Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Some delightful cameos in this lovingly crafted piece of art. I hate it when I see something awesome on the internet and see hundreds of thousands of hits already awaiting me. Well, I'm late to the party on this one, but am posting anyways since GI Joe had a special place in the childhood of Wade, Paul and I, and perhaps you as well.
We almost lost our fathers in a raging Canadian thunderstorm, thanks to GI Joe, and their own incompetence. At the tail end of a summer barbecue, young Wade was excited to unleash the GI Joe parachute pack. He had dutifully clipped his flag points from the boxes and waited 6-8 weeks--a significant portion of his life at that point. His patience was rewarded, as the nice people from Hasbro sent him a backpack accessory that would allow our Joes to parachute away from danger in any missions our imaginations could cook up. Sadly, Wade and I lacked the arm strength to lift a Joe high enough for the parachute to fully deploy--we needed fully developed arm muscles, or at least someone man enough to sport a Burt Reynolds mustache. Wade's dad fit both those criteria, and was fresh off of Red Sox Fantasy Baseball Camp; surely he could throw our toy far enough. Keep in mind this fantasy baseball was back in the mid-1980s and actually involved dressing up in uniforms and living out Kinsella-esque fantasies rather than letting computers juggle the stats of juice pigs. Confusing the two fantasy baseballs would be a faux-pas likened to mixing up a Civil War reenactor vs. a Dungeons & Dragons player.
So after eagerly waiting 6-8 weeks for the parachute pack to work its magic, on the first throw from Wade's dad, it promptly got caught up in the huge oak tree. Throwing other projectiles up couldn't untangle it. Wade's father and my father agreed: with the thunderstorm rolling in fast, they would need to use the aluminum ladder and metal rake to get the action figure out of the tree. While balancing precariously above us, Wade's dad jabbed at the tangled strings while my father held the ladder steady. The rain started to fall, and the sky grumbled and flashed as if filled with a formation of Cobra Rattlers firing their ordinance. Finally, the womenfolk pulled rank, "FRANK GET DOWN FROM THERE RIGHT NOW! YOU'RE NOT GOING TO GET ELECTROCUTED IN A THUNDERSTORM OVER A GODDAMN GI JOE!"
The next morning we retrieved the long-awaited, once-used parachute--tattered, ripped and ruined--from the ground.
That summer also saw the collection-devastating Desert Mission, where Cobra forces dastardly buried many of our Joes in the sand, never to be recovered even though we swear they were "right around here somewhere". On this Veterans' Day, we remember and honor our fallen comrades fighting for freedom wherever there's trouble over land, sea and air in both plastic and corporeal forms.