Miss Pop Rocks: My Sunday With Ralph Macchio

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This post may only speak to a certain cadre of ladies (and men) who love Ralph Macchio. If it doesn’t appeal to you, please feel free to move along.

Now that I’m among friends, I’ll start off by saying that back in the day, I was in total hot love with the man. I mean, like, how could I not be? The first time Miss Pop Rocks laid eyes on the Italian stone fox from Long Island, he was starring as Daniel LaRusso in The Karate Kid. I remember my dad taking me to see it in the theaters and just totally losing my mind.

I don’t know what it was that got me hooked, but I think it was the puppy dog eyes, the olive skin, the rebel without a cause, the `I come from a broken home and need love’ look, and so on…whatever the trigger, when he won the karate championship and wrapped an undeserving Elisabeth Shue in his arms, I melted to the floor, filled with Ralph lust.

The love only grew when I rented The Outsiders a few years later and sobbed as he took on the role of tortured, doomed greaser Johnny Cade. When sweet, darling, abused Johnny/Ralph rescued those little children from the fire and died quoting Robert Frost, this girl was sobbing. Stay gold, Ponyboy indeed.

Ralph made other films, which I watched passionately, but after 1992’s My Cousin Vinny, he just seemed to disappear. Filled with nostalgia, I decided to check out where Mr. Macchio was hiding out these days, and I stumbled across this extremely strange site. Wait long enough for it to load, and you’ll hear a very odd rendition of “Glory of Love,” the Peter Cetera song that made it on to the Karate Kid II soundtrack. It sounds like a fourth grader playing saxophone over a crappy synthesizer. Seriously.

Anyway, after some more searching and digging, I discovered Ralph is married to his longtime love and has two kids (one of which is named Daniel…perhaps after Daniel LaRusso?!). He lives in New York and recently starred as himself on HBO’s Entourage and the Starz series Head Case. I admit the Head Case bit is pretty funny, and it proves Ralph still has his acting chops! His last major film was a straight-to-DVD movie called Beer League. While I have a feeling it's certainly no Crossroads, hey, at least the man is still working. Considering his happy home life, it sounds like he’s doing pretty good, actually. I’m even more convinced that he’s doing all right after watching this little interview he did recently for a British television show, where he self-deprecatingly made fun of how bad Karate Kid III was.

Bottom line is I spent my Sunday afternoon researching Ralph Macchio on the Internet, and overall the incident left me feeling pretty happy. I was able to revisit my youth, discover one of my teen idols was alive and well and not some washed up smack addict, get a little nostalgic, and listen to a whacked out version of a Peter Cetera song. To top it off, I am now the proud owner of a new Ralph Macchio screensaver. I think Mr. Pop Rocks is slightly jealous, but that’s his problem, not mine. -- Jennifer Mathieu

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