Wednesday, December 02, 2009
I was doing a lot of thinking about the nature of hobbies and if I really have any when I recently lost all interest in toy robots during the time I was sick. It was kind of liberating but also scary. If I wasn't sick and suddenly didn't care anymore about my hobbies I would be worried because loss of interest like that is usually associated with early stages of dementia, or suicide. You always hear about the guy who sold off his collection of super rare NASCAR calendars or Franklin Mint Simpsons Collector Plates or Farrah Fawcett posters before he offed himself and really, who wants to be that guy? But the only alternatives according to mental health professionals are you're either a) demented, b) dead or c) the owner of a vast second hand collection of Farah Fawcett posters you got from some demented dead guy. I guess I just stuck with the toy robots thing after 1985 out of inertia because you have to have hobbies, but then try doing that well past adulthood and BAM! It turns out that in the land of NASCAR calendars, somehow grown men buying toy robots is only sligtly more preferable than dementia.
IF I AM NOT COLLECTING WHAT ARE ALL THESE WAL-MART BAGS?
So there's societal pressure on one hand to have hobbies but on the other they have to meet some sort of criteria I've never really understood but I have figured it's not just about being age appropriate. After much pondering it dawned on me that "real" hobbies require some sort of skill like playing a guitar or painting or even at the very least, making those latch hook Care Bear rug kits. It is the constant refining of skills through practice that makes for a rewarding "real" hobby. But I look at this toy robots thing and the only skill it seems to require is finding a good parking spot at Wal-Mart. That's actually harder than it sounds because although the garden center is closest to the toys, sometimes they close while you're in there and you have to go out through the front registers and walk all the hell the way back to your car on the far side of the parking lot. Hey I can say whatever I want about action figure collectors because I used to roll like that when I was in my twenties. I was every horrible thing you could imagine on both sides of the stockroom. I was the corrupt stockboy stashing cases of Star Wars in '95 and I would scalp Treasure Hunt Hot Wheels with the worst of 'em and crap like that. But now that I'm old and senile in my thirties what I call a hobby is even more super pointless than hoarding little plastic people because I never even buy anything. I'm like a birdwatcher but of toy robots. I don't know why I bother wandering down the toy aisles looking at stuff I don't buy-I guess it's just so I can complain that everything sucks compared to 1985. I'm better off being a curmudgeony old robotard because I've see some people's action figure collections and they make me wonder if dementia is actually a better alternative instead of turning your house into a Smithsonian-ish tribute to the last 25 years of the Wal-Mart toy aisle.
IF I DON'T LIKE THESE MOVIES WHERE DID ALL THIS SHIA LEBOUF COME FROM?
I end up in a situation where I feel alienated from the people within my hobby who are really good at toy robots but also from the people outside of it who I imagine are really good at something else. Everyone has to be good at something and the greatest thing I can imagine being good at is having huge pectoral muscles (as Ren Hoek would say). Living here in the Miami area I see lots of incredibly fit beautiful people at the malls. I wonder if aside from being in the same approximate space with them at that moment if we have anything else in common at all. These are no doubt the people with real mature adult hobbies that my stunted man boy mind can't even begin to comprehend, like they probably enjoy watersports and watching Dawson's Creek and sexy fucking. I'll see the occasional incredibly good looking young teenage tan guy who works at Abercrombie & Fitch as a door greeter or whatever he does and I'll think to myself-that guy doesn't check out the toy robots when he's at Toys R Us. That is the defining difference between him and me. Hell, that guy probably never even goes to Toys R Us. We live in entirely different worlds. I know he's probably seen the Transformers movies but that's the one brief point where our intersecting lives meet. Were it not for Michael Bay I wouldn't have anything in common with people I have nothing in common with. It really boggles my mind that there are a whole bunch of people who were born after 1989.
IF I AM NOT CRAZY WHY DO I FEAR MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS?
My point is I was trying to figure out if what I do in relation to toy robots can really be classified as a hobby and if I exhibit traditional fan behavors or if what I have defined as a hobby is something more like alcoholism. Under close examination there are parallels, like I only buy toy robots mostly in a social setting. I wonder if the friends I've made at Botcon are people I really like or if anyone looks good after I've had a couple Zybots. Hell I wonder if I even like Zybots. I wonder if throughout my whole life I've never really been interested in anything so I continued to feign interest in childhood interests so that mental health professionals wouldn't think I was crazy. Well touche', mental health professionals. You got me acting crazy for fear of thinking that if I didn't, people would think I was. But the joke is on you, mental health professionals because I am not going to pay you to cure me. I see now that all I really need is to stop worrying about this insanity and get myself a good hobby.
NEXT TIME ON ROBOPLASTIC DEMENTIOCALYPSE: Latch hook Farrah Fawcett rug calendars!