It was March 11th, 1986 and I was in the midst of my pre-adolescent Michael Jackson obsession which included but was not limited to a replica of that infamous glove, a 45″ record player with a picture of him on it that I carried everywhere and of course the cherished Thriller album. I grew up with three older siblings, all boys, so I had to grab every luxury I could as fast as I could or it would inevitably end up shredded. I would like to send a belated apology to every Barbie doll I had that my brothers told me were in a car wreck (in that Barbie car of course) and had to have her legs amputated or risk gangrene.
Our household, I’d say, was a typical Midwestern middle class home. We had the Atari (and still do, it works save for one paddle that is broken). We had the Commodore. We had cable television and HBO that we watched Fraggle Rock on. Every week my parents would buy an 8 pack of soda, back when they came in the glass bottles and each one of my siblings and I would get to drink two for the week. Our choice as to when. I’d save mine for Friday and Saturday nights when dad would pop popcorn and we’d sit down together to watch Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Dallas and Falcon Crest. But the coup de gras for me was the popsicles. God I loved popsicles, but not just any popsicle…..it had to be the twinsicle. I’m sure y’all remember those lovely gems, they were two popsicles in one, complete with double sticks. I think the main reason I loved them was because I felt like I was cheating the nutrition gods by getting a double treat. It was golden, a masterpiece of childhood sugar frenzy. But sadly, on this day in history, March 11th, 1968, Popsicle announced it’s plan to end the traditional twin-stick popsicle for a single one. Greedy buzzards, the lot of them! Gone were the days of indulgence and gluttony over this frozen delight. Sad, truly sad.
But never fear, my dear Popsicle lovers, because another great moment occurred on this day in history. It was March 11th, 1971 and a genius made his way into this world…..a genius by the name of Philip John Clapp. Who? Philip John Clapp! Aw, come on, he’s a jackass! Okay, I’ll give you a clue. His friends have done things such as getting their buttcheeks pierced together, stapled notes to their body, made snow cones out of actual snow, peed on them and then ate them……still stumped? Okay, FINE. He co-starred with The Rock in “Walking Tall”. Ding, ding ding, we have a winner! Yes, yes, yes my friends, rejoice for on this day in history the premiere jackass, Johnny Knoxville himself, was born to bless this world with his crazy hijinks.
Born to a Sunday school teacher mom and a tire selling father said to encourage his son’s practical jokes from early on, Johnny Knoxville was known then as “P.J.”. Raised in Knoxville, TN (get it?), one of his earliest pranks was to fake a report card to show all F’s when he actually had earned all A’s, and spread false rumors of his own venereal disease. Lasting less than a month at the Pasadena Academy of Dramatic Arts, he’d moved to Hollywood with dreams of being an actor. He soon began to write for skateboarding magazines like Blunt, Bikini, and Big Brother, where the staff enjoyed a pasttime of creating dangerously stupid stunts- such as Knoxville displaying his willingness to test the dependability of a bulletproof vest by shooting himself with a .38. The editor of this magazine soon convinced Knoxville to videotape these stunts, and released under the name of Big Brother Video Triology it soon became an underground cult hit. Word soon spread and soon Comedy Central and MTV were in an all out bidding war. MTV won out, and Jackass was born.
So, even with the popsicle split, I’m sure “P.J.” and his boys would find a creative way to remedy that travesty…..maybe I should give them a call!