What does getting older have to do with Top Gun?


Image courtesy Kalexander2010 via flickr.

I’ve known for a while that I’ve gotten old. I call it Old Age Awareness and there are obvious clues…

–When I go out, everything and everyone seems too loud. But at home the TV is never loud enough.

–Then there’s this scenario:

My husband: Do you want to watch a movie?

Me: Looks at the clock and realizes this must be a joke. It’s already 9:00 p.m.!

–And this happens more often than it should: Wait, how do you spell ‘hello’ again? No, that can’t be right.

At least one of these little reminders pops up on a daily or weekly basis.

Then there are other clues. The ones that crop up when you are in the presence of someone much younger than you, who by the way is very adept at pointing out how old you are.


Much younger cousin: We’re going to see Macklemore tonight.

Me: What’s a Macklemore?

Much younger cousin: He’s a singer.


Yep. This is him. I hear he likes to go thrift store shopping. (Image courtesy San Francisco Foghorn via Flickr CC 2.0)

Me: Oh. Never heard of him.

Much younger cousin: Yeah. *Giggles and points at me* It’s because you’re old.

Me: Sighs and decides to Google Mackelmore when I get home. A few minutes later I can’t remember what I was supposed to Google. An hour later I remember and decide to write it down, but I can’t find my quill and parchment.

Well, the latest clue that jumped up and smacked me in the face had to do with movies. Sure, I already knew I was out of touch with most of the new movies out there. The only reason I’ve seen Bridesmaids and The Hangover is because my younger cousin bought me a DVD player (Ha! I almost typed VCR) and then gave me her movies.

And I have a problem with most big budget action movies made today. Hold on, let me go get my cane so I can wave it in the air all angry like. This is what I’m thinking when I watch these movies: This movie relies too heavily on special effects. Where is the character development? I don’t even care about these characters. The computer animation is too much. It’s taking away from the story. Remember when the movie had a plot? It wasn’t just about the computer animated three-headed, mind reading, furry but also scaly, snail who types 80 words per minute. Ugh. How am I supposed to believe any of this is happening if the graphics are too real?

But this latest whack with the “you’re old stick” came from my much younger cousin’s failure to have seen, and subsequently fallen in love with, the movie Top Gun. Wait, what??

Nope, he’s never seen it. I know, I know. It’s like saying you’ve never seen Casa Blanca or Gone With the Wind. (They’re both on my to be watched list)

I was gutted. How can someone not have seen a movie that was so iconic? So brilliant? A movie that factored so significantly in my life. I don’t care that it was made almost a decade before he was born.

Top Gun

Image courtesy pculter via Flickr CC SA 2.0)

It’s the movie that gave us Maverick and Goose. Oh, Goose. I still weep for you.

The movie that gave us lines like:

“I feel the need… the need for speed.”

Sheer poetry, I say.


“You can be my wingman any time.”

“Bulls**t! You can be mine.”

Hold on, let me wipe the single tear from my eye.


“Talk to me Goose.”

The simplicity of the line is what gets me. It says so little, yet says so much.

The movie also gave us Kenny Loggins’s Danger Zone. A shiver runs up my spine when the opening sequence of the movie plays.

Yes, I’ve been known to act out the flight deck signals as the opening credits roll. Or when Danger Zone happens to find itself on my iTunes playlist. How can you not?

Navy shooter signals launch

The signal to launch. (Image courtesy the US Navy via Wikimedia Commons)

Jennifer Windram recreating top gun

My re-enactment. It’s probably not regulation, but it’s the only yellow top I had.

US Navy

The signal to hold position. (Image courtesy the US Navy via Wikimedia Commons)

Yes, we have a lot of hot sauce in the house. My husband loves the stuff.

Navy aircraft carrier

The signal it’s okay to launch. (Image courtesy US Navy via defense.gov)


This one just reminded me (again) how old I was.

But alas, my dear, sweet, much younger cousin has never experienced the cinematic wonder that is Top Gun. And I wonder how many other young people are out there, walking the city streets, with no understanding of what it truly means to be the best of the best.

I might be old, and unable to remember where I put my keys, but to me Top Gun will always be about more than fighter planes.