Saturday, January 21, 2012
Nerd Therapy Session: So-Dumb Warrior
First off, thank you for the incredibly kind response to last week's entry. It's extremely comforting to know I was not alone because that would have been pretty terrible.
My next tale of nerd-woe jumps me to 1986, I had started drifting away from collecting comic books and jumped into collectibles, specifically sci fi based toys. Actually, it was all about toys but I was still in kind of denial about the whole thing.
Even though I clearly loved toys and action figures, I couldn't allow it unless it was science fiction related stuff. Buying a Big Jim camper would have been childish but my Star Trek bridge play set was an adult thing.
It was quite the complicated lie I was living.
This was also years before email or toyshop magazine. So my three choices for finding vintage "collectibles" were as follows:
Flea markets, old store stock at variety stores (really lucrative) and comic shops.
Most of the comic shops in my area were used bookstores with names like "The Book Between" and "Morgan Self ltd.". They were paper shops and pretty dry affairs. Save for "Unicorn Comics" an honest to goodness comic store that occasionally dabbled in vintage toys.
The owner Tim, (I'm happy to report I still see him every couple of weeks) for some reason hadold toys in the window. I say "for some reason" because Tim never seemed to like toys, in 30 years of knowing him. I don't know why he had them there in the first place but I digress.
Unicorn was in the heart of downtown Oshawa and required transportation for me to visit. It was March break and my mother insisted that we go clothes shopping at the mall that day. We struck a compromise, I would take the bus to Unicorn (cause I couldn't have my mom cramp my style) and meet her around 2pm at the mall for some stone wash jean shopping at Thrifty's.
Unicorn was in a dank building that looked like it was falling apart, in fact it did fall apart before the decade was out. I got there just as it opened and my eyes met a moral dilemma, there it was a perfect, complete, mint-fricking-condition Gai King from Mattel's Shogun Warriors.
The Shogun warriors are an achilles heel of mine, it's the one toy line that my parents refused to indulge me in. Since then, I've always kind of had a machinder fetish that, to this day, often clouds my judgement.
The big problem for me was, this wasn't a sci fi collectible, it was clearly a kiddie toy but yet, I must have it..... I justified it to Tim by saying i was a fan of "Force Five" (which was a total lie) and that made it all better. I'm pretty sure Tim could not care.
I shakily handed him the money for it and probably the latest issue of "Doctor Who Monthly".
And then Tim did something to me that seriously broke my 15 year old brain.
He handed Gai King to me in a giant CLEAR PLASTIC BAG and apologized to me as it was the only thing he had.
It hit me immediately. Oh Crap, Crap, Crap, I have to walk with this giant freaking toy for almost a mile to go into the one place where I'm sure half of my graduating class is right now. Oh, what have I done?
I also had two hours to kill until my mother would show up.
To make matters worse, the two skeavy, drug dealer infested arcades nestled close to Unicorn were not open yet.
I took a series of back roads that had no sidewalks to the mall, meaning me and Mazinga were ambling in a foot of snow and nearly getting hit by every ardent car that went by. I was also wearing my crappy off brand sneakers, toe loss seemed like an acceptable scenario to discovery.
Hiding in Sears seemed to be my best plan as the gals in the Singer sewing center ask too many questions. I contemplated buying a pillow or something just so I could have a large bag to conceal my shame but none could be had for under a dollar.
The TV section seemed a safe bet, I'd run into less kids my age there. I think I sat on the floor and quietly watched TV, the sales people gave me strange looks but probably thought I had issues.
When my mother showed up, I quickly threw my machinder shame in her trunk. I would run into half a dozen kids I knew that day, being seen clothes shopping with my mommy didn`t feel too bad.
PS my mom bought me some English Leather after shave that day, i didn't start shaving until two years later.
Thanks for reading and if you have some nerd therapy you'd like to submit, PLEASE send it on down, Let the healing commence!