Naps in the Reflection Room and Are You a Maverick or a Louden?
Every group of males has guys with names like Schmitty, or Smitty, or O’mar, or Waggzy, or Snoop, or Burnzy, or Sluggo. Tonight, Waggzy calls and wants to grab drinks at The Bulldog.
Waggzy and I were college roommates and he spent about a year at TR, where he routinely took naps in the basement Reflection Room. He said if he had to walk in the bathroom and see that guy washing his feet in the sink, then a mid-day siesta in the Reflection Room was even-stevens. I know…what a dick. This is the same guy who nearly broke his back in college attempting to walk up bleachers with a log on his shoulders like Brian Shute in Vision Quest. Waggzy is now a mutual fund manager.
We had that f’ing movie on VHS in our Como Avenue apartment and we watched it religiously. Before a night of boozin’ in Dinkytown…pop-in Vision Quest. Before a final exam…pop-in Vision Quest. After a night of boozin’ in Dinkytown…pop-in Vision Quest. Louden Swain was a hero to us…our every man. He was an ordinary individual pursuing an extraordinary goal. Our other friends had Pete Mitchell (call-sign, “Maverick”) and all his bravado in Top Gun, but what Louden lacked in machismo and shirt-less volleyball skill, he doubled in courage and conviction. Maverick was a champion. Louden was the conqueror of a champion. Maverick knew he was the best, but Louden had the hunger and clarity to beat the best.
Louden works part-time in a hotel delivering room service to its guests. The chef is an old guy…a lifer at the hotel who lives in a small room and has lived his life standing against the wall watching it all go by. Louden stops by his room wondering why he took a rare night off to attend his wrestling match. “It’s six lousy minutes,” Louden implores…
And then there were two 21 year old guys in a messy living room trying to hide their watery eyes, even though we had watched that scene over 100 times.
Matthew Modine (Louden Swain) was Jerry Bruckheimer’s first choice for the role of Maverick in Top Gun. Modine was turned off by the film’s overt themes of war and Reagan/Bush foreign policy and declined the offer. The role went to Tom Cruise. But that’s fine. There’s too many Maverick’s in the world. Those Jersey Shore douche-bags…Mavericks. The guy tail-gaiting you on the way to work this morning…Maverick. For all those Mavericks and Brian Shutes, there’s a Louden Swain lurking…