It’s a Cruel. Cruel Summer.

Let’s talk about the kid with the pool.

Everyone knew this kid, and maybe you were this kid.  I’d be surprised if you were, because I rarely associate with demons from Hell.

At least not since I got out of the music and insurance businesses.

The kid with the pool could be a girl or a boy, black or white, rich or poor.  The kid with the pool could be anyone, anywhere.  The one common theme among all kids with the pool was that they never wanted to go in the pool.

I hated the kid with the pool.

Let’s call them KWP for short, because I am already tired of typing out “kid with the pool” and we’re only getting started here.

KWP never had a regular, everyday pool, either.  KWP had an awesome pool.  A pool with a slide and/or a diving board.  A pool with one of those hot tubs that spills over the side into it.  A pool that’s screened in so you don’t get eaten alive by mosquitoes.  A pool that had a sweet boombox on the porch where you could listen to your Beastie Boys License to Ill cassette all the live-long day and gloat about how awesome sixth grade is going to be next year.  An awesome pool.

An awesome pool that they “weren’t in the mood” to go swimming in when you came over.

On any summer day in South Florida, it gets so hot that you literally contemplate suicide.  Then you think, “Nah, it’s not that bad” and decide to go on living, and then take one step outside and think, “I wonder how much carbon monoxide it would really take to kill me?”

The fact that we didn’t have air-conditioning in my house growing up made this red-hot strife approximately one billion times worse.  We were so miserable inside that ramshackle sweatbox, a slow gas leak in the kitchen would have done wonders for morale.  I bet at least half of the fist-fights in my house would have never happened if we had just had stupid air-conditioning.  And also if we weren’t born mean assholes.

You would wake up on any summer morning, drenched in sweat from sleeping in a 90 degree room all night, and call up KWP.  The conversation would go like this:

“Hey, it’s Maggie.  Wanna hang out today?  It’s supposed to be really hot so I was thinking we could go swimming and lay out.”

KWP:  “I don’t know.  I may feel like swimming later.  You can come over now, though.”

You don’t want to seem too eager when you show up at KWP’s house, because the more you let on that you want to swim, the more KWP will resist the idea because, as I may have mentioned earlier, KWPs are demons from Hell.

In an effort to not appear too eager, instead of showing up in just your bathing suit with a beach bag full of stuff, you just tie on your bikini top and then put a t-shirt over it so that the strings hang out the top of the collar in the back.  Bikini bottoms go on under your regular shorts.  No pressure, KWP.  The bikini top strings hanging out the top of my shirt are merely a visual hint that pool-partaking might be a fun thing to do.  KWP did, after all, say that they may want to go swimming later.

Then when KWP opens the front door, they look you up and down and say, “Oh, hey.  Come on in.  I just put on The Goonies.”

Then you say, “Oh, wow.  Haven’t you already watched that like fifty times?  I just rewatched it for the tenth time last night!”

This has no effect on KWP.  Nothing doing.  You’re sitting through that whole movie, in your bathing suit, eyeing the glistening pool just outside the sliding glass door behind you.  KWP will pause the movie to take phone calls, make a sandwich, play an Atari game, and stretch out this 51st viewing of The Goonies to a three hour affair.

As the credits roll, you stretch out a little when you stand up and say, “Man, the pool looks really good today.  Wanna go jump in?”

Then, naturally, KWP says, “Oh, my mom said nobody’s allowed to use the pool for a few days.”

Damn you to Hell, KWP.  You could have said that way, WAY earlier.  But no!  Heavens no!  KWP has to string you along all day.  And to top it off, when KWP’s mom comes home, she asks why you’re not in the pool on such a hot day.  KWP looks away and says nothing.  Oh ho hooo, KWP!  On top of being a pool-tease, KWP is also a filthy liar.

Hey, look.  I’m not an idiot, despite what “college admissions officers” may tell you.  I know that KWPs are afraid that everyone is just using them for their pool and they want you to prove your friendship to them before they’ll agree to go swimming.  I assume all KWPs were emotionally damaged by having a pool as kids, and grew up to be those non-committal types in relationships who never trust anyone’s motivations and they eventually turned their angst into one of those awkward early Sex and The City episodes where people still talked at the camera.

Here’s the thing, though, KWP.  I’m going to save you a ton of time in therapy:  People can like you and still want to swim in your pool.  The two things are not mutually exclusive.

So let me in your goddamned pool.  How can you live in that house and look at that pool all day long and not want to get in it?  What are you, sick?  Are you SICK?  You get some kind of cheap thrill off of dangling pool time in front of people and then snatching it away?  What is the big deal, KWP?  LET’S JUST GET IN THE POOL.  It’s not like I’m going to get in the pool and then ignore you.  I’m going to get in the pool and then we’ll play Marco Polo or some shit.  I’ll even let you be Adrock when we pool-rap to “Brass Monkey”.  We’re still hanging out together!  We’re having fun!  Why do you slam the door in the face of fun, KWP?  WHY DO YOU REFUSE TO BE HAPPY?

If you don’t work this stuff out, you can probably count on dying alone, KWP.  I don’t want to have to be the one to tell you that, but it’s true.  Let me be your friend.  Let me be your pool’s friend.  Learn to trust people again, KWP, because you deserve it.

And because you’re annoying the shit out of everyone.

I’ll Make You Famous

I think the most unselfish way for anyone to exit this earthly plane is to be eaten by a wild animal.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure it’s no picnic while it’s happening. It’s probably one of the more unpleasant ways to go.  That bear attack that happened to Leonardo DiCaprio in the The Revenant?

[SPOILER] Even though Leonardo DiCaprio survived the attack, that shit legitimately freaked me out for days after I saw it. [END SPOILER]

It disturbed me on a level I didn’t even think possible, and I say that as a person who lived through times when denim jeans had no stretch.  I used to lie on my bed on 1989 at age 13, all 105 pounds of me, and suck in my non-existent gut and hold my breath saying, “Do it do it do it” while a middle school friend used actual pliers to pull up the zipper on my jeans because they were so tight.  That’s how inflexible the jeans of yore were.

Also, “Yore Were” is “Wolf Blitzer” in Japanese.  Keep saying it.  Yore Were.  Yore Were.  Yore Were.

You’re doing it right now aren’t you?

Don’t ever do anything just because I told you to do it.  It takes me like one successful try at that before I’m drunk with power.

Despite the horror of The Revenant bear attack incident, I don’t know, there’s something about a bear attack that just doesn’t have the same kind of style as, say, being eaten by a tiger.  I feel like if you go into the woods and a bear eats you, that makes for an okay enough story for your loved ones to tell at your funeral, but it really lacks the pizzazz of being eaten by more interesting mammals.

I mean, you’re dead.  Besides any life insurance you might have had kicking around, what more do you have left to offer?  The least you can do is leave behind a good story for your loved ones to tell at bars.

That’s why when it’s my time, I want to be eaten by a tiger and/or lion.  Maybe a liger, but that’s almost a little too precious, isn’t it?  Something in the way of a larger cat, because I imagine there’s nothing “quick” about being eaten by a pack of house cats.  Big cats at least know how to take shit down.  Plus, if you get eaten by house cats, people might assume you were a sad hoarder crazy person.  Not that you’re not.

The big cat scenario is preferable because it would lend itself to situations where people would ask my loved ones, “Oh my god!  How did she die?!” and then the loved ones could answer (wailing), “Maggie got eaten by a cat!  A GIANT CAT!”

Isn’t that intriguing?  How much mileage would you get out of that one?

“I saw Maggie just last week and she was fine!  What happened?!”

(Fighting back tears) “Well, I got up and went to work on Tuesday, did my usual thing.  It was like any other day, really.  Right up until I got the call from the hospital saying that she had been eaten by a, eaten by a…”

(Turns into sobbing), “…ca-a-a….ca-a-a…ca-a-a…caaaaaat!!”

Everywhere you went after that, people would whisper behind your back, “Isn’t that the guy whose wife got eaten by a cat?”  or “Isn’t that the lady whose daughter got eaten by a big kitty?”  Your entire identity would revolve around the way I died, which since I’m not particularly religious, is the best possible way to haunt people from the grave have people remember me after I’m dead.

(I also have a general rule that if actual “haunting” is possible, I will only do it when you’re either (a) on the toilet, or (b) wanking it.  Hopefully those two things won’t ever cross into each other in the Venn diagram of your life, but if you’re grief-stricken over my having been eaten by a cat, I’ll give you a pass on that for at least the first few months.  Beyond that, my ghost would just be enabling you and your disgusting habits.  My ghost is gonna be all about tough love, so you better get your shit straight, buckos.)

It would do me a solid to know that I kicked it leaving behind a good story, and it would make you sort of a local legend.  The guy whose wife got eaten by a cat.  The lady whose daughter got eaten by a big kitty.  I made you famous!  You’re welcome?

You know who else said they would “make you famous”?  Billy the Kid, as played by the effervescent Emilio Estevez in Young Guns and Young Guns 2.

That’s right.  It alllllll really comes back to that, doesn’t it?  You spend decades of your life trying to figure shit out and find your way.  You write some stuff online about your makeup regimen, close calls with the law, and the slutty years of your youth, and then WHAMMO.  Someone from the Sheen/Estevez family barges into your brain NIGHT AND DAY and finds a way to change your entire life’s narrative, one blog post at a time.

Plus, being eaten by a tiger/lion/liger is basically just feeding a really, supremely lazy animal, and I totally identify with their particular plight.  I’m so lazy that when I see I’m out of clean spoons at home I just eat mashed sweet potatoes cold with my bare hands like they’re an orange sandwich-wad and then wipe my dirty hands on my jeans and argue how that’s no different than using a cloth napkin when you really think about it.

Feel free to write “Jeans are just leg-napkins” on my tombstone right under, “Eaten By Cat”.  I’m that committed to the cause.

Sheen vs. Estevez: I Guess We’re Really Doing This Thing

“Now you wanna get nuts?!  Come on!  LET’S GET NUTS!”

Can you imagine if Christian Bale Batman had delivered that line instead of *Michael Keaton Batman?  You know, with that gravelly new Batman voice that made me laugh out loud in the movie theater the first time I heard it?

We’re not here to talk about “What if?” scenarios regarding the Batman franchise, because I am a person who values their life.

If there’s one thing people have made clear on the interwebz, it’s that you should never, ever, ever, under any circumstances, ever start a debate about comic book characters, or about movie characters that are based on comic book characters, or about pretty much anything else in the entire universe that used to exist, currently exists, or will exist in the future, comic-related or otherwise.

I guess this is the end of this post, then.  Thanks for ruining everything!

So anyway, I figure the one topic that you may still be able to discuss semi-openly online without having your life threatened (yeah right), is whether to take “Sheen” or “Estevez” as your professional last name if you’re working in Hollywood.

I should mention that the pre-requisite for having to make this decision is that you’re one of Martin Sheen’s sons.  Also, it’s integral to the discussion for you to know that Martin Sheen’s birth name is Ramon Antonio Gerardo Estevez.

Please don’t ever admit to me that you didn’t know that, by the way.  You should get rid of some of the useless stuff in your memory like “math” and “chemistry” to make more room for this kind of information because, frankly, your flimsy knowledge base with regard to Sheens and Estevezeseses is embarrassing.

For today’s discussion we’ll just go ahead and pick any two Martin Sheen sons at random.

How about…Charlie Sheen?  Okay, that’s one.

And for the second one, we’ll just go with Emilio Estevez, because he seems like a convenient enough choice.  There is a third son, and also a daughter, but you probably didn’t know that either, because you decided to read Hemingway’s “The Old Man and The Sea” before bed last night instead of Wikipedia and, as if that does you any favors.

The Old Man and The Sea spoiler alert:  Santiago catches the fish.  There’s no meat left on the fish by the time he gets it back to shore and people are all, “Look at the size of this dead, useless fish!  I bet it really used to be something, huh?”  Hemingway claimed this was just a fishing story and didn’t contain any symbolism.  That guy is totally still trolling you from the grave, because you know damn well that story is 100% about his whiskey dick.

Now that you’ve got the two sons all picked out, let’s get into this thing.

The Case for Charlie Sheen

Charlie Sheen, born Carlos Irwin Estevez, is the youngest of the Sheen/Estevez clan.  I can see how when he was first starting out, going by Sheen probably made it very easy for people to go, “Sheen?  Say, that isn’t Martin Sheen’s kid by chance, is it?  Let’s give this kid an audition!”  Using your dad’s stage name also makes it equally easy for backlash to happen, where people probably accused him of trying to get a foot in the door by riding on his dad’s coattails.  It’s a gamble.

Hey, you know what?  Life isn’t easy.  Making it in Hollywood?  Even less easy.  If you have a way to give yourself a leg up, I say go for it.  I don’t discount anyone just because they’re somebody’s kid.  You still have to do the work once you get your foot in the door.

Why, I myself am the product of some of Adrian Zmed’s DNA that was left inside his pants after that particularly enthusiastic dance/bowling scene in Grease 2 and an ovum that fell out onto Pamela Adlon’s jeans while she was skateboarding in the scene just after the dance/bowling scene in Grease 2, and then someone in the costuming department at the movie studio put the two pairs of dirty pants in the same hamper together and I spawned forth from the dirty pants pile after someone knocked the hamper over into that pod they were making for the remake of The Fly, yet you don’t discount me for having an inordinate amount of knowledge about Grease 2 and weird daddy-esque issues with Jeff Goldblum, do you?

Do you?

Jeff Goldblum.  Please.  You know he wants you to call him “Weird Daddy”.  YOU KNOW IT.

I imagine at the time Charlie made the decision to go by the last name “Sheen”, Charlie, the very legitimately bad boy of the two brothers, said, “Here are the amount of fucks that I give with regard to your feelings on the matter of me using my dad’s stage name as my last name.”  Then he probably made a zero sign with his thumb and forefinger, lit something on fire, and snorted a line off of Daryl Hannah’s left boob, because Charlie Sheen?  Charlie Sheen don’t give a fuck.

Charlie Sheen then appeared in no less than 45 films, and was at one time the highest paid actor on television.

Sure, he’s had more than his fair share of run-ins with the dark underbelly of Hollywood, and maybe appearing in Major League 2 was a mistake because the first Major League was actually a really great sports movie that should have been left to stand on its own, but I root for Charlie Sheen for one reason:

You can tell he’s the guy you want to talk to at the party.

He is a flawed human being.  I get that.  I’m sure he’s caused no end of trouble for anybody who loves him.  I’ve had plenty of people in my life who have done the same.  They can cause a lot of heartache.  But as you know, according to my favorite Nicolas Cage line in Moonstruck, “I ain’t no freakin’ monument to justice!”

Maybe I wouldn’t marry Charlie Sheen or rely on him to take care of exotic pets or care for expensive glass eggs for the weekend, but I feel like you kinda know that going into it.  The man, like all of us, has limitations.  I’ve done some really fucked up stuff, too, and I didn’t even have to grow up on camera in Hollywood to celebrity parents.

And, honestly, his performance as the druggie at the police station in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, even though it was just a cameo, is one of the best moments in 80s cinema:

“You wear too much eye makeup.  My sister wears too much.  People think she’s a whore.”

I want that on a t-shirt.

Based solely on that performance, and the fact that he and I are both the baby of our respective families and probably should have received more discipline except that we were everybody’s favorite and were therefore allowed to do whatever we wanted even at great personal expense, I am inclined to go with Charlie Sheen.

The Case for Emilio Estevez 

The obvious argument here is that since Martin Sheen is merely a stage name, wouldn’t it have been weird if Emilio changed his last name to Sheen?  To do so would feel, pardon the Millennial term, “thirsty”.  I know, I just totally excused that whole thing in the Charlie Sheen argument, and it would be valid here, too, were Emilio Estevez the same person as Charlie Sheen, but he ain’t.

Charlie Sheen gets special rules, because he just does.  I don’t dislike Emilio Estevez, not at all.  I like Emilio Estevez.  I’m sure he’s a great, reliable guy who rarely disappoints people, rarely trashes anyone’s house, and never goes on national morning news shows to tell people that he has tiger blood running through his veins.

I just feel like he’s the guy at his book club event who wants to tell you about how good the hummus is while you keep checking your watch before you can ditch his event and go back to Charlie Sheen’s party.  He seems like the guy you would fully expect to introduce himself as “Gary White”.  I suspect he kept his birth name of “Emilio Estevez” because that’s an intriguing motherfucking name for a blonde-haired, blue-eyed guy who looks like he runs the Norway ride at Epcot.

It would be like if Ed Begley, Jr. walked up to you and said, “Hello, my name is Antonio Banderas.”  Instead of blindly signing whatever petition he was trying to get you to sign and shoo-ing him away back towards the hummus platter to hang out with the Gary Whites of the world, you would probably say, “Antonio Banderas, you say?  Tell me more about yourself, you long intriguing ghost-cat.”  Next thing you know, you’re making out.

I mean, imagine if in The Breakfast Club, as the typical mid-western high school jock on the wrestling team who bullies his teammates, if instead of Emilio Estevez’s character having the name “Andy Clark”, his character had the name “Emilio Estevez”.  I would have paid attention to his character from the get-go, instead of only kind of coming around after he cried in front of everyone about how terrible he felt over taping that hairy kid’s buns together in the locker room that time.


I guess what I’m saying is that if your name is Andy Clark and you’re on the high school wrestling team, you’re going to have to work really hard to convince me to give up my pre-conceived notions about you, because “Andy Clark:  High School Wrestler” is probably the least intriguing human concept that I’ve ever heard.

Did you really give a shit about Andy Clark in The Breakfast Club, or were you too glued to Judd Nelson’s “I give zero fucks” emotionally-damaged, dark and brooding hoodlum “John Bender” character to really pay attention to anyone else in the movie, let alone Andy freaking Clark?

News Flash To Me:  Judd Nelson’s character is the Charlie Sheen of that movie and I can’t believe it took me this long to realize it.  You’re witnessing my coming to this realization in real time, so get out your cameras and take a picture of this screen right now for posterity.

Charlie Sheen:  Going by your celebrity father’s stage surname is a foot in the door.  Meh.

Emilio Estevez:  Going by your real name when you look like the guy who runs the Norway ride at Epcot is a foot in the door, and anyone who’s anyone in Hollywood already knows you’re Martin Sheen’s kid either way, so it’s not like it’s a secret or anything.  Meh.

Winner:  Judd Nelson. 


*Unpopular Opinion:  I prefer Michael Keaton Batman.

/puts on bulletproof vest