Newest - Highway to Hell - DREEEEEEW!

Sweeping the Nation

Rich Cerow

Pretty soon, I'm gonna be just about the biggest thing out there. After all, over the course of the past year or so, I've been steadily improving my life to the point of almost being a living legend: I've gotten myself a distinctive and memorable nickname, become the Grand Champion of East Lansing, Michigan, by defeating Jean-Claude Van Damme in a bare-knuckle brawl, came this close to realizing my dreams of making the Olympics as a javelineer, only to have those dreams dashed when Pa got sick and I had to head back to Iowa to take care of the family farm, and most recently had a package dropped off by UPS containing my very own prototype Buddy Lembeck-a-tron 6000, personal sidekick automaton (some assembly required). But really, before I am invited into the homes, and the hearts, of the American people, I need one last thing to push me right over the edge, to make me so charming and endearing that even if I came over and broke your fine China, all it would take is puppy dog eyes and a few magical words to melt your heart and make all forgiven. I'm talking, of course, about my very own catchprase.
The glasses make the catchphrase, because without them he's a totally different person. Ste-PHON.

It's always been a dream of mine to be repeated at totally inappropriate times by second graders and that horrible guy in your office who you think hasn't had a date in about eleven years, to the point where you'd like to bludgeon them with a ball-peen hammer (or a cross-peen hammer, your choice). Just think of the great pantheon of catchphrase-givers, giants all: Urkel ("Got any cheese?" and "Did I do that?," a giant amongst giants), Balki Bartokamus ("Don't be ridiculous..."), Rose on the Golden Girls ("Back in St. Olaf..."). These are our most beloved and enduring superstars, people who have entered the pantheon of American culture, the current century's version of an Oliver Twist or Pippi Longstocking (but with much better names and less pigtails). And I want to enter that pantheon, and be the Zeus, or at the very least Hercules. The problem, of course, is coming up with an excellent catchphrase that will slowly be introduced into everyday conversation, until eventually every conversation on a schoolyard consists of utterances of that catchphrase and the less popular "obvious set-ups for utterances of my catchphrase." The kids who get stuck with that job are bound to be sidekicks for life, and possibly bedwetters. You should start spreadsing that around the cafeteria, when you get the chance. Humiliating other kids by revealing their deepest, darkest secrets will make you popular.

Now, the nice thing about coming up with a catchphrase is that, essentially, it doesn't have to mean anything, since I'm going to be applying to nearly any and all situations. This is particularly true if I happen to have just stepped through a doorway for the first time that episode (my life's divided into convenient half-hour packages), and the secondary characters are in the middle of an embarassing situation. Then I walk in on it and blurt out "Pork-fried tater tots!" but everything is explained and I realize it was all a big misunderstanding. "Pork-fried tater tots!" is a little too self-consciously wacky for me, though, I think I want to go with something a little more naturally convesational that I'll sell with my peculiar inflection. Something along the lines of "Look what yoooou just stepped in!" I guess most people might interpret that as meaning something bad just happened, but I like to think you can step into a good situation. Like you can step into a pile of gold and rubies, or you can step in a pile of leprechaun excrement. See, it's versatile like that, which is key to a good catchphrase. Plus, it can allow me ample opportunity to refer to myself in the second- and third-person, like if I accidentally walk into a room and a hot babe is just getting out of the shower, I can throw out, "Ricky, you old dog, look what yoooou just stepped in!" That'd be bound to get a laugh.
Nerds love catchphrases except Ogre's: "Neeeeeeeeeeeeeerds!!"

Although, I don't know if that phrase is lascivious enough for all my teenage sex shenanigans, so I may need a raunchy one in reserve, for when I go on a panty raid or drill a peephole into the girls' locker room with my friend Stinkfish (you don't wanna know how he got that nickname) and then charge all the geeks, dweebs, and poindexters a fiver to get their first glimpse of a naked woman up close. Of course, things will go disastrously when Hilda, the fattest girl in school walks in and drops her towel. Yowza! Those geeks got more than an eyeful with that one. I should try to turn that around and charge them extra. Anyway, I was thinking of something along the lines of "Now that is all riiiight" for when crazy teased blonde hair baberinos emerge from swimming pools in their string bikinis. Or maybe a "Mama Tamale!" when I finally get invited to go skinny dipping with the girls from bunk 8 on the last day of camp, and I can't wait cause Jenny Pfefferstein is totally in heat and just can't wait to French. Of course, I'll say this and nobody else will seem to be able to hear it but me and you, my loyal viewing audience. Otherwise I'd look like a total spaz and none of the chicks would want to finally deflower me before we head back for senior year. Oh well, I can just lie and say I had a girlfriend at camp. In Niagara Falls. Who's gonna know?

If you have any suggestions for catchphrases, let me know on the message board or via e-mail. I really do want to become a beloved character. Oh, and if anybody knows Jenny Pfefferstein, tell her to give me a ring. I'll never forget that magical night under the stars we had, totally Frenching in Lake Tauntauntum after the talent show. Her hair glistened under the moon as REO Speedwagon's "Can't Fight This Feeling" blared from the boombox we'd left on the shore. If any other ladies are enticed by my absolute studliness in this story, feel free to give me a ring as well.

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