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Monday, January 14, 2013

My Disappointing Life

I just checked my ticket from Saturday's Powerball drawing. I don't mind not always winning (even though I tend to plan my long term financial future around it), but it would be nice to get just one stinking number right every now and then.
But life is full of disappointment. I should have remembered this lesson from when I was a kid. That's when we learn just how disappointing reality can be.
When I was a kid, I was a full on Star Wars nut. I had every toy character ever made. When they came out with the flying Bubba Fett action figure, I went crazy for it. You had to save up your UPC codes from the box tops to get it (naturally, just as it was with all the best things in life) from the purchase of other action figures. It didn't matter that I already had them all and never saved a single UPC code.
I was like a kid with a drug habit. I would lie, cheat, and steal to get my flying Bubba Fett fix. I was desperate.
I begged for more storm troopers (you can never have too many anyways), I pleaded for extra everything, and (when my habit brought me to my lowest of lows) I even busted the head off of Luke Skywalker, just so I could get another one and the coveted UPC code from the package.
Then, I sent my UPC codes in and waited the 6 to 8 weeks for it to come. Why 6 to 8 weeks? Who in the hell would know? I can click a button now and have my Amazon delivery here before the pizza guy arrives. But back in them days, EVERYTHING took 6 to 8 weeks. They didn't even instill any false hope by saying "up to 8 weeks," oh no, it was 6 to 8, period, end of story.
Exactly 6 to 8 weeks later, my package arrived. I tore open the cardboard and threw the included paperwork off to the side, ready to watch my Bubba Fett take flight around the living room. He never did. He just sat there. Mom eventually picked up the paperwork off the floor and read it...
Apparently, they had sent out the first few Bubba Fett action figures that actually flew (I imagined via rocket propulsion packs). They had landed in the hands of kids who had carelessly sent the things flying into their own eyes and immediately had to stop making them. How unfair is that?!?! Just because some clumsy kid in Ohio (you can only assume) shot his own damned eye out, I had to suffer?!?! Didn't the people at Kenner know that the force was strong in me, and I could handle the awesome power and responsibility of an actual flying Bubba Fett??? Apparently not.
Star Wars wasn't the only source of childhood disappointment though. Who didn't have one of these things, after all? You saw the commercials and thought they were perpetual motion machines that would walk down an entire flight of stairs and then right on out the door.
Instead, they made it down one step and sat there. After five minutes, you never looked at the stupid thing again. A week later, you saw the cat playing with it and didn't care enough to stop him. Another week after that, you found it looking like this, and Dad is yelling at you because he sliced his pinky toe open on the damned thing at the bottom of the stairs. Not to worry though, because relatives will buy you fifty more of them for birthdays and Christmas over the course of the next ten years.
Then there's these little bastards. What kid didn't want to have this family of sea monkeys in their own room, exercising God-like authority over them. Sure, they look happy now, but just wait until I got hold of them and pinched the head off the sea monkey dad. And don't even ask what I had planned for the mom...
You could either pony up the dough outright for them, or bust off some teeth gnawing your way through these rock hard little bricks disguised as bubble gum until you saved up eight matching wrappers and just paid for the postage. I opted for the more economical route of buying a hundred dollars worth of Bazooka Joe until I got the wrappers. You know, because mom was on a budget and all...
What I ended up with, looked something like this, only I remember the water being a lot murkier.
And the happy family of sea horses ended up looking like this, nasty little swimming cockroaches. Needless to say, they all died of apathy in very short order. The good news is...nothing bad ever happened to the mother sea horse. She died, unscathed but starving, along with the rest of the clan.
And finally, there were these. No ten year old boy didn't secretly desire to own a pair of these babies...
...for obvious reasons. I had an entire summer planned around these. I even knew the tree I was going to climb over at the college (just outside the girl's dorm) to try them out! You had to do a lot of secret agent work just to get them. You couldn't exactly tell your mother what you ordering, after all. Then, even after you had embezzled lunch money and implemented a black ops mission to get the stamp, you had to guard the mailbox with your life for...you guessed it...the next six to eight weeks.
Then you finally get them. They are these stupid looking things. A plastic frame with cardboard inserts with holes in the middle that appear to be filled with red dyed chicken feathers. That's right, I said chicken feathers. But even that doesn't stop you from trying them out. You will wear them once anyways...and only once, because what has failed to occur to you even then, is that you are wearing these giant things on your face that say X-RAY GOGS in huge letters across the front of them.
...and, if you're like me and had much older teenage sisters, even though they knew the X-RAY GOGS weren't the "scientific marvel of the century" they were claimed to be, and even though they knew that you couldn't see jack through the chicken feather holes...your days as a voyeur came to an abrupt end, and the X-RAY GOGS never even made it beyond the living room.
But, for as much as life is full of disappointment, it is also full of opportunity. On Wednesday, there is another Powerball drawing! And, for those guys who never grew out of that strange, creepy, X-RAY GOG stage, the TSA is always looking for airport security staff!
So, happy flying everyone. And don't worry, I'm sure they're not looking at you like that. Just in case though, when I do finally hit that jackpot and we are on our way to a life full of traveling, we'll be driving there. Enjoy your flight.

Thanks for reading!


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