The Movie: Smokey and the Bandit, 1977 (James Lee Barrett, Charles Shyer, and Alan Mandel, screenwriters, from a story by Hal Needham and Robert L. Levy; Hal Needham, dir.)
Who says it: Jackie Gleason as Sheriff Buford T. Justice, a southern lawman
The context: Sheriff Buford chases “Bandit” Bo Darville (Burt Reynolds), a legendary scofflaw truck driver, across several states.
How to use it: To acknowledge – with a certain admiration – seriously bad behavior.
My sister Kathy and her 13-year-old son, Patrick, were tossing around Smokey and the Bandit lines yesterday morning, before we left for Dutchess County. It felt appropriate for the first road trip I've taken with my twin as adults -- but no, Mom, we didn't speed. Much.
We drove to our uncle John McLaughlin's, to have dinner with him, his girlfriend Marcie, our Aunt Patricia, and our cousins Michael and Julia. It was a great visit and a great drive. Amazingly, we didn't get lost at all (okay, one wrong turn) and we didn't even bicker about the music, singing along to Billy Joel and the BeeGees (I drew the line at Chicago).
Driving back to Kathy's on 84 through Connecticut, we saw fireworks in the eastern sky. "Look," said Kathy, "they knew we were coming," and for a minute, it actually felt like that.
Of course, the fireworks were really in honor of my friend and guru Matt Prager, whose birthday is today. Happy birthday, Mr. Jive Monkey.