to lay on my bed and role in a 360 degree righthand turn? That would surely work and not only would I feel like Mustang but it would be the only way I would drink soda from then on. I would be a trendsetter!
There were a couple of flaws with this plan which I am sure you can spot already. You see, the soda and my body need to remain static while the cup would be the only rotating item of the three. Or no, maybe the A&W rotate and the cup is static? Obviously I did not put much thought into the plan and laying on my stomach holding the can of A&W root beer in my left hand and the cup in my right, I began to roll over and poured the soda. Oddly the soda did not pour in the cup as planned but in a shocking and cold surprise, all over my face and the bedspread. I gurgled and spit and sat straight up, blinking the root beer from my eyes and when I came to, there was mom looking as shocked as I was.
She turned from the doorway and yelled downstairs to my dad, “BILL? BILL! YOUR SON IS IN HIS BIKE HELMET AND POURED ROOT BEER ALL OVER HIMSELF AND OUR BED!!!”. I am sure it must have been a pretty confusing sight to see and just as confusing to my dad and guests to hear. If there was ever explaining to do, this was it.
I won’t get into the yelling or the multiple towels and forced bath but I will say, they got over it. And every Christmas Eve I am reminded of the time I tried to pour a root beer upside-down…on their new bed…in a bike helmet.
Have any funny stories you are reminded of by loved ones during the Christmas season? Spill ‘em! (see what I did there?)