long time ago in a toy box far, far away . . . .
As a young urchin in the 1970's, when I wasn't risking radiation poisoning
and a diabetic coma from sitting too close to the TV with an enormous
bowl of Fruity Pebbles, I could usually be found in my room playing
with my official Kenner Star Wars toys. These memories recently came
flooding back like a river of Tang Instant Breakfast Drink when my
dad bequeathed to me two large Sterilite storage containers chock-full
of my old Star Wars toys that had been fermenting in his attic for
the past few decades.
I still remember being seven years old and waiting in line with my
parents and big brother to see the first Star Wars movie-that's "Episode
IV: A New Hope" to all of my fellow dweebazoids out there. Although
I'm pretty sure I went to sleep at some point during the film, Chewbacca's
luxuriant fur coat and Princess Leia's cinnamon bun hairdo (among
her other features) made a permanent impression on me.
As soon as Kenner released their original wave of toys, including
a fully endowed Leia, I succumbed to the injected-plastic side of
the force. I eventually had the complete set of characters, and when
the sequel came out, along with more toys, I was a hopeless Jedi junkie,
blowing every cent of my Tooth-Fairy cash on action figures. My dad
was even enlisted in my obsession, touring the retail establishments
of the greater East Texas
area in search of the elusive Tauntaun-an alien creature from "The
Empire Strikes Back" that looks like the love child of the GEICO hump
day camel and Rex from "Toy Story."
| My prized possession
during those years was the original Millennium Falcon toy, complete
with a battery-powered button that made a sound like the ship had
an embarrassing case of gas. However, the legendary Falcon, like so
many of my other vulnerable playthings, fell victim to a power more
sinister than Emperor Palpatine himself-namely my dearly departed
toy poodle, Fluff. Along with savagely dismembering several of my
action figures, Fluff inflicted singular abuse upon the Falcon.
On one fateful afternoon when I had docked the Falcon on my bedroom
floor without its canopy lid, Fluff raised his leg and scored a direct
hit right inside the main cargo hold and lounge. Fortunately, I was
able to de-funk the ship with a little Pine Action Lysol, and any
residual damage actually added to its battle-tested appearance.
Despite the random canine vandalism and general deterioration from
the ravages of time (and not just on me), I've had a great time reliving
my boyhood by refurbishing my Star Wars collection. The restoration
process began by washing the toys in our seldom-used, off-brand whirlpool
tub. I actually considered getting in the bath with them to play for
old times' sake, but with the vast numbers of plastic figures, parts,
and pieces floating around in there, I worried I might accidentally
give myself a Stormtrooper suppository.
I now have the toys on display in my nerd nook at home, and I'm busily
spending my three daughters' college savings on eBay purchasing replacement
stickers, spaceship parts, and even the rare Yoda cloak-since Fluff
undoubtedly digested the original sometime during the Carter administration.
Occasionally my wife catches me just standing there and staring wistfully
at the toys, making "Pew! Pew!" laser sounds under my breath.
At those times, she just smiles, shakes her head a little, and goes
to the kitchen to mix me up a tall glass of Tang.