Friday, June 16, 2006

Videos from Hell

My daughter pulled a videotape from a box in the basement.

“New Kids on the Block?” she asked, looking at a faded VHS tape cover featuring five kids who looked like they needed better parents.

“It’s not mine,” I said, sounding strangely defensive. “I’d rather own ‘ABBA Sings the Blues.’”

“Whatever,” she said in the way 16 year olds do to show they own the planet. “I bet you danced to this.”

Yeah, and I sing “I Write the Songs” while drinking beer with the guys.

“No, dear,” I said. “There are only two people in this house who were alive during the five-minute New Kids reign, and I was the only one too busy listening to actual music to notice.”

“Sure, Dad,” she said, patting my shoulder. “I’ll just keep digging. I’m sure I’ll find Hanson.”

Oh, or maybe even Nelson.

The lesson here? Go through your video/DVD/audio collection before someone finds something you’re embarrassed to own. Well, unless you have “New Kids on the Block: Hangin’ Tough.” My wife was actually excited to see it again while I was trying to make fun of her.

But if someone finds your copy of Ratt’s “Out of the Cellar,” don’t worry, you’re not alone.

I’m sure Ice-T has “Ice Ice Baby” on his iPod. Dick Cheney probably has Richard Simmons’ “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” on Air Force Two. And I suspect Chuck Norris hops into his jammies and cuddles with a bowl of buttered popcorn to watch “Grease” at least once a month, but I can’t be completely sure because anyone who’s seen him do it is most certainly dead.

My embarrassing recording doesn’t include episodes of the original “Star Trek.” It’s not the last episode of “Cheers” and it’s not the first episode of “The Lone Gunmen.”

I own a copy of “Footloose.”

I don’t know how I got it. I don’t know if I’ve watched it more than once – and if I did it was probably because of a date, a dare, or too much cough syrup. And I don’t recognize anyone in the movie except Kevin Bacon, that bald guy from “Third Rock from the Sun,” and some blond girl I thought was pretty.

My crime is the fact that I’ve never thrown it away.

“What else do you have in here, Dad?” my daughter asked, poking around tapes full of

“The Simpsons” episodes and 10-year-old Kansas City Chiefs games I’ll never watch again. “Something in black and white with ladies water dancing?”

“No,” I said. “All you’ll find in there are movies with Clint Eastwood, Terminator I, II and III and maybe something with talking monkeys.”

She stopped searching through the sea of out-of-date VHS tapes and pulled out a black plastic rectangle of blackmail.

“‘Footloose,’ Dad?” she said, grinning like … well, grinning like she’d just found a copy of ‘Footloose’ in my VHS tapes. “You’ve got ‘Spice World’ in here, too, right?”

I can change the oil in my car, I can fix a toilet and I can belch like a cartoon rabbit, but none of that manly stuff matters when you’ve got “Footloose” in your video collection.

I hang my head, and please, don’t tell Chuck Norris.