Wrong-Way Escalator To Heaven

By Nathan Payne | pablosmoglives | 30 May 2024

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life:
no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
John 14:6


I haven't seen Miracle Mile in awhile, so I watched it tonight, starting about 20 minutes in.  It is full of iconic images and scenes, and has a great cast, including Jenette Goldstein (Vasquez from Aliens), Edward Bunker (Mr. Blue from Reservoir Dogs), Mykelti Williamson (Sgt. Drucker from Heat), Kurt Fuller (from The Running Man to Wayne's World to Midnight in Paris), and many others.  The film also includes a cameo by Mare Winningham's hair, which makes a short, unsightly appearance as the love of Anthony Edwards' life.  It is interesting foreshadowing, because Anthony Edwards and Mare Winningham eloped in real life, just a few years ago.  Presumably, the cloud of Aquanet that enveloped them during shooting protected them from the nuclear blast depicted in the film, and it is theorized by scientists that a pocket of hairspray formed around them while they were submerged in the LaBrea Tar Pits, allowing them to breathe clean, 80s-styling-grade CFCs until the radioactive effects of the fallout had passed.  But they had to wait until Mare Winningham's hair grew to levels that could be reasonably, believably loved, before making their relationship official.  The 80s chemo crop-cut didn't even work for River Phoenix, nevermind a chick.  If you're in chemotherapy for terminal cancer, okay.  I'll look the other way.  But if you're just walking down the street, even if you're a lesbian in the 80s, do your part, and make the world a better place.

Grow your hair out.  Just a little.

Thank you in advance.



While watching the film this time around, one shot in particular struck me as meaningful.  I'd never noticed it before.  In the scene where Mykelti Williamson crashes the cop car into the mall, he carries his dead sister up a wrong-way escalator in a state of disconsolate despair.  He's clearly beside himself with grief, and has lost the will to live.  He doesn't even know what he's doing, and attempts to ascend unto Heaven with his sister by walking up the downward-moving escalator.  It doesn't work.  He makes it a few steps, but doesn't have the strength to swim upstream against the falling waterfall of stairs that seem mechanically opposed to his ascension.  He abandons the effort before long.  Tragically, he and his sister pass away under the watchful gaze of the plastic statues in the retro 80s section of the Museum of Anthropological Merchandise, sitting at the bottom of the moving, mechanical waterfall to Hell.

It's a sad, heartbreaking scene.  If he had applied some 80s hair products to his injuries, or dismembered his sister's hair so that it would be resistant to destruction like Mare Winningham's chemo-crop, they might have been saved.

It's a lesson worth remembering.


So sad.  Cinematic proof that good hair does not always prevail.  But the question lingers in the air like a cloud of hairspray:

To what degree are we trying to make it to Heaven by walking up a downward-moving escalator?  At what point will we abandon the doomed, useless effort of fighting the downward mechanical current of sin and lie defeated at the bottom of the stairway to Hell, without anything to fix our hair, or protect us from the effects of social radiation?  When madness strikes, will we lose our minds like the guy from Wayne's World, loaded to the gills on pills and nihilism?  Or will we find the one true path, the escalator leading upwards toward redemption and salvation?

You can do what you want, but if I have to destroy my hair to save my soul, I will do it.  Better to enter into life looking like a butch lesbian undergoing chemotherapy, than to enter into hellfire with my luscious curls intact.  To paraphrase Mark 9:43, "If your hair offend thee, cut it off, for it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having cool hair to go to hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched."  Which, of course, is not what it really says.

But it's close.

When chaos comes, when life becomes a game of Frogger, don't worry about your hair.  Don't be distracted by the stylish, homicidal madness sprouting up like a field of burning weeds around you.  Don't steal a police car to get away from your own moral culpability, but if you do, don't crash it into the Museum of Plastic Anthropology.  Merchandise didn't save Mykelti Williamson or his sister, and it won't save you.  So if you find yourself at the bottom of the wrong-way escalator to "Heaven," do not be seduced by its soft, cascading motion toward perdition.  Ignore the siren call of feathered hair and neon merchandise, rising from the flames.  Make no attempt to climb the burning staircase moving downward.  Look instead for the waterfall that's falling up.  Grab your Bible and your Aquanet, and seek the stairs that lead to Heaven.  Salvation is free, and even though the path is narrow and can be difficult to see, it's actually obvious once you look for it (if you want to see it), and once you accept that the only path to Heaven is on the stairs that are moving up, you don't need to make any effort of your own to reach the top.  You have to stay on the path, but you will not make it to the top of the stairs through any righteousness or virtue of your own.  It's a good thing.  A relief.  You don't have to earn it.  You just need to have faith that the upward-moving escalator will carry you home.  As it says in Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."  The stairs will carry you home.

But you have to stay on the path.  Don't worry about your hair, or your bad habits.

They'll take care of themselves.  Just stay on the path.

Thanks for listening.

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Nathan Payne
Nathan Payne

I am a songwriter and bandleader who travels the world in search of the golden ticket. http://www.pablosmoglives.com


Replacing my blog at http://pablosmoglives.wordpress.com

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