I’m basically still Chunk at heart


By Shawn Robare

For the majority of my life I was, well, let’s say pretty husky.  As a very young kid I was actually pretty skinny, say up until I was six or seven, but starting with my family’s first big move across state, and then all over the east coast things got a little difficult for me and well for a bunch of reasons food became my comfort.  But I’m not really sitting down to write about that as much as describing an aspect that contributed to my personality as a kid.  Moving around a lot, overweight, and to be quite honest I was one hell of a weird kid.  My mom has always kept an unusual schedule, sleeping during the day when my sister and I were at school and my dad at work, and then staying up till all hours of the morning watching late night cable.  When she would go grocery shopping it was usually at one of the stores in the area that was open 24 hours and she liked to hit them up between 10:00pm to 12:00am to avoid a bunch of other customers and to basically have a stress free experience.  When she went on the weekends I’d tag along and wander around the vast empty store, browsing the toy aisle for 45 minutes talking to myself out loud and making mental lists of all the stuff I would ask for on my upcoming birthdays and Christmas.  From the outside I’m sure I appeared pretty damn weird, but I was fully aware of it and for the most part didn’t care how I looked or seemed to others.  I was entertaining myself and that’s all that mattered.

So when relating to characters from pop culture, it should come as no surprise that I’ve always felt that Chunk (Jeff Cohen) from the Goonies is more or less my spirit animal…

Goonies

I was never great at making friends though I always managed to, and when I did I tended to over compensate, exaggerate and be kind of a handful just like the loveable Lawrence.  In my defense Michael Jackson, nor his sister, ever came to my house to use the bathroom…but I saw Stephen King in a Maine bookstore once on vacation (sure I did…)  I wouldn’t say I was using the character as a role model, but I sure did feel his pain whenever he’d spaz out or make a fool of himself…

Chunk a Mess in ActionTruffle Shuffle

I also had a weird habit of wearing Halloween costumes was past the point of being “acceptable” for normal attire.  I mean I’d be hanging out in the house dressed up in my sweet ninja gear during Christmas or I’d be tooling around the neighborhood in my “G.I. Joe fatigues” and beret for instance…

8555990730_7987102d84_z

…so later on in life when I found out about Jeff Cohen’s penchant for waring weird and wacky headgear both on and off the set of Goonies, I totally related.  Part of it was that need to perform, part just trying to over compensate.

Jeff Cohen Hat Obsession

Anyway, this is all a lot of lead up to the fact that I just found this old back issue of Starlog magazine in a used bookshop this past week and I was overjoyed to see that it included an interview with Jeff Cohen (and Corey Feldman, but Jeff steals the show)!  Usually these articles only focused on the adult actors or crew, so it’s pretty rad to find one that was concentrating on the kids, but wasn’t fluff from an 80s teeny-bop magazine.  Hope everyone enjoys reading this as much as I did…

Starlog 98

Again, from the article Cohen has a quote about his character Chunk that really echos my childhood experience as a pseudo-Chunk…

“Chunk is too much, but he doesn’t care.  He likes it.  He doesn’t like being fat, but he likes having his own personality.  He’s a little bit flashy, wears plaid pants and a big Hawaiian shirt and struts around…he’s a klutz and a liar.  He lies to his friends, but nothing to hurt ’em.”

Anyway, the interview is all over the place as both Feldman and Cohen are hyped up and excited, but I still think it’s a fun read and a great snapshot of these two actors in the prime of their Goonies experience.  So glad I found this…

  • This story had me smiling the entire time! Solid writing and I enjoyed hearing about your childhood experiences. I can totally relate to wearing silly Halloween costumes past their prime (I was the Riddler in 7th grade = not cool).

    Maybe we have a lil Chunk in all of us…eh, that sounds weird.

    • Lol, I think we’re all a little Chunk at heart, which probably makes that character so great even though he’s annoying. Also, thanks!

  • LD

    starlogs from the 80s are pure fucking gold. I buy one or two on ebay when funds allow. getting a box of them at a sale is the dream. Starlog and Heavy metal magazine.

    • Yeah, those and Fangoria are my go-to mags when I’m looking through old book stores and antique markets. I’m also strangely fond of old issues of Prevue and believe it or not Woman’s Day (which has teh best 80s kid ads ever since the magazine was aimed at the person responsible for buying us all that junk).

  • None of this helps to explain the can of SPAM.

    • That my love is a different set of emotional problems… ;)

  • Great read as usual, Shawn. I think The Goonies was perfect at presenting a good array of archetypes that kids could connect with. I spent part of my childhood shopping in the husky section of clothes stores, so I could relate to Chunk as well. But I was also a shy asthmatic dreamer, with a bit of a loud mouth once you got to know me, and who happened to like to tinker. However, as an adult, I relate most with Mama Fratelli.

    By the way, that photo of you in the beret and fatigues isn’t so strange. I’m recall a span of time that i spent in camo gear. But then again, I also don’t find anything odd about hanging on to vintage can of SPAM.

    • Thanks Todd, and I hear you about Mama Fratelli. It’s weird walking into Toys R Us as an adult and thinking that exact thought :p

      I need to find the picture of me in my sweet ninja outfit sitting with my cousins at Christmas and update this post with that too.

  • Dex

    I’m glad this wasn’t a League topic because I have no idea who I’d relate to most.

    Glad to see a new post in these parts, fun reading as always!

    • Thanks Dex, and yeah, it does feel a bit League-ish now that you mention it. Sigh, RIP the League…