Tuesday, August 28, 2007

You didn't have them all unless Santa gave you a BJ

You know what type of person annoys me the most besides toy robot collectors I meet at Wal-Mart in the checkout line? The burnt out, used-to-be toy robot collectors I meet at Wal-Mart in the checkout line. On more than one occasion I'll be buying a roboplastico and a guy behind me will comment on what's in my cart. "Oh yeah I used to be all into those when I was a kid in the eighties. I had them all." And I'm thinking, first off, you're friggin' nineteen years old, jerkwad, and I seriously doubt you were even sentient enough to understand what "having them all" even meant. At that point I am left with two options: a) ignore the moron (which is cruel) and b) throw down with talk of red Bumblebees and yellow Cliffjumpers (which is worse).

To give them the benefit of the doubt I assume we're talking about Transformers from 1984, which are the ones everybody remembers and were the smallest in number so the average person had a good chance at "having them all". However, the average "I had them all when I was a kid" nostalgic fan will not remember specifics about their collection so I don't know why they even bring up that lame claim to fame. If I casually throw out a "Oh? Did you have the red Bumblebee? The yellow Cliffjumper?" I'm met with silence as they realize they've just met the one person in the world who actually gives a shit about the colors of toy robots from 20 years ago. Then they'll bow their heads in stunned contemplation as I shake mine and they realize they didn't "have them all". Crushing the spirit of a stranger who wanted to share their interest in toy robots is really petty and cruel, but what the hell, I'll never see this guy again.

Once in a while I'll meet the one guy who either knows what he's talking about or will lie just to keep going with what has become my absurd toy robot pissing contest interview. When that happens I pull out the nuclear option-"You got a Bumblejumper?" I'll ask. This is usually the easiest way to make pseudo robot nerds cry. Because you may know about red Bumblebee and yellow Cliffjumper-hell, you may even own one or both of them, but chances are you don't own a Bumblejumper. Bumblejumper separates the men from the true robot nerds. Owning a Bumblejumper is the point at which one can no longer consider themselves a valued contributing member of normal society. To own a Bumblejumper is the toy robot equivalent of touching Kubrick's monolith on the moon, except it's sort of the opposite of evolutionary advancement and it makes you more retarded in the eyes of monkeys.

When I was a kid I didn't give a shit that approximately one in every ten Bumblebees was red and one in every ten Cliffjumpers was yellow. When I was a kid I thought miscolored minibots were freak toys and red Bumblebee was retarded and I laughed at the kids who had them. But somewhere between twelve and twenty-two it dawned on me that no collection of '84 Transformers is truly complete without them. Even rarer was Bumblejumper-the unnamed by Hasbro yellow Transformer minicar utilizing the Microchange Mazda Familia 1500XG mold and that came packaged on Cliffjumper cards. It never appeared in the catalogs. The best estimates I've read are that Bumblejumpers were 1 in every 100 Cliffjumpers. Honestly when I first heard of BJs in the mid nineties I thought it was a hoax engineered to make people who didn't have them feel incomplete and inadequate. But I did more research and I concluded that Bumblejumpers did indeed exist and there was no conspiracy making me feel dumb for not having one. I had to pay $40 for my BJ but boy was it worth it.

So I really wonder why people feel the need to throw out that "Had them all when I was a kid" line, because chances are they didn't. Oddly enough, the people who use that line are the 'normal' ones who think grown men with robot collections are dumb. So why do they say it so much? Is the vast majority of well adjusted members of society looking to establish some sort of robot nerd credibility without the stigma of being robot nerds? Why? For some reason people have a sort of robophobia when it comes to admitting they own or have owned toy robots. Freakin robophobes! I would totally buy a shirt with Bumblejumper on it and the caption "No you didn't!" Then when a robophobe comes up to me and says they had them all, I'd just point to my chest and shake my head.


naladahc said...

Never owned one.

Never cared to own one.

Anonymous said...

Does it count if I owned one, but don't any more?

Evil King Macrocranios said...

I think you're both kind of missing the point. Neither of you guys strike me as the kind that would go talking to total strangers at Wal-Mart about how much robots you have or had or will have or whatever. You two seem very comfortable with your robophilia and I wouldn't peg you as robophobic in the least.

I wish I had the balls to just flat out tell the people I meet that I really don't give a shit about how they've blown their retirement money prematurely on toy robots or ninja turtles or what have they. I guess I'm too afraid of getting banned from Wal-Mart after taking a picture inside the store of their selection of nazi shirts.

Weasel said...

I think these random nuts are trying to impress you, or something. Maybe they're just stupid. Yeah, I'll go with that. :)

As for my collecting, I knew I didn't "have them all". I had a grand total of two from my childhood: an Astrotrain and a Powerdasher (jet). I got my first Bumblebee when I was 14 and he was the K-Mart Legends version. I'll never forget it: lousy day at school, being a freshman sucked and lo and behold! I find a Bumblebee hanging on the pegs at my local K-Mart. Ah, good times.

I wouldn't worry about getting thrown out of Wal-Mart. They won't ban you from the store uless you do something completely illegal or you're comp shopping for a rival chain. They don't really give a shit about cameras in the building, trust me. All Wal-Mart gives a shit about is your money. ;)

Anonymous said...

Oh, I got your point all right. I just had a related question.

I've had my fair share of robophobes who've talked to me while I'm looking at Transformers in various stores or at the check out line. I can't tell you how many times I wanted to tell them to shut the hell up. Many times, they have their information wrong (like the guy who claimed to have a 1984 Prime that came with a Matrix I met) or they say whatever is currently out isn't as good as what they grew up with.

Sometimes, they just feel like bragging. "I see you have Alternators Mirage there. I found him two months ago and on sale too. I also have three of every Transformer ever made. So, you want to have some man-on-man action?" I want to beat them all right, but not in the way they want.

Evil King Macrocranios said...

It's hard to get into the mind of someone with extensive skill in competitive toy robot trash talking, I'd guess the answer to your related question would be no, nothing you have ever done in the past counts if you no longer have a physical reminder. In the context of toy aisle pissing contests, all possessions serve not as things owned, but as proof of robot purchases. So you lose because if the internet comes to inspect your house for 1984 roboplasticos, it will find you lacking in the area of Bumblegarglers. This is why it is best to carry an 8x10 of yourself with Peter Cullen at all times.

Weasel said...

I like the idea of beating the hell out of these irritating microbes. I just have to run into one.

Maybe I could practice on Def. I SHOULD, just for the fact that he refuses to call it "Bumblejumper". I think it's cute, he thinks I'm an idiot and won't let me touch the one we have, now, and I suppose one of us is going to Robot Hell. (It should be him, where he can be surrounded by all the Bumblebees that have ever existed, everywhere, everywhen.....)

(....crap. That's where *I* want to be. Okay, "Bumper" "Bumper" "Bumper" "Bumper", now who's going to Robot Hell?)


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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.