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"Profiles In Confusion" - The Guys

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NAME: Ron Slater

FORMATIVE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCE: Telling his parents he's going on a day-long
arrowhead hunt with friends, he attends a concert by ZZ Top and Santana at
the state university's football stadium. A buxom woman wearing cut-offs and a
T-shirt showing Richard Nixon feeling up the Statue of Liberty says to Ron,
"Wanna shotgun?" When he looks puzzled, grabs him behind the head and kisses
him while vigorously blowing pot smoke into his lungs. Without consciously
realizing it, Ron changes his life.

ROLE MODELS: The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers

EARLY WARNING SIGNS: As a boy, Ron spends hours gazing at the hallucinogenic
panels drawn by Jack Kirby and Jim Steranko for various issues of Silver
Surfer, Fantastic Four, and Nick Fury, Agent of Shield. Also sees "2001: A
Space Odyssey" nine times.

FIRST FLIGHT: Two-thirds of the way through a seemingly endless Jerry Garcia
solo at a Grateful Dead concert, he is convinced he has levitated about two
feet off the ground. Slater never quite comes down again.

WALL POSTERS: A silk-screened portrait of the bearded guy who appears on the
cover of Zig Zag rolling papers, an enormous day-glo Hendrix, a picture from
ROLLING STONE of the Grateful Dead's Phil Lesh standing in front of a naked
hippie chick, various concert posters, a HIGH TIMES centerfold, and, over the
bed, a life-sized nude of Jane Fonda sitting on a beach.

BONG AMBITION: Working on an anti-resin water pipe that merges NASA
technology with ancient Asian hookah design; plans to approach Jimmy Page,
Cheech and Chong, Robin Trower and other notable smokers for backing.

UTOPIAN TEXT: Charles Reich's "The Greening of America," which he's been
reading at the rate of several paragraphs a week for the past year or so.
Also believes every word in Erich Von Daniken's "Chariots of the Gods."

BEACONS OF HOPE: Comet Kohutek, which is actually pretty awesome when
enhanced by a telescope and mescaline, and the Viking I photos of Martian
canals, which prove Von Daniken was right.

MYSTERY CHANT: "Ahhhh fawa-kawa, pusseh pusseh," that inscrutable phrase John
Lennon keeps repeating in "#9 Dream."

PET CONSPIRACY THEORY: Pot is illegal because William Randolph Hearst got
together with the logging industry to keep cheap paper made from hemp off the

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NAME: Randy "Pink" Floyd

SURVIVAL SKILLS: Low key, affable and flexible as a result of his family
moving every year or so, he straddles various cliques with ease.

CRITICAL INFLUENCES: His father, the Green Bay Packers, and the Vietnam War.
His father regaled his son with stories of wacko brass and incomprehensible
bureaucracy. Bart Starr's brilliant, unpretentious quarterbacking for the
Packers offered a blueprint for cool behavior. Pink supported the Vietnam War
mainly because he identified it with his father's patriotism. Both of them
changed their minds about the same time. His dad left the Army; Pink grew his
hair long.

THEME SONG: "Careful With That Axe, Eugene" by his namesakes.

LITERARY HERO: Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., author of "Slaughterhouse-Five" and
"Mother Night," though he's just read "A Fan's Notes," Frederick Exley's 1968
novel about a football obsessive (and the great unsung cult paperback of the
seventies). Pink thinks it may be the greatest book ever written.

SPORTS INTRIGUE: Pittsburgh Pirates player Dock Ellis, who is rumored to have
pitched a no-hitter while tripping on acid.

TALISMANS: A Les Paul guitar just like Jimmy Page's; his lucky pair of white
Converse high-tops.

LEAST FAVORITE WARM-UP EXERCISE: Squat thrusts. No one really looks cool
doing them and saying it is sort of a drag too.

FANTASY PRODUCT ENDORSEMENT AS A JOCK/STAR: Owl memorabilia. Leave panty hose
to Broadway Joe; owls do their best work at night, can turn their heads all
the way around like Linda Blair and are just bad-ass birds of prey.

UNLIKELY CATHODE HERO: Jack Lord as Steve McGarrett in "Hawaii Five-O." The
intro, with the war canoes and groovin' song rules as well as the native
chicks in the sun with the pom pom skirts. Serious rays, the kickin' surf and
puka shells for the asking. It's a real drag when Danno has to book a fairly
righteous amount of pot though.

RAMBLIN' AMBITION: Hit the road after high school to see what the real world
is like, inspired by the hero of Jack Kerouac's "On The Road" and repeated
viewings of "The Last Detail."

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NAME: Mike Newhouse

EARLY REBELLION: Argues with the kiddy dentist about flouride, which little
Mike, parroting a magazine article he read at the barbershop, condemns as
probably some sort of government plot.

LATER REBELLION: Argues with his eighth grade Social Studies teacher, Coach
Judd, about the merits of the Vietnam War. They strongly disagree, and Mike
is told to shut up and start obeying the school hair code.

SOPHOMORE YEAR FRUSTRATION: Can't find any smart girls who like the same
records he does except Cynthia Dunn, who, having gone through elementary
school with him, is more like a sister.

FAVORITE ALBUMS: The Stones' "Exile On Main Street," Roxy Music's "Siren" and
Randy Newman's "Good Old Boys," which causes big trouble when he plays it for
Modern American History class, thanks to lines such as, "We're rednecks / We
don't know our ass from a hole in the ground / And we're keeping the niggers

JUNIOR YEAR FRUSTRATION: Read Thomas Pynchon's "Gravity's Rainbow,"
understands about half of it, but can't find any teachers to discuss it with
because none of them have finished reading the novel.


MONEY-MAKING BRAINSTORM: Woody Allen lunchbox with scenes from "Love and
Death" in episodic montage around the thermos.

PET PROJECT: Currently writing teleplay entitled "Get Kristy McNichol." The
star of "Family" would now be a private detective with cultural exchange
student Nikita as scantily clad sidekick.

PET ROCK: Albert, as in Prince Albert (Yes, he's kept in a can.)

PET NIGHTMARE: To be stuck stage managing a touring company of "Godspell"
forever. Three weeks into the production the actors decide to start
performing naked. An entire wardrobe budget has been wasted on suspenders,
rainbow wigs and smiley face button.

PET PEEVE: The advent and the success of the iron-on transfer. In particular
anyone wearing an "I'm with stupid" T-shirt.

CURRENT ANTHEM: Paul McCartney and Wings' "The Mess I'm In," a metal jackboot
stomp inexplicably located on the B-side of the hit "My Love."

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NAME: Benny O'Donnell

FORMATIVE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCE: After committing two errors in a little
league game, his irate father/coach had three of his teammates line up and
simultaneously throw baseballs at him (Benny's strategy: catch one, dodge


TWARTED AMBITION: Thought about playing guitar but got frustrated after
spending three hours trying to learn "Smoke on the Water" by Deep Purple.


BASEBALL HERO: Harmon Killebrew.


RACE CAR DRIVER: Richard Petty.

FAVORITE BEER: Schlitz, but will make due with his father's brand, Pabst Blue

BEER LIMIT: Once drank a case-and-a-half and made it home with only minor
damage to his car's clutch.

FAVORITE ALBUMS: ZZ Top's "Tres Hombres," Allman Brothers' "Eat a Peach."

NEW CB HANDLE: Ben Dover (formerly "The Sailing Rabbit")

ON HOLD: Refuses to smoke pot until it's legal.

IMMEDIATE ASPIRATION: To secretly get better at foosball, to get even larger
and win state next fall.

FARTHER DOWN THE LINE: A football scholarship and the long-awaited line of
women outside his dorm door.

FAVORITE FOOTBALL CHANT: "We ain't here to make friends; we're here to kick
some ass."

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NAME: Tony Olson

PRIZED POSSESSION: A photo of Tony shaking hands with George McGovern.

SACRED TOMES: Norman Mailer's chronicles of sixties politics, "Armies of the
Night" and "Miami and the Siege of Chicago."

JUST A COINCIDENCE?: On November 22, 1973 ten years to the hour of the
Kennedy assassination, Tony is in a theater watching "Executive Action," the
ultimate JFK conspiracy movie.

ADVENTURE IN THE FOURTH ESTATE: Fired up by Woodward and Bernstein's "All The
President's Men," Tony collaborates with Mike Newhouse on an intensive
investigation of the secret activities of the CIA for the school newspaper.

DELICIOUS DILEMMA: Can't decide if Kristy McNichol would make a better
girlfriend, sister, or study buddy.

WALL POSTERS: "Hang in there baby" and a life-size door hanging of Jon Voight
in "Midnight Cowboy."

wry comeback, deeply cares for her mother's well-being and supports herself
in the cut-throat hyper competitive world of window dressing.

SECRET FASHION RISK: To wear a bicentennial scarf tied in a nice ascot in the
Oscar Wilde vain. Taking it off only while roaming the halls between classes
and during gym, of course.

FAVORITE ROCK CRITICS: Grail Marcus, the sage of Berkeley, and Lester Bangs,
the mad stomper from Detroit. Since Tony is the only kid at school who bases
his buying decisions on reviews, he is also the first one to get Bruce
Springsteen's "Born to Run," Neil Young's "Zuma," and Dylan's "Blood on the
Tracks." Also loves Randy Newman, and gets voluminous hate mail for his
review in the school paper calling Led Zep's "Physical Graffiti "a
pretentious mass of overproduced bong water."

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NAME: Don Dawson

EARLY FOOTBALL TRAINING: Don's older brother, Dave, uses him for blocking and
tackling practice as they try to recreate plays they've seen on TV. Don
acquires fantastic speed and agility as he tries to avoid getting crunched.

ALTER EGO: Dresses as his idol Joe Namath for Halloween 1973, complete with
fake Fu Manchu mustache.

ROLE MODEL: Burt Reynolds in "The Longest Yard."

FAVORITE SCENE IN "THE LONGEST YARD": Burt pops in the Skynyrd and takes off
for the wet country in his recently humiliated girlfriend's car. The ride
ends up in the drink and so does a bombed Burt.

SOFA SOUNDS: He devotes considerable time to finding and testing great
make-out music, settling on Curtis Mayfield, The Spinners' "Greatest Hits,"
and Jefferson Starship's "Miracles" (he can't understand how a line like "I
got a taste of the real world / When I went down on you" ever got on the

FANTASY SUBSTITUTE TEACHER: Star of "Summer of '42," Jennifer O'Neal. During
explanation of mitosis she breaks down into quiet sobbing behind her desk.
After class Don offers a hug and they reevaluate the "student-teacher"

POCKET CONTENTS: On key chain: bottle opener, roach clip key and gimp lace
rat tail. In Navajo leathercraft wallet: photo of girlfriend Shavonne, ticket
from ZZ Top concert, movie stub from "Towering Inferno," roach wrapped in tin
foil, phone number list and seven dollars and nine cents.

FASHION TRENDSETTER: First to wear bicentennial sweatband at school. First to
stop wearing bicentennial sweatband realizing how dorky they looked on
everybody else.

NOTABLE QUOTABLES: "It makes a BIG difference if your parents are home." "I
want to remember you with clothing on or not at all." "Of course I missed you
baby... you weren't here."

RECENT ACCOMPLISHMENT: Never missed a concert, a workout, or game, and
maintained a B-average.

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NAME: Fred O'Bannion

BOYHOOD HEROES: Chuck Connors as The Rifleman, General George S. Patton as
portrayed by George C. Scott, and The Incredible Hulk.

BOYHOOD HOBBIES: Stomping kids who are smaller than him (which most are), and
blowing up G.I. Joe dolls with firecrackers.

RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE AS A CHILD: Seeing Detroit Lions defensive lineman Alex
Karras cut down running backs like they were dandelions and generally leave
devastation in his wake.

TEENAGE TRAUMA: His dad pulverizing an antique chair in his frustration over
ABC's pre-empting the sudden death overtime of the 1968 Jets playoff game for
a new TV version of "Heidi."

FAVORITE ALBUM: He tells everybody it's the Who's "Quadrophenia," yet feels
strangely stirred by a chance hearing of Mott the Hoople's "All the Young
Dudes," a song about the joy of boyish glamour. He buys the Hoople record and
hides it under his bed.

JUNIOR YEAR SCANDAL: Streaks through the parking lot before school one
morning. Nobody notices because at that very moment Ron Slater spectacularly
crashes his mother's car into a telephone pole.

MOTTO: "Yeah, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will
fear no evil, for I am the meanest son of a bitch in the valley," taken from
a popular wall poster.


PERSONAL AMBITION: Considering a career in law enforcement as a sheriff. Not
only is the gun and hat a major plus, but the sheriff gets to wear the star.

FAVORITE WEASEL: Angel on "The Rockford Files."

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NAME: Clint Bruno

EARLY ENVIRONMENT: Clint's dad usually entered the house like he was sorry he
forgot to smash the door into splinters, which created plenty of tension and
drove the kids into petty crime, moto-cross racing, and promiscuity.

COVETED TROPHY: Quarter midget state champion, 1970.

EARLY ESCAPIST FARE: All the violent TV stuff, like "The Rifleman," "The
Rebel," "Combat," "Branded," "Hawk," "Hawaii Five-O," "N.Y.P.D.," and

BOYHOOD FANTASY: Joining the Rat Pack, (not Frank Sinatra's clique but) the
World War II guys on TV who rode around in jeeps with rear-mounted machine
guns and flushed most of the Germans out of North Africa.

FLIRTING TECHNIQUES: Bra-snapping, growling, piston-and-cylinder hand gesture
(and the odd knowing glance up a dress).

SECRET CRUSH: Susan Dey, who plays Laurie on TV's "The Partridge Family."

FRESHMAN HARASSMENT TRICK: Open-handed book dump in the hallways between
classes, often followed by a foot-trip when the kid goes after his scattered

MUSICAL INSPIRATION: Ted Nugent's "Call of the Wild."

FAVORITE GAME PIECE: Always gets the car during the smoke-out strip-Monopoly

TATTOOS: Left arm, Phoenix (vulture on fire). Right arm: "Mama Tried," in
bold Roman lettering.

LIFE-AFFIRMING QUOTE: "If you want a tattoo cheap, you're gonna get a cheap

FAVORITE MUSCLE T-SHIRT: A white one for day work, a black one for night

PRIZED POSSESSION: New white '76 Trans Am. Paid cash for it after working at
his neighbor's gas station four years straight.

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NAME: Kevin Pickford

BORN: To Chuck Pickford former Army drill instructor and current president of
First National Bank, the same bank where Kevin, Don, and "Pink" steal two
Spirit of '76 Bicentennial statues and paint them to look like KISS's Gene
Simmons and Peter Criss. Mom is Eileen Pickford, who has a blind spot where
Kevin is concerned. If not for her, he would've been sent to military school
long ago.

MUSICAL KARMA: Kevin dedicates himself to getting high, throwing parties and
collecting unlistenable "progressive" and acid rock albums. He fills his
record shelves with the works of Uriah Heep, King Crimson, McDonald & Giles,
Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Robin Trower, Hawkwind, Magma, Gentle Giant,
Triumvirate, Genesis and Yes. He compares "Tales of Topographic Oceans" to
Bach and Beethoven in a paper for Music Appreciation and receives a D+.

STEREO SYSTEM: Dual turntable, Pioneer 50-watt receiver, JBL speakers. Saving
up for a pair of massive Klipschorns. Contemplates switching over from
8-tracks to cassettes.

CLOSE CALL: After hosting a two-kilo party while his parents are in Florida,
he cleans up so well they can't find evidence to go with the pungent odor
clinging to the drapes.

WALL POSTERS: M.C. Escher's drawing of nightingales turning into table
napkins, Salvador Dali's painting of liquid bank vaults, and a
pre-psychedelic mural by Heronymous Bosch.

VOCATION: Inherits the high school dope dealing franchise from a senior who's
arrested in Operation Intercept, Richard Nixon's drug interdiction program.

FAVORITE PASTIME: Trying to be the coolest guy in the crowd.

PRIZED POSSESSION: The Judge, a 1970 GTO he gets for his 16th birthday.

QUOTE OF THE YEAR: "Keep on space truckin'."

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- from Dazed and Confused (St. Martin's Press, New York, 1993).


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