So as I lay awake staring at the ceiling in the wee hours of Sunday morning, I could barely make out the sounds of voices coming from my basement. Intruders? Prowlers? (Does anybody use that word anymore?) Mice? Wayward lawn gnomes? Ghosts?
No, I knew it was my 13-year-old son and his buddy, who were having a sleepover in the “hang out,” i.e. the kids’ TV/video game parlor. (Wait, does anybody use that word either—you know, without “tattoo” in front of it? Man, I’m old.) Anyway, despite being a “sleepover,” I could tell that there was very little sleep occurring.
But that’s the way it’s always been and half the fun, right? I remember a few sleepovers from my youth … yes, after we spent our days inventing fire and cooking brontosaurus burgers. (Tasted like chicken, as I recall.) And I’m talking the innocent ones with my buddies, not the other ones with girls that started around college—er, I mean, after I was married. (My mom reads this blog sometimes, so shhh … just go with it!)
I remember sleeping over my friend Rob’s house, with our other buddy Nick. Rob lived in a raised ranch, and at some point, he “fixed up” the crawl space under the stairs into a hangout of sorts. Okay, we couldn’t stand up or move around too much, but with some old carpet on the floor, a few moving pads over the concrete wall and a couple of pillows, it was cozy little spot. With an extension cord or two, we had a light and more importantly, music.
Oh yeah, it was the late 1970s, so I was about the same impressionable age as my son is now, and as much as he’s into video games we were into KISS. We’d spend hours under the stairs, listening to Rock ‘n Roll Over, Love Gun, Destoyer and Alive!—“You wanted the best, you got the best …. the hottest band in the world … KISS!!!” [*cue pyrotechnics*]
Like many kids, we thought we could put together our own band. For reasons I truly don’t remember, we went about trying to learn this song …
Oh ho ho it’s … crap! Hey, but it was the ’70s—I’m pretty sure that’s an acceptable excuse for many a cultural faux pas.
It also didn’t help that the three of us were absolutely tone deaf. I knew that, but I thought maybe I could “hide” or “blend” my voice in with the other guys. Not so much.
Still, we had a lot of fun being goofy kids, taking turns sleeping over each other’s houses (not always under the stairs), staying up late and watching bad TV.
Speaking of, there were lots of sleepovers in college (usually after imbibing too much, and worth a post of its own some day). After I graduated, I would regularly stay over at my buddy Bob’s various apartments—he was a graduate assistant, and then a dorm director at Southern, so it was an ideal place to hang out. The prototypical bachelor pad, we spent untold hours staying up late, eating fast food (How I still miss Pal’s BBQ in New Haven!) and playing video games as well as Yahtzee on an old Apple Macintosh.
We also watched dozens—maybe hundreds—of cheesy B movies and schlock horror films. Everything from Assault of the Killer Bimbos and Galactic Gigolo (starrring Connecticut’s own Carmine Capobianco) to Luther the Geek and The Story of Ricky. We saw a bunch of the Troma films (Toxic Avenger, Class of Nuke ‘Em High, etc.), all the Evil Dead films and were on the Peter Jackson bandwagon from the start, when he was making movies like Bad Taste, Meet the Feebles and one of our all-time favorites, maybe the greatest zombie film of all time, his Dead Alive. …
Warning: Ridiculous amounts of blood and cheesy gore, and possibly NSFW. Very amusing, however.
“I kick arse, FOR THE LORD!”
So many great scenes in this movie. If you loved Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland, I can’t recommend this film enough.
Anyway, we spent *a lot* of late nights doing this kind of stuff, and having a lot of fun in the process. And I’m sitting here the next day, watching my son and his buddy watching YouTube clips through bleary eyes now—
—I’m pretty sure that they’re making the same kind of great memories for themselves.