"They even had a bear in the air"

There are many movies out there that I’ve always wanted to see, just for the sake of seeing them…and yet can’t bring myself to rent or pay for.

So, the other day, I came home a little buzzed, and little bored, and after flipping the guide of my favorites and finding nothing worth watching, I hit “On Demand.” On Demand’s “free movies” is kind of like going to the bargain basement bin at Wal-Mart — it’s mostly garbage, but every now and then you’ll find a pure gem.

For me, on that fateful Friday, it was “Convoy.” Yes, THE Convoy. From 1978. With that stupid catchy song that, if you’re in my age range, you’ll recognize immediately and have all kinds of flashbacks because of it.

This was a no-brainer. I clicked on that sucker and strapped in for the ride.

And I enjoyed it. A lot.

Not because of the flick, mind you. It was pretty laughable and entertaining in that regard. No, I enjoyed it more because of all the comparisons that were going on in my head, flashbacks to my childhood and how times have changed in 30 years.

For example, when I think back to that era, I remember truckers were kinda considered on par with bikers as rebels of the road. And after seeing “Smokey and the Bandit,” we were all going to drop out of school at 16, get us a Trans-Am or a rig and just drive around all day. And CBs and the CB lingo were simply THE shit.

CBs. It seems like such a funny concept now. Kids today simply wouldn’t get it. You’re broadcasting … everywhere? Why? And the lingo would make no sense to them. I mean. I rolled into work and told Jen, “There’s a bear in the air!” She had no concept of what I was talking about … though I think she’s so used to my nonsensical ramblings that I shouldn’t be surprised.

Of course, if kids today were truckers, they’d all be wrecking and dying because of their constant texting. And you couldn’t just say, “There’s a bear in the air.” I’m sure they’d text each other with “BiR”…R because is sounds kinda close to “air.” Yeah, I’m rapidly becoming convinced that the majority of people under 25 are completely retarded. Cell-phone obsessed monkeys.

When I thought about it more, the CB world almost like a precursor to the Internet, or at least chatrooms. Think about it. Everyone has anonymous handles and people rarely meet in real life. But they communicate all the time. And when the feds get involved in trying to stop the convoy, the bad guy tells them that the truckers won’t answer if you don’t use their handles, cause it’s “like they have their own language.” And kids today think that their gang culture is unique in that regard. Stupid monkeys…that shit’s been going on for thousands of years.

“Convoy” had all kinds of other fun notions too…like the race-togetherness theme blending in with the redneck trucker culture. The socialist theme of “The people must unite and challenge the authority of police and government.” Oh, I could go on and on…but really, there’s a lot going on that I didn’t know what to make heads or tails of because I was laughing too hard. I mean, when you get a scene where Ernest Borgnine wrecks a car he stole from some hippy kids, and another cop comes to his rescue and the first thing he says is, “I’m Brad Buckner … and I hate truckers,” how can you NOT laugh. It’s not “Are you OK?” or “Wow, you’re lucky you survived” — no no — it’s “I hate truckers.” It’s so amazingly disjointed that I don’t know what the hell Sam Peckinpah was thinking.

And the use of the Convoy song as a narrator is pure gold. I especially loved the part where the song says, “…they even had a bear in the air.” And the scene flashes to Ernest Borgnine in a helicopter, and he says, “This is the bear…in the air.” I’m still laughing at that scene.

Oh, and the other thing that cracked me up–a reporter eventually talks to truckers, and they say things like “with the price of gas goes up, it costs more for me to get it to people, and then their prices go up, too.” Another guy alleges Big Oil has a link to Nixon’s government because of so-and-so’s brother-in-law, so high gas prices are obviously a conspiracy to enrich politicians and Big Oil. Sound familiar?

And for the record, this was the first movie that I’ve seen Ernest Borgnine play a bad guy (“Dirty Lyle”). And he’s not the typical bumbling sherriff that we’re used to. He may be a little on the dumb side, but he’s also nasty and extremely tenancious.

So, yeah, if you’re bored or a little buzzed or both, be sure to sit down and watch Convoy. Enjoy the flashbacks and the “ultra-cool” trucker lingo. My God, what a funny-assed trip it’s all been.

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