December 17, 2006

THE TWELVE YEARS OF CHRISTMAS: YEAR TWELVE

1984
About the time some of my buddys were starting to "go with" girls, I was opening a GoBot Command Center in my two-year-old Tron pajamas. Back at school my friends mercilessly informed me that sixth grade was past the natural cut-off point for getting toys on Christmas. I responded by asking for a remote control Voltron in seventh grade (which I scored, thank you very much). Oh, and are you judging me because I was into GoBots and not the beloved Transformers? In my experience, trying to actually play out a storyline with the Transformers is near impossible due to their complexity. It went something like this..
"Hey everyone, we must transform and defend against the Autobot invasion!"
Fifteen minutes later I've got 'em all looking like earth vehicles (and one giant tape deck) but during the process I was pulled so far out of the action mentally that I couldn't remember what anyone was supposed to be doing. Plus, I'd grown hungry for a snack.
Gobots may be elementary, but they were fast. There, I said it.

Anyway, having seen a peek at all the childhood Christmases of my life.. what have we learned?
-I had the same haircut from birth to age eleven (at least).
-My parents chose to buy us cool gifts instead of new carpet.
-I'm a huge nerd.
-I've effectively alienated the bulk of my readership.
-I might have been better off if the Grinch would have stolen at least one of my Christmases because I was obviously toy-obsessed. In that sense it's probably best that we only get nine or ten "optimal childhood Christmas mornings." Because once those are out of the way we may get a chance to experience the true joys of Christmas.

"God bless us, every one."
Merry Christmas!

18 comments:

iamchief said...

This has been a hoot! Classic stuff brother - thanks!

I've got two old pics in my blogger header from childhood Christmases...including a Pillsbury Doughboy doll & later the ABBA LP & fun game "Run Yourself Ragged".

However, you've taken these old Christmas pics to a new level. Great blogging & Merry Christmas!

iamchief said...

Ok...one more thing...

I'm thinking, "How did your folks know to buy you all the classic toys that would one day sell for ridiculously high prices on ebay - or at the very least make for great blog fodder 3 decades later?"

Then I realize, "They didn't know, dummy!" So then I think, ok, how will I know what gadgets to buy my children over the coming years that will preserve for them a small fortune when they're in their 30's?

Any suggestions? Or, are you like me and are beginning to think that all the true creativity died back in the same era when musicians actually had to be talented to get an record deal?

chuckbaris said...

So ends an era

Kirk D. said...

Glad you've enjoyed it iamchief!
Both the Doughboy and 'Run Yourself Ragged' were childhood favorites of mine too, although I always wished Doughboy could stand on his own.

Regarding your pondering about "future retro" I think almost anything that's embraced by the kids of today will be blogged about fondly in 20 years (if blogs still exist) and will fetch a premium on ebay (if it still exists). Stuff that came out after my time like Power Rangers and Pokemon are already packing a nostalgia factor for some. (I would have said Ninja Turtles too, but I bought every one when I was in high school so I guess they're not technically after my time.)

Truth is, if I would have kept all of the cereal boxes from the cereal I ate during my childhood I could sell them now for literally thousands more than all my Star Wars junk. So you can probably buy your kids anything as long as you don't have too many garage sales.

I think creativity is still thriving, but our adult brains just don't stick to the new new stuff as easily. Plus most of the simplest ideas have already been taken, so it's harder to come up with fresh stuff. Thus they keep making new versions of GI Joe, He Man, Strawberry Shortcake, Star Wars, My Little Pony, Super Heroes, etc. etc.

(And completely unrelated, I read your post where you visited Frank (Centurion) Turk's bookstore. I don't know Frank, but his store happens to be located in the town where I live. Freaky!)

chuck- so it does.

Smurfwreck said...

Go-Bots were funny that way. Though I could have sworn I had more Transformers, when I look at all the Go-Bots produced, I think I owned half of them at one time or another.

Plus there was like 300% more motorcycles and Helicopters in the Go-Bots line, so right there is a big Plus.

quadRUPPEL said...

Please Please Please just one more post.
This Christmas you should sit in your adult living room with your son and pose with all your cherished presents. I bet you still have the EXACT SAME haircut. As it was both dapper and stylish. OHHH and I'd love to see what television show is featured on the pajamas you wear these days.

--q

Kirk D. said...

smurfwreck- my other beef with Transformers is that they had all these extra pieces that were left over after transformation. Plus GoBots could blend in better with Matchbox and Hot Wheels.

quadruppel- ha! Well, my son won't be allowed in my "adult living room" until he's 18. And these days I can only wish I had enough growth to achieve that classic cut.
As for my current nightwear.. do you know how hard it is to find 'Borat' pajamas?

Flashfink! said...

I was born somewhat earlier than you so my Christmas memories involve Major Matt Mason and Thingmakers instead of Star Wars and video games. However, I can relate to the way your interests contrasted with those of your peers.

When I was eleven, my friends and I were all playing with Hot Wheels and reading comics. We also got a big kick out of Sesame Street, even though we knew it was produced to teach smaller kids how to read and count. We just thought the muppets were really "neat."

I was in for quite a shock when my family moved to a new neighborhood in the middle of the school year.

Suddenly I was surrounded by classmates who were discussing the best places to hide Playboy magazines, how to steal alcohol from their parents and which girls they wanted to "feel up." Some of them had already been in trouble with the law and one girl in particular was always doing "bust developing" exercises in her seat and talked a lot about wanting to be on the Pill.

If one kid wanted to tell another kid that he was stupid or immature, he would accuse him of playing with Hot Wheels or reading comic books or(worst of all) watching Sesame Street.

Anyway, I really had a hard time adjusting to all of this and was especially thrown by how normal it all seemed to these kids (and the teachers!).

It's all come full circle now. I work with a bunch of grown men who rush to the comic store when the new stuff comes out and who become nostalgic talking about He-Man and The Smurfs.

John Schaefer said...

I felt inferior about my Gobots, which I saw at the time as the transforming-toy equivalent of Walmart sneakers, compared to the other kids' Nike or Reebok Transformers. But now I can rework it into reverse snobbery, so it's all better now.

iamchief said...

Kirk

You should go see Frank's store...tell him you're a fellow blogger.

Also...come join us for our annual Drum Corps Competition at the High School...it's a blast!

Merry Christmas!

Kirk D. said...

Flashfink- Your new 'friends' sound like a neighbor I had growing up. He was like a personal sensei in the art of Playboy-hiding and Skoal buying. He stole everything from my Hot Wheels to my neighbor's motorcycle. I wonder if all my exposure to his naughtiness (and the consequences thereof) made me more content to dwell on my "kid's stuff."
(P.S. Matt Mason and Thingmakers rule)

John- Always remember, there is no shame in GoBots. Be proud. Be GoBot proud! (and another thing... at least were I lived, GoBots were in stores before Transformers. This caused me to think that TF's were ripping off the 'bots.)

chief- Ah, the Drum Corps. Thanks for the invite. Oh, um, boy I'm afraid I'm busy that day. :)

Hanford said...

At least you didn't get any Rock Lords, the robots that transformed into .... rocks.

Kirk D. said...

The Rock Lords were incredibly tempting back in the day. Funny how laughably bad the concept is now!

The CDP. said...

This was fantastic.

Those photographs almost seem like they were manufactured in a Hallmark laboratory somewhere; surely no child ever experienced Christmases like this.

Thanks, and merry Christmas.

phoneyfresh said...

The selling point for Go Bots was that they were made from real metal, I kinda remember. Weren't they made by the same company as Hot Wheels? I had a few, including the leader of the good guys who was a jet. I borrowed it to a kid and he never gave it back. For some reason I always believed he'd return it someday. The head bad guy was cool, a motorcycle. Remember how the bad leader of the Deceptacons was a gun? How do you fit that into play with a bunch of vehicles? PS where's your G.I. Joe phase? Or were you too old by then?

Kirk D. said...

Ha, ha! Thanks CDP.

Phoney- Yeah, they did have some metal on them, and they were made by Tonka. Yes, and Megatron's not-to-scale gun was maddening. He couldn't shrink in real life as he did in the cartoon.
Leader-1 is the jet you speak of. Don't lose hope, he could still come home.

Todd Franklin said...

Have a Neato Cool Christmas, Kirk!

Kirk D. said...

phoney-
oops a month later I realize that I ignored your G.I. Joe question.
I was of prime age for Joe, but at first I was turned off by the unsightly rivets in their arms. Yes, it's true. Even though Star Wars guys can't properly aim a gun, let alone do an action pose, I preferred them to Joe for their streamlined quality.
I did eventually break down and buy Zartan. Couldn't resist the disguise. And later I fell under the irresistible spell of Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow.