Tuesday, February 19, 2013

About a Boy and a Toy

Let me tell you a story about a little boy who loved playing with toys and using his imagination.

This little boy grew up in a happy family and never really had much to complain about.  His favorite toys were robots from the show "Transformers", and he had most of the popular ones: Optimus Prime, Grimlock, Shockwave, and Thundercracker just to name a few.

But there was one toy that was always hard to find:  his favorite Transformer, Soundwave.

At 8 years old, this little boy couldn't drive himself to the toy store week after week to see if Soundwave was in stock.  He could only wait patiently as he behaved his best, in an effort to be rewarded a trip to that place with all the awesome things.  The trips to the toy store came and went, but Soundwave was never there.

One day, this little boy was invited to a birthday party, and his mom stopped by the toy store on the way home from work to pick up a present.  Of course curiosity was always abundant in the little boy and he had to see what present his mom had gotten before it was wrapped up and gifted.

So he reached inside the bag and pulled out a windowed package with a blue cassette player inside.  It was Soundwave!

Now, this little boy had never made it clear to his parents that Soundwave was his favorite.  He was always a rather quiet boy and graciously accepted whatever toys or gifts he was given, with little fuss or complaints.  And he was definitely too shy to speak up to his mom now, especially to ask her to go buy another toy to give to the birthday boy while he kept this one for himself.  The party was only hours away, and the only thing he could do was watch as the toy was gently lifted from his hands and onto the wrapping paper that was laid out on the table.

At the birthday party, the little boy eagerly waited for the part where the presents got opened.  Maybe he could play with Soundwave for just a few moments and sear those images into his mind.  The birthday boy finally unwrapped Soundwave, tore into the box, and tossed the toy aside with little interest.  This was the moment the little boy was waiting for: an unattended Soundwave lying on the floor, waiting to be picked up and played with.  But what happens when little kids see other kids longing for something?  They want it too, for no other reason than to deny that other kid their happiness.  And just like that, Soundwave was lifted away from the little boy's hands for the second time.

As the little boy grew older into adulthood, Soundwave was re-released and re-manufactured, but he was just as popular as before and just as hard to find.  Ebay.com had since been invented and people were selling Soundwave for ridiculously high prices, knowing that there were plenty of people that yearned for this elusive action figure.

Fast-forward a number of years.  This little boy, who has become a full grown adult, wandered the walkways of Frank & Sons, Southern California's largest collectibles show, having accepted the fact that Soundwave was his holy grail and would never be in his possession.  Then all of a sudden, his girlfriend looks up and shouts "Soundwave!"  They had stumbled upon a booth that was selling a Masterpiece Soundwave, the ultimate version of the original toy, which had been released and imported from Japan only one week before.  (Also, the girlfriend had heard the story of this "holy grail" numerous times before, and was probably more excited to stop having to hear about the story than anything.)

Needless to say, the little boy spoke up this time and now no one can take Soundwave out of his hands again. (Except for his girlfriend, when she wants to play with it.)

What's your childhood's holy grail?  [This story is a part of Super Saturday.]