A few days ago I got an email from my brother that read:
Do you know who Rufio is?
Don’t look it up or anything.
If you know, you know.
I didn’t know.
(Do I get any points for the fact that the name sounded really familiar?)
After I replied to my brother admitting that I wasn’t sure what or who Rufio was, I did a Google search. An image of a kid with a red-striped mohawk popped up, and the first thought that went through my mind was, “He was one of Kiefer Sutherland’s vampire buds in The Lost Boys.”
Close (OK, not really), but no cigar. Rufio was not IN The Lost Boys, he WAS a Lost Boy. As in, a Lost Boy from the Peter Pan story as depicted in Steven Spielberg’s 1991 film Hook. In the film, Rufio was the leader of the Neverland gang.
After the memories came flooding back to me (because I did see Hook back in the day, I just didn’t remember much about it other than its A-list cast members) I wrote my brother back again.
Um, WHY did you ask me about Rufio?
He said that he was doing a bit of “research” because he realized from talking with friends of his who are between 27 and 32 years old that Rufio (played by Dante Basco) seems to be a sort of “defining character” from their formative years. (How Rufio ever came up in conversation in the first place remains a mystery.) According to my bro, people in this age range are often huge Rufio fans — as if memorizing “RU-FI-O!” and “Looky looky I got Hooky!” was a rite of passage or something. I am admittedly outside of this age range, so perhaps my fuzziness about the character proved my brother’s point? Indeed, the more I looked into it, the more evidence I found — from a punk-rock band named after the character, to Rufio Halloween costumes and t-shirts — that my brother was on to something. And then I felt old.
So I want you to be honest. How many of you are willing to pinky-swear-cross-your-heart-with-a-cherry-on-top that you would have immediately known who Rufio is, even if you hadn’t seen the picture if him in this post?
Sound off about this in the comments below — tell me if you did or did not know who Rufio was before reading this post, and if you’re comfortable, please leave your age as well. I’m more curious about the Rufio phenomenon then I’ve been about anything in quite a while. (I don’t get out much.)
“This whole Rufio thing” also made me think about how many awesome — but extremely random, and in most cases minor — movie characters there are that seem to grow cult-like followings over the course of time. So I’m hoping to write about such Random Characters Who Rock on a regular basis. Feel free to leave me suggestions for others to consider!