Skip to main content

Toy Vending Machine Memories

Among my earliest memories is going to the store with my mom and seeing this machine that was a clear box filled with plastic eggs and it had a mechanical chicken inside. At the time my favorite show was Mork and Mindy, and my mom used to give me the plastic eggs her pantyhose came in as toys and I would pretend they were Mork's spaceship. So when I saw this machine that dispensed toys inside plastic eggs, in my mind I saw myself getting 2 toys for the price of 1. Every time we went to the store I would ask for a quarter, but more often than not I was told no. But when I was allowed to have the coin, it was always a banner day. First, I got to see the chicken spin and cluck before my treasure was deposited in the slot. Then I got to open the egg and see the toy I got. It was usually a lump of silly putty or a plastic army man. Then lastly I had another egg to add to my growing Orkian space armada.

After we moved and started going to a different store, the toy vending machines became less exciting. No chickens putting on a show here, they were just boring red boxes filled with cheap junk. I would usually go for candy instead, and my cheap toy fix would get filled by cereal boxes. I did get quote a few "superballs" because something would always happen to them. They would get lost. The dog would chew them to bits. They would get taken away because I knocked over another lamp with them. I also like the ones with stickers, and still do. It was only a few years ago that I found one that had stickers of bears dressed like horror icons. I got Hannibal Lecter, Jason Voorhees and Pinhead. 

I have mentioned before that I went to school in another town, so I didn't really know anyone. As a result I spent a lot of time alone. And I went to a Christian school, where I was a bit of an outcast, so I was very backward when it came to the relations between men and women. Most of what I thought I knew I got from staying up all night watching old movies on t.v. But hormones were beginning to kick in and even though I had no clue what sex was I knew I wanted to have it. Now, this may seem a weird tack for a post about toy vending machines, but it ties in I promise.

I used to walk over to Wal-Mart during the summers to get my lunch from the deli there. One day on my way out I noticed that one of the machines had little miniature zippo lighters. They were 50 cents, double what those machines usually cost. But I could see myself using it to start campfires, light firecrackers, and all sorts of useful things. So I got one. I showed it off to all my friends, who were immensely jealous. Then one night I was watching an old movie, I don't remember what it was. But puberty was making it's presence known. Now in this movie everyone was smoking, as they are wont to do in old movies. I saw a guy light a woman's cigarette in one of those scenes that they used as metaphors for sex. And even though I didn't consciously know what the film makers were doing, my pubescent mind must have picked up on something, because I suddenly had an idea.

In those days I used to hang around outside the grocery store and help women carry their bags, and load their cars. They would give me a little change, which is how I was able to afford deli lunches and mini lighters. At that time too, it seemed like absolutely everyone over the age of 13 smoked. I was still just under that so I did not, but in my mind thanks to those old movies smoking and sex were somehow linked. So it occurred to me that I could go hang around outside of Wal-Mart, and when a women came out and pulled out a cigarette I would be on hand to light it for her. When she saw how debonaire I was she would overlook my mere 11 or 12 years of age and take me to her home and rock my world in some unspecified manner. I went and hung around, and while I was able to make some money carrying groceries, I did not get a chance to light a single cigarette, much less get my world rocked. But this marked a transition point in my life, where I became less interested in cheap toys and more interested in girls. But I'm sure there will be more on that later.


Popular posts from this blog

Movies With My Dad

I have already talked about my first movie experience  with my dad  so I won't repeat it here. Like many memories of my dad it is a mixed bag of good and bad. But that wasn't the only memory of him I have involving movies. He didn't talk about movies a whole lot except to say he loved westerns and wished they would make more of them. But one non-western that came up was Rebel Without a Cause. He found out it was coming on t.v. and raved about it. He told me how much he loved it, and what a great movie it was. He insisted that I had to watch it when it came on. I watched it and let him know. He asked me what I thought of it and I told him I liked it. And that was it. There was no further discussion of the movie and it was never brought up again. But I still think of him whenever I see the movie or anything referencing it. I know it must have been an important movie to him for him to react the way he did, seeing as he rarely talked about movies at all. When I was a little bit

Who Loves You and Who Do You Love

The following post was submitted by Jennifer Lewis. You can find her on Facebook here . There are a lot of cultural icons we can all cite who have impacted our lives, including but not limited to The Beatles, Steven Spielberg, James Dean, John Williams, Marilyn Monroe, George Lucas, Elvis, Harrison Ford, and so on.  With that being said, I want to recognize someone who had star power back in his day, but never rose to the heights of fame as those mentioned, although he has certainly impacted my life.  Richard Dawson (1932-2012).  Richard Dawson’s presence throughout my life is undeniable.  It’s hard to say when and how he first came onto my cultural radar, but I’ll focus on his career and impact chronologically.  Richard Dawson was one of the loveable and heroic members of Hogan’s Heroes, playing British Corporal Newkirk.  His charisma, charm, and good looks in the role won me over, and he was my favorite on Hogan’s Heroes.  I have several memories of watching Hogan’s Heroes with my bi

My Heavy Metal Journey

With most kids, the first music they become familiar with is the music their parents listen to. For me this meant mainly country music and 50's era rock and roll. I knew about KISS as they were the biggest band around when I was a little kid. I had heard Nazareth and Queen, but not much. My musical world was mostly Waylon Jennings and Elvis Presley.  Then my parents got me my own radio. I was about 9. Up to that point I had mostly listened to their record collection. But now I had access to all the things being played on local radio stations. Now, this was a small town so that didn't mean as much as it might have in a more urban area. R&B was not getting played on the radio where I grew up. But among the religious stations and country stations there were one Top 40 station and one rock station. I can still remember finding the rock station. I was dialing across and heard the beginning of a song. It was something different than anything I had really heard before. Even the KI