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

Walt Whitman & Jim Morrison Discuss Nietzsche

(Everything in this post was generated by AI.)   Walt Whitman and Jim Morrison sat at a dimly lit bar, each nursing a beer. They had been talking for hours about various topics, but eventually the conversation turned to the philosopher Nietzsche. "I've always been fascinated by Nietzsche's ideas," Whitman said, taking a sip of his beer. "His belief in the power of the individual, the will to power, and the idea of the Superman." Morrison nodded in agreement. "Yeah, Nietzsche's ideas are definitely provocative. They challenge the traditional views of morality and religion. It takes a lot of courage to live by those ideas, to reject the herd mentality and embrace one's own power."   Whitman smiled. "You know, Jim, I can see why you're drawn to Nietzsche's ideas. Your music has always had a certain rebellious spirit to it, a desire to break free from the constraints of society and live life on your own terms." Morrison chuckl