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!


Ultra Fem said...

You know what this reminded me of?

Christ said...

In my twenties, I had to go to a friend's show at CBGB's in NYC but I had scored a machinder myself at a store in NYC earlier in the day. Similar problem. Everyone could see my shame. He just wouldn't fit in the crappy paper bag with handles they gave me.
A random, trendy/cute college girl passed me on the bowery with my big bag 'o toy and mocked me openly. "I like your toy," she said, clearly indicating that she did not and thought I was a loser.
I still cringe inside every time I think of it.
Bless you and your toy shame!

Plaidstallions said...

@Christ so funny!

Tom G. said...

I was sick to my stomach with worry that someone from school would see you.

Someday I'll blog about serving as an altar boy into the 10th grade. No greater shame than being up there on the altar in my cassock and surplus and looking out to see the coolest girl in school sitting there with her family, smirking.

I quit the next week.

Dantheman said...

Kind of reminds me of the time I bought a 12-inch Kenner Darth Vader (minus lightsaber) at a local antiques store in my senior year of high school during my lunch hour (my high school had open campus at the time).

I'm just glad they gave me a large paper bag to put it in, and I had friends who didn't give me crap about it if they found out.

John Scott Tynes said...

I don't even collect toys, but I'm probably not alone in saying that one of my recurring dreams is being in a big run-down K-Mart kind of store and finding behind some new merchandise a dusty cache of original Kenner Star Wars boxed toys. Seriously, I've had that kind of dream over and over for years. Every time I am so indescribably happy.

Unknown said...

Awesome story! Back in '96, when I was 23, some friends and I drove to New Orleans to fulfill my childhood dream of seeing the original lineup of KISS in full makeup on the third show of their much-hyped reunion tour. We got there pretty early so we could rummage through the shops in the French Quarter, when, at like the second shop we hit, I found a Shogun Warriors Godzilla in near mint condition for $20! I snatched it up, and while drunk on my discovery, I didn't even hear the cashier say that she didn't have a bag big enough to hold it. It wasn't until about five minutes later, wandering down decateur street with this huge toy under my arm that I started to notice the stares and came to a very grim realization. It was only noon, the show didn't start until seven that night, and we had parked miles away next to the Superdome and taken a cab into the quarter. I... have to... carry... this big-ass toy around with me... all... damn... DAY!!! Luckily, my friends were all-too familiar with my um, hobby, and didn't give me too much grief, but the constant staring and giggles from nearly EVERYONE else in the French Quarter that day was difficult to take even for someone with such an under-developed sense of shame as I had! The best part was going into a nice restaurant to eat and giving Godzilla his own chair to sit in. I was three sheets to the wind at that point and started firing his fist at my friends ;-)

John III said...

Brian, Dano and Christ. Those are hilarious! And Tom, I served until the end of 12th grade! Imagine that! And the priest wanted me to keep serving after that. I, uh...politely refused.

Anonymous said...

So many stories...

Right after I graduated from college, I was at a science fiction convention and found a dealer that had some Planet of the Apes Megos for a decent price as well as a Planet of the Apes Treehouse Playset. Well, it wasn't actually THE Planet of the Apes playset but a Troll dolls treehouse playset which was basically the same as the original but repackaged for the short-lived troll doll renaissance. I bought it and as I was there with a friend who was now lost somewhere in the convention and had the car keys, I had to carry my sack o' Megos as well as this huge Troll doll playset around under my arm. 'No big deal,' I thought, 'I'm among the unwashed basement dwelling fanboy masses who understand such things.'

Working my way through the crowd moments later I realized that I had unwittingly stumbled on a local TV news crew doing a story. (You know, the typical "BAM! POW! look at all the nerds at the Science Fiction convention segment that they put at the end of the newcast so the anchors can laugh and go out on a funny note.). I turned to quickly walk the other way when someone called my name. Turns out the producer of the piece was an attractive young lady I had gone to college with and who not only remembered me but wanted to interview me on camera for the story.

After we caught up for a few moments she turned to tell the cameraman what she wanted. It was only then that I looked down and remembered the giant Troll doll playhouse under my arm. By the time she turned back around, I was gone, having disappeared into the mass of fanboys knowing I could never really explain why I had a Troll doll playhouse under my arm and Mego Apes in a plastic bag.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin