Mario Stories

The Night We Watched Alien

THE REQUEST: Write about a bad decision you once made

When I was in first grade (1980-81), my friend Ryan had HBO at his house. Which was incredibly rare at that time, because hardly ANY kids had HBO at their house that early in the game. Most kids didn't get the big pay movie channels until a couple of years later. But when I was in first grade, my buddy Ryan had HBO. And that was awesome. Because that meant that every single time I slept over at his house (which was often), what we'd do is we'd wait until his parents went to sleep...

And then we'd sneak downstairs to the TV...

... and we'd watch all the R-rated grownup movies.
And the highlight of this tradition came in January of 1981. When during one sleepover, Ryan and I decided that our movie for the night was going to be Alien.

The perfect movie, I might add, for a six year old

I can't tell you how exciting it was when we planned it out at school all week. Because I knew I was going to be sleeping over at his house over the weekend. And, in anticipation of the big event, Ryan had brought the TV guide to school, so we could see which movies were going to be offered to us. And there it was, Saturday at midnight. The scariest movie of all time. This new horror movie called "Alien." Ryan was absolutely convinced that we were going to stay up and watch it.

I was a little nervous about Ryan's plan, of course. Because, I mean, keep in mind, I was only SIX YEARS OLD. And also keep in mind that the scariest thing I had ever seen at six years old was probably Pete's Dragon. So even with my limited knowledge of the world, and what scary movies were like, I could already see a scenario were "the scariest movie of all time" might actually possibly be a little too much for me.

The scariest thing I had ever seen at age six - The Gogans

But Ryan was convincing.

He said we were going to stay up and watch Alien, and that was just all there was to it. And of course he was the alpha, and I was the sidekick. And of course it was HIS house and it was HIS cable, so I didn't really have much of a say in any of this. As usual, I was pretty much just along for the sleepover.

And, in any case... to make a long story short... here's how that fateful night back in January of 1981 went at my friend Ryan's house. I will never forget this.

9:00 PM (three hours before Alien) - Ryan: "We're going to watch Alien! This is going to be awesome!" Me: "Heck yeah, bring it on. I want to see space killings!"


10:00 PM (2 hours before Alien) - Ryan's parents go to bed. Now he and I are the only ones awake in the house.

10:30 PM - Ryan: "Ninety minutes til Alien! Ninety minutes til Alien!" Me: [starting to die a little inside because now this is actually starting to get real.]

11:00 PM (1 hour before Alien) - Ryan: "Let's sneak downstairs in front of the TV! ALIEN!!!!!!" Me: [suddenly pretending to be very tired. desperately wanting to get out of this.]

11:30 PM: Ryan: "HELL YEAH! ALIEN!!!!!!!!!" Me: [pretending to be asleep. hoping Ryan chickens out too]

11:45 PM: Ryan: "ALIEN! Mario, are you excited about this? It's Alien!" Me: "I dunno. I'm actually thinking maybe we should watch Smokey and the Bandit instead. At least we might actually see boobs in that one." Ryan: "Yeah but who cares about boobs. IT'S ALIEN!!!!!"

11:55 PM: Ryan: "Turn on HBO! It's about to start! It's about to start! ALIEN!!!!!"

Midnight: [Alien begins on HBO. The ominous opening music starts.]

12:01 AM: Ryan: "Yeah screw this, let's not do this. This looks too scary. How about we watch Smokey and the Bandit instead?" Me: [eternally grateful]

And anyway, that's why my childhood wasn't ruined back in January of 1981.

It's because I didn't watch Alien was I was ONLY FUCKING SIX

It's the Smokey and the Bandit guarantee. No face-huggers.

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