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Rick's List — Call Me Rob Edition

Somehow, despite hundreds — thousands? — of viewing options, my wife Eileen and I found ourselves watching a film called "Top Gun" the other night. Neither of us ever seen "Top Gun" before, at least all the way through. How can this be? Some thoughts:

1. For some reason, I confused "Top Gun" with "Footloose," and I didn't want to see a movie about Tom Cruise convincing an entire religious town that it's fun to dance and the devil won't mind if you do. I already tried that myself when I was at Baylor where, yes, at the time, youngsters couldn't dance on campus.

2. Nobody made a movie about me.

3. I think this is because, as a reasonably open-minded professor kindly told me my freshman year when I was arrested for dancing in front of the student union, "Maybe if you looked like Tom Cruise or Kevin Bacon, instead of something that crawled out of a pit in a Lovecraft story, it would work better for you. Also, maybe learn how to dance. You appear to be undergoing electrocution."

I ignored the barb about my choreography and said, "Who are Tom Cruise and Kevin Bacon?" and he had no answer — but all these years later it makes sense.

4. Tom Cruise, of course, stars in "Top Gun" and Kevin Bacon — who once referred to me multiple times in a phone interview as "Rob," clearly trying to show what a regular guy he was by using my name but ruining the effort by getting it wrong (and I'm not making this up) — is the hero in "Footloose." They ARE sorta similar, at least seemed so to me when they were younger.

5. I think most of my confusion about the two films, though, is centered around the fact that Jim Messina had HUGE songs in both the soundtrack for "Footloose" AND "Top Gun."

6. Or was it Kenny Loggins? They are sorta similar, or so it seemed when they were younger. WAIT! I just looked it up: It's Loggins. His "Highway to the Danger Zone" was the big tune in "Top Gun" and "Footloose" was the smash from, ah, "Footloose."

7. But the thing Eileen and I took most from "Top Gun," which is about a rookie crew of top-notch fighter pilots studying at the elite Fighter Weapons School, is that none of the young fellow were remotely ugly and ALL of them had odd names. Joker. Maverick (that's Cruise). Iceman. Slider. Wolfman. Viper. Goose. Not one Joe or Gary or Gene or Steve among them.

8. Someone should do a study about the connection with young people whose parents have given them strange names and their incredibly high odds of becoming Navy fighter pilots. That was the damnedest thing I've ever seen. Nobody in The Day newsroom is named Raptor, Driller, Marauder, Black Widow. My brother-n-law is in the insurance biz. None of his co-workers are Ace, Spear, Hawk, or Warrior. I'm just pointing out two examples.

9. Spoiler: the guy named Goose in "Top Gun" dies early. How did a Goose get in there, anyway?

10. I've never told anyone this but I always wanted to be a fighter pilot. But the odds were stacked against me. My parents named me Rob.


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