The Man Who Thought Pump Up the Volume Was Awesome and Other Stories
by Jeff Lewis

Pump Up the Volume

We three Lewis boys and our father were waiting in line for The Hunt for Red October when we saw Mr. Proctor and his son Colin leaving the theater. The Proctors lived a street over from us and, because their oldest son Christopher was my age and Colin was the same age as my youngest brother, the two families had done a lot of activities together over the years, like Indian Guides, science camp and little league.

I always liked Mr. Proctor because his mind was awash with baseball trivia, but I hadn’t seen him in several years because of his divorce. Now, instead of the friendly middle-aged baseball fan that I remembered, we were greeted by a fellow in the grips of a midlife crisis, struggling to bond with his thirteen-year-old son. In the past, he regaled us with stories about Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski; now, he had an earring, a theatrical laugh and he gave my dad a shoulder punch in addition to a handshake.

He asked what we were going to see, so that he’d have an opportunity to tell us, “Yeah, Colin and I just went to see Pump Up the Volume. It was radical! Totally awesome!” Colin looked sheepish, maybe because he saw us wince at “radical” and “awesome” or perhaps he noticed the pity in our eyes. In the past, Mr. Proctor would have stayed and talked baseball for at least a quarter of an hour, but on this day, he was in a hurry to buy Colin a Nintendo.

Sadly, it was going to take a lot more than a Nintendo and a radical movie to make up for that embarrassing stud earring.

Boyz n the Hood

Oakland, California is a lovely city, but back in 1991, it had a reputation for gang violence, particularly in East Oakland, near the airport. During the winter break of our junior year in college, my friends Erik and Greg searched for a theater showing the movie, but since it wasn’t in wide release yet, we had to settle for a midnight viewing in East Oakland.

It proved to be a perfect venue. The audience was lively, laughing at lines that we didn’t realize were jokes, and the movie’s tension was heightened by a scene we observed in the parking lot before the show: a shadowy man dragging a ragged body into the bushes while movie-goers hurried into the theater.

Say Anything…

Until her brilliant turn as Mrs. Veal on Arrested Development (“You gotta lock that down”), I didn’t pay much attention to Ione Skye’s career. All I knew about her was that, after dating the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Anthony Kiedis, she moved up the funk ladder and married the Beastie Boys’ Adam Horowitz. Good thing she stopped there because George Clinton and James Brown are looking a little haggard.

Karate Kid II

I’ve wasted a lot of hours during my lifetime, but none were squandered more completely than the time spent watching Peter Cetera’s “The Glory of Love” video from the Karate Kid II Soundtrack. Because I have this song stuck in my head for the last few days and misery loves company, I’ll leave you with the lyrics, which I hope you sing in a yearning falsetto. If you don’t know the melody, please visit If you don’t do it for me, do it for the Glory of Love.

I am a man who would fight for your honor.
I’ll be the hero you’re dreaming of.
We’ll live forever, knowing together,
That we did it all for the Glory of Love.

Favorite High School Movies at the Time of Initial Viewing in or Around the Time of High School

1. Back to the Future
2. Fast Times at Ridgemont High
3. Karate Kid
4. Stand and Deliver
5. Boyz n the Hood
6. Juice
7. Hoosiers
8. Say Anything

My current list essentially is the same as my wife’s.

Copyright Jeff Lewis, 2005.