« today's gaming talk | Main | george steinbrenner must be stopped »

stay gold

If there's one way the daughter does not take after me (besides that whole American Idol thing), it's that she does not like to read. She says that reading just isn't "her thing" and that she should not be forced to pick up a book for pleasure when she has to read so much "junk" for school. She loves to write, though, so I let the reading thing go sometimes.

So imagine my suprise and delight when one day she comes home from school all excited about a book she's reading for English class. She's so excited, in fact, that she wants me to buy her the book because she is sure that she will want to read it over and over.

I ask her what novel has her so excited to read and she pulls a well-worn paperback out of her bag. My jaw drops.

"The Outsiders!?!"
"Oh, you've heard of it?"
"Heard of it? That was my favorite book in eighth grade! I did a spectacular report on it."
"Oh.My.God.Mom. I'm in eighth grade. And I'm going to do a report on it, too! I had no idea the book was so old."

She pronounces the word old as if what she really means is so ancient as to be from the time of dinosaurs.

She's already read half the book in school, so we reminisce over some of the scenes and characters. I tell her about the movie version. Another Oh.My.God. moment.

I pull up the IMDB page for The Outsiders.

"Who are these people?"
"That was an amazing cast for that time. They were all the hottest stars of the day."
"Who is Francis Ford Coppola?"

I explain the legacy of Mr. Coppola. She is not impressed.

"So who are these actors? Oh.My.God!" (she says that a lot)
"That's Tom Cruise! He was in that stupid movie."
"He sure was. Uhh..which one are you talking about?"

She gives a convoluted, lengthy description and I realize after a few minutes she's talking about Legend.

"So who are these other people? What were they in? Are they still famous?"

I explain about C. Thomas Howell and how he ended up in one of the worst movies of all time. I tell her about Ralph Macchio, fellow Long Islander. She gets him confused with Scott Baio of Joanie Loves Chachi fame (too much Nick at Nite, I guess), and the recognizes him from Karate Kid, which she deems the dumbest movie ever and does a sarcastic wax on, wax off thing. She sort of recognizes Patrick Swayze and Emilio Estevez. She thinks Rob Lowe is cute in a girly kind of way, whatever that means. Then I pull up a photo of Matt Dillon from his Outsider days.

Her eyes light up. She's got this dreamy look on her face that I haven't seen since the first time she fell in love , with this guy.

"Who does he play in the movie?"
"Oh! Dally is my favorite! What else was he in?"

I have to think about my answer because I'm certainly not going to tell her about Drugstore Cowboy or Wild Things. I think about forcing her to watch Singles. Wait, what about.....

"Over the Edge. One of the greatest movies about teenage rebellion ever made."
"About what?"
"Nevermind. I'll just rent it for you someday. Matt Dillon looked really good in that movie."
"He is sooo cute."
"Hon, he's like 40 years old now. You can't have a crush on this guy. It's just not right."
"Eeww, like I would like a guy that old! I just like the young him."
"So, you have a retroactive crush on Matt Dillon?"

A couple of days later, she has finished the book - twice - and watched the movie seven times. She aced the book test. And now we have a little inside thing between us. Instead of saying goodnight to her, I say, in a wry sort of way, Stay gold, Ponyboy. She laughs. And I go sit on the couch and and think about Ponyboy and SodaPop and feel like I'm in eighth grade again, until I recall the above conversation and feel so, so old.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference stay gold:

» Retro Crush from camedwards.com
Michele at "A Small Victory" writes about the fact her daughter has a retro crush on Matt Dillon from "The Outsiders". This amuses me, because I have several "retro crushes" of my own, including: -Natalie Wood in "Rebel Without A... [Read More]


Very cool!

I read that book in 8th grade too. I remember our English teacher made us act it out like a play. I was Cherry.Can't believe I remember that!

I liked doing the pioneer diary a lot more.

"That's Tom Cruise! He was in that stupid movie."
"He sure was. Uhh..which one are you talking about?"

I would say this made me blow diet coke out my nose, but that's really cliche and I really didn't anyway. Still funny as shit, though. Definitely gets my vote for quote(s) of the week.

There's nothing wrong with "retroactive crushes." I had one on the black-and-white, Mickey Mouse Club version of Annette Funicello when I was 6 or so. Meanwhile, she was "like 40" and doing Jiffy commercials.

Stuff like that makes me want to have kids...then I think about all the shitty things about having kids...and I'm not sure whether or not the good things weigh more on the scale.

It depends on the kids, Cobby, it depends on the kids. And that has a lot to do with how you raise them. Even then, though, it's a bit of a crap shoot.

Even so, little moments like the one Michele describes make it a lot of fun. My 13-year-old son and I have been jonesing together on the whole "Lord of the Rings" phenomenon over the past few years, which has given us a lot of common ground. You learn to appreciate things like that and try to use them to build the relationship.

First time at your blog...and this is a great entry to see! File this one under "precious moments when I know they came from me" 'cause there are SO many others when they're the demon child that couldn't be yours.

"My Bodyguard". Let her watch Matt get his bullying ass kicked all over the schoolyard by Chris freakin' Makepeace. Heh.

My 6th grader just read it too...and she doesn't believe me when I tell her that S.E. Hinton is woman, not a man.

Hey - wasn't "The Motorcycle Boy" just the coolest thing ever?

Thanx for sharing that Michele. I remember when I connected like that with my niece a bunch of years back. It was with Saturday Nite Live and, for some brief moments, I too felt young again.

Nothing wrong with retroactive crushes. My wife has a thing for Cary Grant. I'm fine with that, since he's, ya know, dead. Gives us lots of options on movie rental date night.

Huge retroactive crush on Diana Rigg.

COBBY said "then I think about all the shitty things about having kids...and I'm not sure whether or not the good things weigh more on the scale."

The good weighs more. By a lot. There is nothing in this world that matches the joy your own children will bring you.

I had a retroactive crush on Adam in Bonanza. I was so upset when he left the show -- even though he'd actually left years before!

oooOo Matt Dillon. yummy. Like John Taylor of Duran Duran, he's aged exceedingly well. And he never seemed like a preening hollywood weenie.

He was in all the other Hinton movies, too- Tex, Rumblefish.. I don;t think he was in "that was then, this is now" though.

I read all those books until they fell apart when i was in middle school. I went and saw all the movies. Perfect preteen girl stuff without being pink, glittery, belly-button showing, britney-listening, tee-heeing or funky stuff like that.

Outsiders book & movie both = Excellent, excellent, excellent.

Refresh my memory: Was Matt Dillon's "does the rug match the drapes?" line in the book as well? I think it wasn't, but I dunno.

Mikeski: Wow. "My Bodyguard." And you even know Chris Makepeace's name. Kudos, hehe. I think I still have the official novelization of that movie ("With 8 pages of photos from the film!" Of scenes that never happened!).

The more she writes, the more she may want to read. Also: it could be that the way they were teaching her to read was actually (up until now) putting her off books; I don't know what the New York state school system is like, but here in Florida it's all about passing the goddamn FCAT (I know all this from my friends with kids) and their way of getting kids to read is having them do "book reports." I had to go through that all through what we then called junior high, and it almost put me off reading and writing. See, we weren't allowed to critique a book, we were only allowed to write what it was "about." I have always hated people coming up to me and asking "Whatcha readin'? What's it about?" For one thing, it meant I had to quit reading and talk to this boring person... And then I found out I had to do it, in writing, for every class for three years....

If I remember correctly, S.E. Hinton was in the movie as well. She played some small bit part. Watch the credits!

Like many, I too read that book. I was in 7th grade. My teacher also made us memorize the Frost poem. I think I can still remember it. "Nature's first green is gold...her hardest hue to hold..." I won't keep going. :)

Wasn't that Diane Lane who played Cherry Valence?

Yep. that was her.

Great post, Michele. I felt the same way when my six-year old daughter was amazed that I actually knew the lyrics to Aaron Carter's hit single, "I Want Candy."

I don't mind note-for-note covers so much if they mean I can sing along with my kids.

S.E. Hinton played a nurse in the "Outsiders" movie.

I was a huge Hinton fan - jeez, I even liked the warmed-over TV series on Fox in like '91 (and I was in college at the time). Shut up.

My favorite Hinton books were "Tex" and "That Was Then..." but "That Was Then..." was my least favorite of the movies. The best movie, hands down, was "Rumble Fish." I love "My Bodygaurd," too - and has anyone seen "Over The Edge" with Matt Dillon?

Five or six years ago I was standing in the checkout line at the grocery store behind a teenage girl. There was some mag with Travolta's mug on it, and she said to the cashier, or no one in particular. "John Travolta! He is such a babe."

I could not resist. "He was a babe when you were a babe," I told her.

"Yeah, he was in, like, Saturday Night Fever."

"And before that he was in Welcome Back, Kotter, when I was your age."

"That was the name of the show!" put in the cashier, who looked to be a couple years younger than I.

"Huh! I never heard of that," said the teenager, and bounced off with her purchases.

So there, it could be worse.

grin They grow up so fast, don't they? And we get old so fast... ;]

Great essay! My retro crush was and always will be Barbara (Agent 99) Felden.

and she means it.

You didn't think it would happen...or dear none of us did...but you are one inch away from the awful truth...

you are a dork.

Oh Michele, it wasn't supposed to be this way. Noooo....we are young, we are cool, we are...what is that, a wrinkle? Bah.

And we can push it away with that...that works, until, until our daughters look at us and roll their eyes at us. And we have that confused, "what the hell"? look, and we wonder...what does it mean? What does she mean?

And then the truth hits us like a basketball sized rock.

I'm told they relent at around age 27, for about 6 years, and then they suspect Alzheimers.

My advice: wait until they call you about how their child, your sweet innocent grandchild, is making them crazy,

and laugh, oh laugh, low and sweet. Heeeeh, heeeh hee. Say "yes" after that.

It's all we get. Until they read the will.

Oh hell I'm laughing again.


Had to get in on this one, because of THE BOY...

I had totally forgotten about "The Outsiders" - I mean the movie version,(...saw it once...none of the future super-stars impressed me at that time...), until THE BOY brought it home as part of his school-work...

THE BOY, as opposed to his older sisters, does not read, but he read this book.

Reading "The Outsiders" one evening, THE BOY asked me, "What are SOCKS?"

I asked him to please spell the word he was looking at...

After we got that all straightened out, he requested that we rent the movie...he was not impressed...

But he read more books.

"Holes" was another book he read, (watched the movie twice).

And there have been others; the latest being "Of Mice and Men". He talked about it constantly as he was reading it, got into a quasi-religious argument with his mother and sister about whether George was right to kill Larry, and actually stayed awake to watch both movie versions that we ultimately rented, (we preferred Gary Sinise as George).


For years, he has led the ladies of this house to believe that he was incapable of anything more than sleeping on the couch, wiping catsup off his chin with his sleeve, and chewing, (with great relish), with his mouth open.

I, on the other hand, had proclaimed all these years that he was the smartest among us...but had no proof,(as Bill Cosby said, it takes more thought and work to get out of working).

I have been vindicated!

I have to go now. Saw this topic and thought I'd chime in...

I stumbled upon the blog thing, still don't have a clue what a blog is, but, of course that didn't stop me from barging in on into the whole blog scene...I hope you're not a heterosexual cult or something, I don't know what I'd tell my Mom...

Merry Christmas, and try to remember how nice everyone in America was to each other the day AFTER 9-11...

That was filmed in Tulsa, Oklahoma if I am not mistaken. Old....Gee?

I am In Grade 8 And I Am Also Doin a Report On The Book "The Outsiders" I really need to Know The meanin of the satatement "STAY GOLD"

Stay Gold, is hard to summarize in one sitting.... TO Urbanize it... it's up there with "Keep it real" Some people say it means to Stay young, stay naive, impressionable.... Enjoy your youth.... But I feel like it is geared more toward staying genuine... be yourself.... Stay Gold.