The Guilty Pleasures of an Ordinary Joe
C’mon, admit it, you have some guilty pleasures.
Some of you may like trashy romance novels and tabloid magazines while others may enjoy Ed Wood movies or Spinal Tap and Slim Whitman music or Barbie dolls and teddy bears.
There are plenty of things that I am embarrassed to admit I enjoy.
Here are five of my guiltiest guilty pleasures:
1. The Jerry Springer Show. Named the worst show in the history of television by TV Guide, Jerry Springer features some of the most dim-witted, tattoo-marked, trashiest of the trailer park trash who engage in incredible pier six brawls after admitting they have impregnated their first cousins or had affairs with their transsexual best friends or slept with their cross-dressing uncles who are also pimps. It would be appalling if it was a serious talk show. However, Jerry Springer is made in such a manner that it simply cannot be taken seriously. Very few people in their right mind would honestly want to reveal their weirdest sexual perversions and make total fools of themselves in front of a howling studio audience and millions of daytime viewers. In short, Jerry Springer is the TV version of a tank town carnival freak show that has to been seen to be disbelieved, but provides lots of great lowest of lowest-brow humor.
2. The Three Stooges. During their long career, the Three Stooges did not have the heart-tugging pathos of Charlie Chaplin or the witty dialogue and sharp satire of the Marx Brothers. But rather, they perfected the art of stupid male humor. While most women liked the Stooges about as much as a yeast infection, red-blooded, normal men like myself soiently find ourselves yuk-yuk-yuking while watching three nitwits kick each other in the groin, poke each other in the eyes, or wallop each other with mallets. Arguably, the Stooges may have been the most influential comedians in the history of Hollywood, especially during the past three or four decades. Animal House, Caddyshack, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Dumb and Dumber, Beavis and Butthead, Jackass, Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, and countless other hit movies and television programs owe a great debt to the legacy of Moe, Larry, Curly as well as Shemp, Joe Besser, and “Curly Joe” De Rita.
3. Ice cream. Ice cream must have been invented by the Devil because is it totally sinful for your body, but it tastes sooooo good. I can eat a half-gallon of ice cream with no problem and definitely ask for seconds. Except for spumoni, I love all flavors of ice cream and do not care if it was made by Haagen-Daaz or El Cheapo Dairy. To paraphrase the great New York Yankees’ manager Joe Torre‘s quote about pizza, ice cream is like sex—when it is good, it is great and when it is bad, it is almost great.
4. Goodwill and St. Vincent de Paul thrift stores. True, some of the things you find in thrift stores are pretty cheesy and threadbare. And true, some people like my parents would never step inside them because they can be filthier than a porno shop. However, these stores offer some fantastic bargains. The large Goodwills are a bookaholic’s paradise because they have rare and unusual books that are cheaper than fries at McDonald‘s. Also, I love the baseball and professional football cap collection at St. Vincent de Paul because they are a fraction of a cost of those found in a sporting goods store. If you do not mind seediness, you and your wallet will adore Goodwill and St. Vincent de Paul.
5. 1950’s big bug movies. In the 1950’s came a whole crop of drive-in monster movies about insects growing to gigantic size after being exposed to radiation and start terrorizing the human race. Most of these films are now indescribably hilarious. For example, in Beginning of the End (1957), giant grasshoppers chew their way through the Illinois wheat fields that eerily looks like southern California (there are no desert-like mountains in Illinois and besides, Illinois is famous for corn and soybeans, not wheat) before hopping up Michigan Avenue and climbing the Wrigley Building in Chicago. Also, while I was watching the big tarantula being napalmed by the Air Force in the conclusion of Tarantula (1955), I simply could not help screaming out the line said by Robert Duvall in Apocalypse Now, “I love the smell of napalm in the morning!” Even though these movies are not in the least bit scary, they have a low budget charm and are the essence of great camp. Also, watch many stars like James Whitmore, Peter Graves, and Clint Eastwood getting their start in acting while keeping a straight face when they encounter ridiculously looking Texas-sized insects.
Joe’s Maybe Memorable Quote of the Day
“Guilt is your mind’s way of saying you sinned.”