Happy B-day, Pat!

Unless you’ve been living under the same rock that I have for the past one month and four days, then you’re probably already all too aware that today is Patrick Swayze’s birthday. That’s right, our favorite afterlife bouncer dancer is turning the big 5-4! Can you believe that junk? Fifty-four years old. Even as I type that I can’t believe it’s been that long. In my heart he will never be any older than 1989.

Patrick Swayze is one of our nation’s greatest treasures. His hair stood strong with Ronald Reagan during the 80’s, and his tai chi rumbling got us through the shaky waters of Bush Sr.‘s tenure in the Oval Office. After that, he reached his hand way up to our shoulder and said, with a single tear rolling down his chiseled cheek, “You’re all grown up now. I’ve taught you all the dance moves I know, so now it’s time for you to get out there and show ‘em what you got. Make me proud.” Then he gave America a long, emotional embrace and gently sobbed “I’ll never forget you!” And after that we never saw his glistening chest again. With the exception of To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar, of course. But really, that was about the same as not seeing him at all.

I celebrated this magnificant day by doing something that I’ve been meaning to do for a while now: watch Road House. But I didn’t do it just any old way. No no, dear friends, Pat deserves much better than that. I pulled out the download I had gotten from RiffTrax.com, the optional commentary to the movie by Mystery Science Theater 3000’s Mike Nelson. Mike loves this movie almost as much as I love cold potato skins and lukewarm Mr. Pibb on Christmas morning. And his passion for riffing this movie will run its greasy fingers up your leg with the tender touch of an ex-lover about to receive a restraining order. All that to say, it’s pretty funny. And accurate. And heartwarming, and all that crap.

Mr. Swayze, we know it’s not your fault that Road House exists, and in fact we applaud your effort to try to bring as much shirtless dignity to the role as anyone could possibly ask for. “Pain don’t hurt”, indeed. Except when you’re watching Road House, and then it has the potential to hurt pretty bad. But thanks to Mike and RiffTrax, as well as Patrick’s abs and Sam Elliott’s luxurious flowing mane, the story of a bouncer who just wants to make ends meet, as well as kick a little ass in the corrupt small-town life of Jasper, Missouri, can resonate with the hopeless tai chi drifter in all of us.