Sunday, December 23, 2012

No. 529 – Everybody Wants Some!!

Performer: Van Halen
Songwriters: Michael Anthony, Alex Van Halen, Eddie Van Halen, David Lee Roth
Original Release: Women and Children FIrst
Year: 1980
Definitive Version: None

This seems an appropriate follow-up to the last story, right? Everybody wants some? But why the two exclamation points? One wasn’t enough?

I think I’ve mentioned that I like seeing end-of-the-world movies, because I’m fascinated by what other people think it will look like. So given all of the hullabaloo surrounding the made-up Mayan Apocalypse, I made it a point to watch 2012, which was as cheesily bad as I expected it to be. (The Yellowstone supervolcano eruption was pretty awesome though.)

Anyway, a couple nights ago, at Laurie’s annual Solstice party, I made an off-hand reference to 2012, and someone said, “oh, you mean the movie that ended John Cusack’s career?” I don’t know about that, but the comment started a discussion about some of Cusack’s movies, which brings me to this song.

I knew this song from when it first came out—it was on the radio a lot—but I didn’t really embrace it until I saw it featured in one of Cusack’s finest movies: Of course, I’m talking about Better Off Dead.

I saw that movie many years after it was in the theaters, and I loved it right away. It was mostly a typical teenage-angst story line, but it was given just enough of a surrealistic skew to make it rewatchable and quotable. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. If you have seen it, you know how I got into this song. The sequence where Lane Meyer brings the burger to life—to this song, of course—is a classic. (YouTube it.)

Even though the burger joint where Mr. Meyer worked was independent, I can’t help but think of In-N-Out Burger, which Jin introduced me to, most likely in 1996. In-N-Out seems like the perfect place to conduct such a Frankensteinian experiment.

In-N-Out for a long time was my second-favorite fast-food burger chain, behind only Steak-n-Shake, but a bad experience in 2011 soured me. When Laurie and I went to California last year, I made our first stop an in-N-Out burger in Sacramento before hitting the road to Yosemite. I was excited to introduce Laurie to the joys of In-N-Out.

Well, it obviously had been a while since my last time there—so long, in fact, that I forgot that unless you ask, the burger comes with Thousand Island dressing. Laurie hates Thousand Island dressing. That was strike one.

I’m fine with Thousand Island dressing, but a little goes a long way. The burgers were drenched to the point where you couldn’t taste anything but the Thousand Island dressing. Strike two.

But maybe overloading the Thousand Island dressing—and the chopped lettuce, for that matter—was to disguise the fact that the burger was grilled to within an inch of its life. Strike there, we’re out, although I did get a great picture of a very unimpressed Laurie trying to scrape the dressing from her burger and bun.

It’s too bad, because Laurie and I head to California next month to see Paul, Jin and Bridget before they make the big move north to Oregon. Normally, I’d request a trip to satisfy my In-N-Out urge—and every restaurant in a chain can be different—but it’ll be a much lower priority than before.

I’ll still think of this song though when we drive past one, however.

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