I think I was out in the sun too long yesterday, but it opened up a whole new part of my mind, a part that asks the question “what if?” Being as I’ve spent most of my life as a “rattle-can hotrodder”, I’ve only ever really been able to improve on the designs of others. This unfortunately limits me to common classic pickups and post-war cars. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a BIG variety to choose from, but I wonder what it would be like to be John Milner, a real hotrodder (even though fictitious).
John Milner had the fastest car in the valley. A hot little ’32 Ford five-window painted bright yellow, it could take out the best of them. Sure, Bob Falfa “had” him in that nasty ’55 Chevy, but he never stayed on his wheels long enough to finish the race, leaving Milner comfortably sitting on the throne, or wearing the crown, or holding the belt. Whatever champion analogy you’re most comfortable with… Being the fastest in the valley, certainly he could have any girl he wanted, right? Well, maybe not… In the movie, he had a young girl named Carol pawned off on him. John was the old guy at the party, kind of like Wooderson in Dazed and Confused.
Paul Le Mat won a Golden Globe for his performance in American Graffiti. I don’t know much about the seventies, but from what I can tell, there was a lot of sex and drugs and rock and roll. “New Star of the Year” award winner in that era for his portrayal as a sixties bad ass? I’m sure he was living the life! That being said, living the life isn’t easy on the human body… Anyone I know who’s met Paul Le Mat in person said he looks rough, and it’s understandable, as I’d look rough too…
Here’s how I would’ve done it: the scene is set in 1974. I’ve played the part of Milner, and knocked boots with that chick who played Debbie so hard that the Velcro let go from her wig. Can I say Velcro? How about non-descript hook-and-loop fastening system? Anyways, I’ve got it all god dammit. Bell bottoms? Check. Pirate shirt? Check. Maintainable cocaine habit? Check. Bitchin’ Camaro? Double-check! Why double? Why not? I’m John Milner for fuck sakes, I can do what I want, and I want to keep one Z28 minty, you know, so it appreciates in value. Women want me, men want to be me, and my neighbours want me to crash and burn during one of my sweet one-wheel burnouts so they no longer have to listen to Steely Dan cranked up to eleven. Then, they get their wish.
Fast-Forward a decade. The entire Star Wars trilogy has been released, and George Lucas will not return my calls… The third-gen Camaro has been released, and I’m currently between places, living in my not-so-minty collectible 1974 Z28, after crashing the driver during one of my one-wheelers… Salvaged that Steely Dan eight-track, though! No longer do I answer to John, however, as no one remembers who that is. Women no longer want me, men no longer want to be me, and my stripper “girlfriend” WILL NOT give me her real name, or move into the Z28 with me… Who needs Goldie Stardust anyways? I’ve got a bigger plan.
You know how some people go religious, and change their name to get away from their former self? I did just that, except I changed my name so I could get to the front of the line of the hottest club with no cover, and crush a little ass once inside. Move over world, Han Solo Skywalker is here! If I couldn’t ride on the coattails of my own movie, certainly my old pal George wouldn’t mind me riding on the coattails of his most recent achievement, right? I went so far as to start carrying one of those windproof torch lighters and glow-in-the-dark novelty condoms, because lets face it, the ladies dug a fella with a light saber!
Sadly, money, fame, sex, drugs, rock and roll and a not-so-bitchin’ Camaro can only get you so far. Luckily, one of my glowing novelty light saber condoms broke, and I ended up knocking up Goldie on one of our many motel room reunions. I may not have been able to raise the boy, or pay child support for that matter, but I was more than willing to move into his basement in the early 2000’s, and I’m still there today as an active father figure. I quote Darth Vader a lot now, though he tells me being a terrible father doesn’t give me the right to that quote. Oh well… His old lady is knocked up now. I hope it’s a boy and they name him Luke. That Vader shit coming from Grandpa is going to be gold!
And the credits roll… Not bad hey? Man, I was born far too young… I would’ve killed it living that life! Did Paul Le Mat live that life? How the hell should I know? Google is your friend, try it. Why does he look old today? Probably because he’s over seventy, dude’s earned it! Seriously, though, I’d like to thank George Lucas and Lucasfilm for giving me the inspiration to this, Paul Le Mat for kicking the ass out of that role, Steely Dan for rocking as hard as anyone in the seventies could, and anyone else I forgot to mention. Velcro? Those responsible for Dazed and Confused? Chevrolet, Ford, Durex, Jägermeister, Everybody! It’s been seven weeks, and this is my triumphant return to writing! If I mentioned you, it ain’t slander, it’s a compliment.