Battleship Potential

(just walking past a young foursome exiting a restaurant. They were splitting off.)

-OK! OK! We have to see you soon!
-Like REAL soon soon.

My reaction was to walk past quickly, to escape. I didn’t want to hear this. What were they talking about? Graduating? Everyone’s graduating this year. Seasons come and go for individuals at different rates. Funerals, weddings, all that stuff comes in bunches, whether you want it or not. This summer everyone around me is graduating, having parties, and bringing kegs of beer to these parties at very reasonable prices.

Man, I can’t be like this. I would have covered my ears as I went by if it wouldn’t have drawn any attention. I used to want to listen. As a youngster, I would look away and whistle, just acting like a jack ass, but I listened to EVERYTHING.

I took an intro to film class at Palomar (jr) College when I was about twenty-one. The professor was good. We watched movies and talked about them. Pretty simple and it made sense. Momento, Vertigo (one of the professor’s favorites), and Being John Malkovich are three films that I can remember. When they’d end the professor would say a thing or two before opening things up for discussion. A  jovial, middle-aged man was one of the handful of students whom the professor thanked at the end of the semester for participating so much.

He was the Nacho Man from the Taco Bell commercials in the nineties. The “Nacho Nacho” Man, like the Macho Macho Man song.  In the ad, the song played while he danced around like an idiot. The commercial was one people remembered, vaguely, but a bulb eventually went off. I talked to him one day. He told me he was found by a producer at a diner. He was having breakfast before heading to Six Flags Magic Mountain for a day of amusement. Just eating with pals and a guy walked up to him and gave him a card. Simple as that. (I think technically a footnote is more appropriate here, but let me say that I’ve done some internet research and now I’m doubting the accuracy of the whole nacho man thing, but I’m gonna stick with what I’ve got.)


I was a bit more doe-eyed back then. I remember exiting class, listening in on a conversation between the Nacho Man and another middle-aged junior college student. I felt like I’d heard gold. The Nacho Man always wore a thick trench coat (in Southern California), had long blonde hair, and was chubby.

-Man, he wants us to know the years for ALL of the films? Battleship Potential or whatnot?
-I think it’s Potempkin.
-I can’t even remember my wife’s birthday.
-Tell me about it.
-Are you kidding me! How many films? Not just the ones we watched, right?
-Like thirty, man.
-Jesus Christ!

That was one of the real early ones you know, where I was thought Is that good? I think that’s good. I’m gonna use it somewhere.


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