Friday, January 05, 2007

28 years ago in a Sears far, far away...

Mills Drugstore 05 December 1978
Mills Drugstore 05 December 1978
The first celebrity I ever met in my life was Spider-Man, who did a signing at KMart in 1979 when I was five. I remember he signed a copy of the Amazing Spider-Man comic for me. In hindsight it's pretty stupid to have a copy of Amazing signed by Spider-Man because that devalues the book by about 5,000 percent. But as a kid I didn't think about it from that perspective. This is one of the reasons I cringe when I think about the fate of all the toys I had when I was a kid. Even when I thought I was taking care of my childhood possessions I was doing really really stupid things to them.

'79 was a celebrity studded extravaganza for me because I also got to meet Darth Vader that year. My parents took me and my sister to Sears for one of those in-store events where there was a "special appearance" by Darth Vader. At first I was all excited to meet him because Darth Vader was a couple steps up the celebrity ladder from Spider-Man. Hell, he was the top rung of awesome because although the Death Star was all blowed up in '79, he was technically still presiding evil king of the universe. When I got wind of what was going on I was sooo hyped up excited. So was my sister, who was a year younger than me but about 200 times more brave.

Midland Mercantile 05 December 1979
Midland Mercantile 05 December 1979

We got to Sears a little bit before Vader made his appearance and this gave us time to see that the employees totally pimped out the Sears toy section in grand Star Wars style. There were tons and tons of Star Wars figures and spaceships and crap. It was fantastic. The selection towered above me (which wasn't too hard to do because I wasn't much taller than the box the Millenium Falcon came in). I swear it seemed as if they had Star Wars toys for miles. In actuality it was probably just two four foot sections plus an endcap, but when I was five even that much was a vast endless supply of bounty stretching far beyond the limits of human comprehension.

Mills Drugstore 09 December 1979
Mills Drugstore 09 December 1979
So then it's Vader time and the other children and parents crowded around the small stage the Sears employees set up. There were smoke machines going off and then the guy dressed up as Vader came out and the kids got in line to meet him. I was so excited. I could not believe this was happening, me being all ate up about Star Wars as I was. Then it was my turn to shake hands with the galaxy's most twisted master of evil himself. I don't remember much about what happened because shortly after I came face to face with him I passed out from fright. There is a polaroid snapshot my mom took that shows the moment I began crying because I was so scared shitless. Also I peed myself. This was apparently amusing to all the other children and parents because everyone is laughing in the photo, including my four year old sister. I think this painful event in my life is why I am in Antarctica right now 27 years later, still trying to outrun the shame.

Sears 13 December 1979
Sears 13 December 1979

Well once I regained consiousness and the bad Vader man was far far away, my dad tried to make me feel better and he told me I could pick any toy I wanted from the Star Wars aisle. He wasn't too happy when I picked the Millenium Falcon because it was like thirty bucks. But he got that for me and my sister got the 12 inch Princess Leia doll (which I secretly wanted too). I just wanted to grab my Millenium Falcon and get the hell out of there, away from the laughing employees and cruel other children and that bastard Darth Vader. But as we were driving home in the family van I opened the Falcon and discovered it was missing a piece, namely the little blue seat in the gunner's turret. My mom was insistent that we return to the store and exchange it for a complete Falcon but I didn't ever want to go back there and I think my pants were still wet. I guess me pleading "NO NO MOMMY" a billion times wasn't enough to get her to forgive crappy Kenner quality control. We went back to the store and got another Falcon. Or at least my mom and my sister did while I cowered in the back corner of the van and wept uncontrollably while I combed Princess Leia's beautiful Star Puffs hairdo.


naladahc said...

You MUST find and scan that photo of you and Vader!

There is not try... there is on SCAN and POST!

Smurfwreck said...

I second that motion for the picture.

Evil King Macrocranios said...

HA! Like that's going to happen. There are limits to the lengths I will go to embarrass myself on internets. You guys are out of luck unless my mom starts blogging.

Nightowl said...

I'll third the motion for the picture


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Evil King Macrocranios was voted king by the evil peoples of the Kingdom of Macrocrania. They listen to Iron Maiden all day and try to take pictures of ghosts with their webcams.