Watching Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, all I see is Pee-wee Herman in Cheech & Chong’s Up in Smoke. I’ve owned the DVD for years, a classic stoner gem. Paul Reubens (who henceforth will be referred to as “Pee-wee”) as a coke-head in a Chinese restaurant with Cheech & Chong and they go under the table and come up with coke on their noses; Pee-wee pushing his nose, going “Ehrrr, ehrr” prior to going under the table, putting the closed vial in his nose. Cheech later says, “I always get crazy when I do coke.” This is not an exact quote. Later Chong made a movie without Cheech (When Cheech Marin went all Nash Bridges, though I support him trying to play a role other than a pothead), and Chong said coke messed up his friends, as in you never meet a druggy that’s all like there was coke and it was awesome, but instead says there was coke and it’s evil and they did it and got all sketched out, where in comparison, an opiate addict will claim that the drug is evil, but will speak fondly of it.
I’m watching Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. I’m a 35-year-old buzzed and stoned man. On my birthday when I was a kid, I went to the theatre and watched the sequel, Big Top Pee-Wee. It was good. It was a sunny day and we went to the South Bay Galleria in Torrance. Looking back, comparing it with say a birthday at Medieval Times, it seems lacking, but has a golden California sun memory to it.
Seems in the 80s, I saw a Pee-wee Herman’s Playhouse Special on HBO and there were boobs. And then there was the Saturday morning show, but it confuses me because I always found Pee-wee weirdly sexual. If you’re in Pee-wee world, you’re stoned and you’re fucking. That’s adult perspective to me now. But there was something subversive, but in a way kid’s love the subversive. As a child I didn’t not think of it, sex, but it was just innate and watching Pee-wee… I don’t know how to finish this.
Pee-wee is flying off a cliff in a convertible at night with an escaped con, maybe serial killer, and the car is floating for a long time, the convertible ‘top’ acting as a parachute, before they land safely. The escaped con tells Pee-wee, “You don’t want to get mixed up with a guy like me. I’m a loner. I’m a rebel.” Now Pee-wee will get picked up by Large Marge, the Ghost Trucker.
I guess Millenials might not know this, but “Be sure to tell them Large Marge sent, ya.”
I’m about to eat a steak. I took my dog, Franklyn, for a walk, and stopped by my buddy’s apartment and had a ‘dab’ of hash. I worked hard and I’m getting high. I’m talking about Friday, and you know this.
Watching Cheech & Chong’s Up in Smoke reminds me of LA elementary school field trips to museums, Olvera St., or city hall, ice plant embankments below freeways, like when they drove over the freeway overpass to play at The Roxy, and Cheech says something like, “We don’t need to know how to play, man, because it’s punk rock. We just got to be punks.” Some 90’s punk band that started a riot sampled it on a record. I know this, Jesus…. 
I was born in 1978 when Up in Smoke came out. I take vitamins like Chong. I watched the movie Cheech & Chong’s Corsican Brothers a lot as a kid on cable, staring Cheech & Chong as non-pot smoking want-to-be gigolos, kind of, just like Cheech & Chong, but without the weed, but the same. Don’t pigeon hole these guys. And my elementary school friend had a cassette tape of Cheech & Chong with Blind Melon Chitlin’-bit, fart-lighting joke (that killed us), and the Dave’s-not-here bit.
“Hey man, what’s up, man. It’s me, Dave. Open up.”
“Dave’s not here, man.”
“No, it’s Dave, let me in. I got the stuff.”
“No, man. Dave’s not here.”
“No, man. It’s me, Dave. Let me in. There’s cops out here. I got the stuff.”
“Dave not here, man.”
I would always drive by the big dinosaurs by the side of the freeway in the desert that are in Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure on the way from the South Bay of LA to my grandparents in Palm Springs, really Indian Wells.
Oh, the air conditioning and pools.
I wish I was bourgie, again.
My fiancé just said “Dotty”, the actress playing her in Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, Elizabeth Daily, was recently on The Voice and made it, but got voted off. We’re eating now. The steak is delicious. The actress was also in Valley Girl and Better Off Dead, or just sang the “Better Off Dead” song in the movie of the same name. Now Pee-wee is dressed like a cowboy.
My fiancé said, after I initiated the conversation regarding, “Pee-wee is very sexual, but in a very asexual or non-sexual way.”
Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure ends with him at a drive-in theatre watching the movie Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure starring an 80’s night-time soap opera looking ‘hunk’ as Pee-wee and Morgan Fairchild as “Dotty”.
Pee-wee’s postmodern as fuck.
Pee-wee, the character in the movie, has a role in the postmodern fake movie in the movie. He plays a hotel clerk with badly dubbed lines. The escaped convict’s name is Mickey. He tells Pee-wee, “He’s fantastic.” He’s leaning out of a prison bus window. I don’t think Mickey was a serial killer, just an escaped con.
I’m done with my steak. It was a New York, but thick, almost Filet Mignon like
Pee-wee’s bike has an ejection seat. (He’s trying to find his bike that was stolen most of the movie, but while it is the plot, it is, over all, unimportant, a ‘vehicle’ if you will, something not to be cognizant of, like an existentialist rumination of the journey a person takes: the delusions of self, blaring in their face. Looking back, they see their emotions and decisions so heated at moments. The self divested, only glad to arrive, moving forward, still searching for the prized bike, or riding the found prized bike. The afternoon passing like a movie, or even life.)
Dotty asks Pee-wee, “Don’t you want to see the end of the movie?”
And he says, “I don’t have to see the movie, Dottie. I lived it.”
- Pee-wee’s role in Cheech & Chong’s Nice Dreams is actually what I meant, but changing this will, in essence, render the following content, all non-Pee-wee related commentary based on Cheech & Chong’s Up in Smoke in non-sequence, when their meaning, to me, is like a comforting childhood blanket, the crux and venerable ‘rudder’ of my altered, but if not more so than less, sublime thoughts regarding.
- All quotes and summations are based on memories, the capsulation of the energy of the movie, are not checked, and has been stored in my mind for many years, distilled, re-processed, like fuckin’ Picasso, man
- I remember so vividly my mom’s love for me, her warm smile, her sweet words; she may have been wearing jeans and a red shirt, but that could just be me. It must have been during the day, in the smaller theatre away from the mall. Then I had friends over for cake that night.
- Morgan Fairchild.
- The Pee-wee Herman character was a collaboration with Paul Reubens long-term friend, colleague and comedic genius, Phil Hartman (“Who you might know as the voice of Troy McClure.”; amongst other things.) who has a cameo at the end as a reporter, and co-wrote the screenplay.
- Pee-wee plays a hotel clerk in Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie (1980), and an angry comedian, at a comedy club. I watched it the following night, and have before, like a hashassin ready to run off a cliff if someone told me to. Cheech & Chong’s Up in Smoke and Cheech & Chong’s Nice Dreams (1981), are more memorable because they have more of a plot, like the prior driving a van made of weed from Tijuana to LA and playing in a punk show (and they meet in the beginning, of course). And in Cheech & Chong’s Nice Dreams they’re selling weed from an ice cream truck and the weed turns Stacy Keach into a lizard, and the dude, that’s “real tripped out”, that’s growing the weed in the empty swimming pool with the tarp, just repeating, “Buds. No buds. Big buds.” But with Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie, it is more skits, loosely tied together, and has a whole section where Cheech plays his ‘country cousin’ Red. But it’s good. And there’s aliens, and then it just ends. I slept well.
Check out Brian’s latest Thought Catalog Book here.
Let me start this by saying, dear 2 – 5 year olds, this is your time. These, your precious preschool years, will be the best of your life — it’s all downhill from here. Don’t waste them. I tell you this as a man full of regrets. This isn’t some nifty internet wisdom to be read in five minutes and scrolled past. No! This is fucking inter-generational zen. Use it lest you end up, like me, bitter and old and living vicariously through internet advice columns to strangers 20 years younger than you, waste these few and precious years! The time is now! Carpe Diem, children!
Now is your chance to make the choices and mistakes that I wish I had made will define your future! Your precious future! Live freely and furiously while you can, darlings, because after this the picture is bleak. Unhappiness and homework and complicated relationships with booze, if not former lovers await you. So listen up and do as I say, because I said so.
1. Just because you can eat your boogers, doesn’t mean you should eat your boogers
This applies to other edible things as well. Grass and bugs and hell, even your friends boogers. Some things are not meant to be eaten, no matter how appealing they look. Why waste your precious time and taste buds learning this simple fact of life first-hand when you can read it on the internet? See? I just saved you five minutes and a bunch of gagging noises. You’re welcome.
2. Stop crying
I know the temptation is there. Something is wrong and you don’t know how to tell the people that need to know, so you scream. That’s understandable. But it’s also annoying. So stop. Do yourself (and your parents) a favor, rent some Baby Einstein videos, and learn your fucking words. If you want people to take you seriously in this world, stop crying. I don’t care if you’re two, and the people interviewing you for a progressive social media internship in five years won’t, either.
3. Diapers are for babies
And you’re not a baby! At least you should be after reading this article. By pooping in your pants and not on the toilet, you’re making a fool of yourself. And, more importantly, you’re wasting time. These preschool years are few and fleeting, why would you want to waste them sitting on the changing table smiling like an idiot? Come on!
4. Your art mostly sucks
It’s become popular these days for adults to tell your that whatever noodles you glued together on some construction paper is a piece of art. And that it’s good art. And that’s a lie. If you’re drawing a house and I think it’s a cat, that’s a problem. Now’s the time to get your shit together start expressing yourself well. This stage in life is fleeting — blink and you’ll miss it! So you’d better get a head start on criticizing yourself and feeling perpetually insufficient because this is it, guys.
Hulking diesel tourist busses are drawn up in front of the towering maroon gate. Though it’s still imposing, it’s worn and shabby now. Still, they come from all across China to Beijing to see it. They mill around on the dusty ground, chewing melon seeds, staring up shyly, a little stunned as guides and vendors shout at them
A century earlier, not that long ago in the grand scheme of things, the ground before the Tian An Men Gate was quiet. Just as they had for five hundred years, guards and officials monitored all who walked here. From these very walls, the Emperor’s commands were lowered in a gilded box with a phoenix lid, and there after three prostrations, they were read aloud by a eunuch from the office of ceremonial. Couriers on horseback whipped their mounts and carried copies throughout China. Thus the Emperor’s word became the law of the land. Imagine.
Now hordes of tourists line up, gawk, jostle, surreptitiously spit as they give their tickets and find themselves as they enter the gate and find themselves in the immense shadowy tunnel. The density and depth of the walls seems to press in on them. As they enter the Forbidden City, they blink, dazzled by light.
The vast spaces of the outer courts with its marble paving and ranks of white marble balustrades still cause awe, but the pavement is now cracked and the walls streaked and dirty. Weeds grow here and there, even in between the faded gold roof tiles. You won’t hear the gongs ring the hour, the changing of the guards on the walls above, the rustling of thousands of felt-soled feet rushing to do the Emperor’s business. But here and there in a smaller walled path, you hear a whisper of… something. Mobs of tourists, looking to see the excesses of those who ruled their forbears, find something else. They veer between outrage at the extravagance of the place and pride that it was their ancestors who built it. They sense that it is not the ghosts of the rulers who haunt this place; they hear the echoed whisper of servants bustling endlessly to serve the Son of Heaven.
It is then, even as one walks amid the crowds, not so difficult to imagine when it all began here. Then in the nineteenth year of the Yong Le Emperor’s reign, following the New Year’s Sacrifice at the Temple of Heaven, the New Year’s Audience was held for the first time in the vast marble Feng Tian courtyard of the Forbidden City.
Shenwumen Gate (神武门) of Forbidden City, Beijing
image – kallgan
The bright sun blazed in a cloudless, cold blue sky as plumes of white incense rose up into the air. Red and yellow silk pennants, embroidered in gold with auspicious emblems, fluttered from the gilded rooftops. Indeed, that morning, the Forbidden City looked not like an earthly place but a celestial palace. Scarlet pillars shone like rubies, white marble balustrades glistened like pearl and golden roof tiles glowed as if they were made of sunlight. It was the dawn of a new time. Palace guards in new uniforms stood along the walls and at every gate, maintained its inviolability.
On the portico of the Great Hall, the focus of all, the Emperor sat solemn and erect on the gold Dragon Throne facing south. He did not move, His assurance, his dignity was not quite human, and he wore his gold brocade robe adorned with the seven symbols of a Son of Heaven. To his right and left sat those to be honored and before him, filling the vast courtyard, sat row upon row of his civil and military officials. With titles, gifts and promotions, the Emperor honored all the many officials who had been responsible for completing the new capital.
Nine ranks of high officials in new brocade robes and endless rows of military officers in bronze and golden armor cried out their wish for the Emperor’s longevity and that the dynasty flourish for ten thousand years. Thousands of envoys from myriad nations, all dressed in their most brilliant native clothing offered their congratulations.
The air was scented with incense and resounded with ancient songs performed on stone chimes, gongs, reeds and horns by members of the Office of Ritual Music. Dancers emerged slowly and stepped onto a vast carpet strewn with flower petals before the throne. Delicately they began their solemn dances whirling their long silk sleeves.
Thousands of servants emerged, bearing bowls and salvers of gold, silver, cinnabar, jade and pearl. The delicacies in each dish had been prepared meticulously by Palace Chefs to stimulate the clarity and brightness of the guests’ tastes. The smell of food, succulent, rich, spicy, warm joined with the rhythmic patterns of the court music and filled the air.
The servants made offerings first to the Emperor, then to his honored guests, and then to officials in order of rank. High Palace officials received 11 courses, while those of the second and third ranks received 8 dishes a box of deep fried sweets and five pitchers of wine. Fourth Rank Officials were served five dishes, a box of fruit and 2 pitchers of wine; fifth rank officials received 3 dishes and one pitcher of wine. The guests were offered food from all across the Empire and they were sustained by it.
Placing the Emperor’s food in their mouths, the guests experienced directly the wealth and splendor of the vast domain that Heaven conferred on the Son of Heaven. Among the dishes they tasted that day were those from the rivers and seas: shell fish and celery, hot and sour cuttlefish soup, shark’s fin soup, shrimp and vegetables, razor clams with fermented beans, steamed sea bass with leeks, jewel sea weed, carp in wine vinegar sauce, deep fried river fish in Beijing style. From the mountains and plains came sautéed red deer, rare black mushrooms, swallows’ nest clear soup, pheasant and cloud-ear casserole, steamed fried pork, pork and lotus leaves, pork kidney with bean curd skin, chestnuts and cabbage, day-lilies and pork, jellied fish and chicken, chicken with bean curd, chicken with five spices, chicken fried with egg whites, pork with sea weed and green onions, fried eggplant, steamed cabbage and ham, oil cooked long beans, sweet and sour cucumbers, clear chicken soup with jasmine. Some dishes were in the court style such as brocade-like arrays of chicken, pork, smoked fish, sea cucumbers, bamboo shoots. Others like deep fried meatballs were dishes of peasant origin.
As the feasting began, when the food had been served and the wine poured, the Emperor offered made nine toasts and the guests prostrated in return. At appropriate intervals, other toasts were offered, and auspicious verses sung to the accompaniment of ancient dances.
At the fest’s conclusion, the Yong Le Emperor issued the following proclamation that was read aloud by a eunuch from the Bureau of Ceremonies:
“In ancient times, when the kings of the Shang Dynasty wished to seek Heaven’s favor, they would ask their ancestors to intercede on their behalf. The Kings of those times communed with the ancestral spirits by offering sacrifices and feasts. By sacrifice, the ancestors were invited and by feasts they were entertained. They called their feasts ‘entertaining the ancestors’. The ancestors were drawn into the present by the intensity of flavors. Thus the ancestors were pleased. They remained amongst the living as sustenance. They stayed amongst the living and blessed them.
“When times became degenerate and corrupt, entertainment became any pleasure involving the senses. The result was jaded instability. Entertainment was divorced from its ancient intent; the spirits of the ancestors were neglected and did not appear. They did not remain among the living. The present and the past separated, and without such blessings, social order collapsed.
“Following my father, the Founding Emperor’s practice, when we offer sacrifices and give great banquets on state occasions, all will be carefully prepared. The splendor of our offerings will draw the ancestors near to us. Delicious wine and food will satisfy them. The enjoyment of all who attend will give them delight. Thus will the ancestors remain amongst us and bless us with their presence. By observing the ceremony of feasting in this way, as is said in the Book of Rites, ‘All the degrees of high and low are brought into harmony and affection.’”
At the conclusion of this proclamation, a muscular eunuch cracked a bullwhip and the guests cried out with one voice: “May this reign last one thousand years.” and prostrated to the Emperor. As the Emperor withdrew into the inner palace, giant red silk scrolls embroidered in gold with the characters for longevity and prosperity were unfurled from the roofs. Trumpets blared, chimes and gongs were struck in a tumult that shook the sky. The guests left in order of precedence. (F.W.Mote Food in Chinese Culture)
Next day, the Emperor’s proclamation was copied, lowered from the maroon tower of the outer gate in the gilded phoenix basket and distributed to the populace at large. Thus, even as accounts of the great splendor of the New Year’s feast filled the correspondence of foreign emissaries on that day, the spirit of the feast pervaded the Empire, and Beijing was woven into the fabric of history. The new capital became the center of the world.
No guest on that bright day could have imagined that such feasts, drawing ancestors into the world of food and drink, binding them in the sensuous world of the living, joining an Empire together, and uniting Heaven and Earth would end. Such feasts would become an echo and an unimaginable a dream.
No one, except perhaps an Emperor, could have endured imagining a time when puzzled, ticket buying, gum chewing crowds would shuffle distractedly on the central axis of the Emperor’s court, China’s Great Within.
This pathway was originally reserved for the Emperor alone; it was designed as the central channel in the heart of the Empire. The Emperor moved on this pathway, brought Heaven and Earth into harmony. In his name all that was delicious and sustaining was gathered, tasted and distributed to animate the world.
Now you can walk there yourself, and perhaps you just might feel a slight electric pulse deep within your nervous system.
1. You get irrationally angry at any sort of PDA. Even innocent hand-holding sends you into a fit of rage.
2. Going on Facebook for longer than 90 seconds hurts your soul because you inevitably will run into couple-loving TMI, which makes you nauseated.
3. Additionally, 90% of the people you’ve “hidden” from your Facebook News Feed are couples newly engaged and/or newly married.
4. When someone you think is attractive tells you you’re attractive, you send a friend a variation of the following text: “X person just called me hott. Repeat: X person just called me hott. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. WHAT SHOULD I DO?”
5. Nobody texts you past 10 p.m. Like not even the booty call you usually turn down. No one. Zero. Nada.
6. Your parents, friends, colleagues, and classmates have stopped asking about your love life altogether. They all know the answer.
7. Every wedding invitation starts to feel like someone is making fun of you.
8. In fact, any invitation to anything that may require you to be in an attendance with a plus one brings a special kind of mental anguish that can only be solved with pre-gaming before said event. (And if said event does not have an open-bar, you are NOT going. Or at least bringing a flask.)
9. Also, you’ve forgotten what it feels like to be hit on. “Why are you staring at me? Have I got something on my face? I need to go home and never leave my bed and Netflix ever again.”
10. You’ve developed a special relationship with a specific kind of alcoholic beverage. It may or may not be at Trader Joe’s.
11. But also, Tequila is holding a special place in your heart these days. To you, it isn’t just liquor, it’s a way of life.
12. You’re either working out too much or have entirely given up on the gym. THESE ABS ARE FOR ME AND ME ALONE BABY! (Or this chub is for me and me alone baby!)
13. You passionately and regularly karaoke to “You Can’t Hurry Love” or “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” in the shower.
14. You go through extremities of being overdressed in the hope of finding someone at a dive bar; and looking like a creature that crawled out of the compost post of someone’s winter garden because well, no one to impress anyway.
15. Watching Rom-Coms feels like a form of cruel punishment. LIARS. LOVE DOES NOT HAPPEN TO EVERYONE OKAY? Can I get a movie about a single girl who dies in her apartment and gets eaten by rats?
16. Speaking of, you know that if anything were ever to happen to you, you would probably get eaten by rats before anyone find out. Or your mother would be the first to know.
17. You look forward to Internet quizzes about which hot celebrity you’re supposed to be with.
18. Rolling your eyes at any love song on the radio has become a reflex action.
19. You’ve started looking forward to the cat-calls from the homeless guys in your neighborhood. Attention is attention is attention.
20. A perfectly clean apartment has become a pipe dream. Whatever. No one apart from your non-judgmental friends will ever see it anyway.
21. People talk about going through “dry spells.” Your whole life feels like a dry spell.
22. Dating sites and apps that you swore you’d run over hot coals twice before using, are actually starting to sound appealing.
23. At this point, your standards have been reduced to, “Anyone with a pulse.”
24. Being called single doesn’t do you justice. “SAF” does. If you could fill out forms with “SAF,” you would. It’s perfect, it’s honest, and it is what it is. Now pass the tequila.
Man, if I had known the weird shit that would happen to my body I might have put more thought into my decision to purge for the first time. Probably not, but maybe. Unfortunately, the public mainly associates eating disorders solely with thinness and eventual tragic death. A surplus of surprising symptoms exists outside those two things especially with bulimia where many sufferers remain in a healthy weight range. No matter what you eat, you’re still severely malnourished leading to some frustrating and gross side effects (besides the obvious).
1. Your teeth take a fucking beating. Seriously, cavities on the back of your front teeth. What the?! And this is with constant brushing and obsessive oral hygiene rituals.
2. Your hair will fall out. Not completely, at least mine hasn’t. But it gets uncomfortably thin.
3. Your hands will always smell like vomit no matter how many times you wash them. Although, St. Ives facial scrub puts up a good fight.
4. Ulcers. Everywhere. Your mouth is a war zone. You haven’t done college until you’ve drunkenly cried to your best friend that your molar is going to fall out because your gums are deteriorating. Fucking. DETERIORATING.
5. Your skin will get so dry. The amount of money you spend on lotion will double. True story.
6. If you drink anything carbonated you projectile vomit onto your shoe or an equally inconvenient place no matter how cautious you are next time your purge.
7. Your lips and mouth get ridiculously chapped.
8. Even when you don’t purge, you feel nauseous and bloated because your metabolism is so slow and your body isn’t used to digesting food. As in holy shit, I think I am suddenly six months pregnant, no one touch me for two days until this crap is out of my system.
9. Sex becomes really uncomfortable for a variety of reasons. In fact, you might even faint afterwards from exertion. Boy, then you’re not the only one who is uncomfortable. But still such great exercise, so you’ll most likely do it anyway.
10. Cuts and bruises never heel due to malnourishment. I have had the same bruise on my ass from sitting on a wooden chair for the past month.
11. You retain water like no other.
12. You can’t control your body temperature especially in your hands and feet. 90% of the time I’m freezing and the other 10% I’m sweating my ass off.
13. You tear the lining in your esophagus at some point. It will hurt and scare you and you will probably throw up blood. It will be a moment of clarity among a million moments of bullshit where you ask yourself why you’re doing this and how you arrived at this dire place.
14. You will have that terrifying Jimi Hendrix panic moment when you choke on your own vomit. Probably because you ate rice or something equally dangerous and it got stuck in your windpipe.
15. No matter how much weight you lose, you still hate how you look. Not to mention you’ll hate yourself for putting your beautiful body through such trauma.