I saw cult-classic bad movie “Road House” for the first time recently.
That’s crazy, right? How is it possible, you ask, to have never seen “Road House,” which arrived smack-dab between “Dirty Dancing” and “Ghost” when the nation was at peak Swayze?
It’s the same answer to most any question about bad life choices: I was in college at the time.
Look, other than a standing afternoon appointment to watch “Days of Our Lives” in the dorm common room, I didn’t watch TV, and I barely went to the movies. I consider these my lost pop-culture years.
Ask me anything about that time and I’ll just give you the same blank stare my 11 year old has when I ask him why the cat box looks like a ransacked Tootsie Roll burial ground.
But I’m slowly working my way through missed opportunities. And watching “Road House” brings me one step closer to being fully caught up.
Over the years, I’d heard about “Road House,” a glorious sundae of tight, high-waisted jeans and rough justice with a mullet on top.
Patrick Swayze plays a kind of nomadic warrior monk who travels from seedy bar to seedy bar, turning lazy, undisciplined bar staff into the Navy SEALS of color-coordinated bouncers.
It’s just as perfectly cheesy as I’d heard. But it also has some important and unexpected lessons for parenting. Here they are. And NO, I will not issue a spoiler warning. This movie is nearly 30 years old. Sheesh.
1. Expect things to get broken
Swayze’s Dalton buys a junker car every time he takes a new job because he knows his “My way or the highway (TM)” approach to managing bar staff will make him enemies and get his tires slashed.
When it happens, he just shrugs and moves on. Same with your stuff.
Parents shouldn’t tolerate outright destructive behavior, of course, but having kids means your things will get broken, stained, torn and lost. Expect it. Put away the objects that really matter until the kids reach a more civilized age, but don’t sweat it when your stuff takes a hit.
2. Semi-mythical bouncer god is a real and attainable career goal
You’ll have to tell the kids this because their guidance counselors won’t.
3. ‘Pain don’t hurt’
Exactly. So shut up about those shots, kid.
4. There IS such a thing as a permanent record, and we’ll need to plan accordingly
After a bar fight, Dalton heads to the ER to get patched up. You can tell the doctor is super-smart because she’s wearing glasses. Anyway, he carries with him an inch-thick pile of medical records (because that’s important information a doctor needs when she’s stapling a minor laceration).
The doctor takes one look at the papers and announces that the files say Dalton went to NYU. BECAUSE THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT SHOULD BE AT THE TOP OF YOUR MEDICAL RECORDS: WHERE YOU WENT TO COLLEGE.
Point being: If you plan on becoming a semi-mythical bouncer god, getting a degree from NYU first will be documented and it WILL be noted. And probably right below that is an in-depth notation about that time you got written up for dress code violation in sixth grade. The permanent record is real. Believe it.
5. ‘Be nice until it’s time to not be nice’
This is Bouncing 101. Works with drunks. Works with kids. Works with pushy PTA moms, too.
Next week: How “Next of Kin” can help you achieve your career goals.