Top Gun and the X-mas Pepsi Disaster


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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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!

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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?)




It’s Christmas Time Already?


What? When did this happen? I am not going to say that I don’t like it, but what happened to, well, the year? I suppose there is no use in being upset by a year that when from zero to “Ba-Zing” so…let’s start the holiday off with a bang!

If the above image is confusing to you, then I guess you don’t have in your life, and I am sad for you. Like a broken record, every year at the same time, I shout from the mountain tops to check out Matt’s famous site of all things great. So this year is no different. Make a point to click the link and take a fun trip, whether it is the blog or the wacky antics in the advent calender, I promise you’ll feel colors. Red and Green colors.

For the first official day of the 2009 Christmas season, I believe I will discuss the greatest memories I have and that is the countless hours spent browsing the Sears catalog, making a “wish list” and checking twice. Or three hundred times. Ok, five hundred. Whatever. Combing my memory, here are some great toys that even today, I wouldn’t mind having.

The USS FLAGG was the greatest toy a boy could have. It was like a toy for your toys. That didn’t make any sense, I know, but go with me here. It was so massive it required a permanent portion of a room. I had fantasies about this thing. I dreamed of being the kid that truly had the best gift every kid wanted and the massive amounts superficial friends I would acquire because of it. I dreamed of eating cheeseburgers on the deck while watching Thundercats. I dreamed of reenacting the opening scene of  Top Gun while humming the theme song. A kid can dream, can’t he? But sadly enough, it was a dream. Never had the damn thing.

Holy shit did I have a few of these. I think this was the present that all my relatives bought for me when I was six. It was as if everyone got a memo for that Christmas stating my aspirations to build a fleet for the Rebel Alliance. What ever the case, if you needed a Kenner X-Wing; I was your guy. The one thing I hated about this toy was the laser sound. It made a noise that would turn a cat inside out and explode. What ever that noise was, it was not a laser sound. Watch this below and see what I am talking about. “REEEEE”

Speaking of lasers, remember this awesomeness of awesome? The Hasbro Lazer Tag set was one of my most treasured Christmas gifts and even though I never found a kid in the neighborhood who had a set to compete with, I did enjoy shooting myself with the help of the bathroom mirror. The only thing I didn’t like about this was the noisy heartbeat sounds on the monitor. Made sneaking around pretty much impossible.

When I was searching for the perfect Transformer picture to rant and rave for the “must have” toy of the mid to late 80’s, I came upon this. Megatron. In an instant I was whisked off the couch back to 1987, sitting in my PJ’s on the blue carpeted den in Marietta, Georgia on Christmas morning. On my lap was this glorious purple box. When I took it out of the static clinging styrofoam I immediately began to “transform” the Rugger pistol into the nemesis of Optimus Prime, ignoring the pleads of my father not to force it. But before I knew it, I forced it, and hyper-extended it. I broke off the leg of Megatron. Though the disappointment was apparent, I still managed to enjoy it for what it was. God, I can still smell the pine, scotch tape and new plastic. Some nostalgia can rival any of Einstein’s greatest theories.

Pow Pow Power Wheels! Much like the dream of owning the USS Flagg, another pipe dream of mine was owning a set of Power Wheels. I had plenty of first grade daydreams of driving my Power Wheel Jeep to the store for my Mom or picking up my pal Toby and cruising to Showbiz Pizza and catching a Rock-A-Fire Explosion animatronic show. But it was not in the stars. But the next year I did car jack the neighbors daughter and take her Barbie Jeep around the block. That is until Mom found out and a foot chase issued. Turns out Power Wheels were a lot faster in my dreams. I was escorted by the elbow to a cell without dinner.

The WWF Wrestling Buddies were a big item for my friends and me. What toy could be better than an Ultimate Warrior a 75 pound kid can body slam? In fact, this pillow character above is directly responsible for a dislocated shoulder. I will just say the couch is not a platform for a pile driver. It’s embarrassing to admit losing a match to a half pound pillow. Even if it was this dude:

Yeah, would you mess with this guy? I didn’t think so.

Perhaps it was for a lack of siblings but I really wanted a bear that could read me bedtime stories and have conversations about Star Wars. This was the one time it was sociably acceptable to have a teddy bear as a boy. We all knew Christopher Robin was a pansy. But going through my old photos from my time home for Thanksgiving I found a troubling picture.

Ah shit. No wonder. I will leave it at that. No wonder.

Nothing will fuck a vacuum up like a Lite Brite peg. I know this from experience. But really, I have received this a couple of different times during Christmas and even though I understood the concept, I never made anything more than an illuminated Jackson Pullock. Seriously, if Lite Brite was an intelligence test, I would have scored somewhere between “cat with paintbrush in mouth” and “chimp with paint on it’s ass”. Meh, this was a shit gift.

No, I have never owned a Strawberry Shortcake doll but I have tried to eat one. Like you haven’t at least thought about it. But I can attest, it just tastes like plastic.

I believe this is a good way to wrap up this old Christmas-want article. The one, the only Castle Greyskull. Even my Grandmother knows what Castle Greyskull is. This magnificent play set was a Masters of the Universe staple in every snotty kid’s room. I was shit, I admit. I even had Skeletor’s Castle. In fact, there are fond memories of saying “boner” over the Doom microphone. I suppose you have to be eight to see the humor. I still cackle when I hear “boner”.

I hope some of my memories have brought up a few of yours. I know I can’t be alone in my head toy chest. Tis the season to be happy and these memories make me smile no matter where or when. Let’s kick off the X-Mas fun starting….right…….NOW!