Thursday, November 25, 2021

Cobra Commander's greatest enemy isn't GI Joe, it's a 2-year-old girl

My two-year-old discovered the old lockbox the other day, and she's going to make me pay for it. It's the one made by my grandfather that currently houses all the still-complete action figures I have left in the world. She's not at an age where she'll try to eat them now, but I fear some of still them won't survive the experience.

She's really into the Princess Leia action figures that my sister had, and they're pretty robust for 40+-year things, but her favourites are the most delicate, even though they are clad in their battle armour. 

Of all the GI Joe action figures I bought in the 1980s - and there was a fucking tonne of them - the only two that survive relatively intact today are the Cobra Commander in Battle Armor figure and a Techno-Viper. So of course they're the ones she wants to play with. 

Not the half-dozen Iron Man figures I got at a toy store that was closing down in the late-2000s, not the cheap GI Joes that came out for one of those awful movies. She only wants to play with the ones I have an unhealthy emotional attachment to. 

We got history, man. GI Joe stunted my growth. In 1987 I was 12 and ready to give up on childish toys after years of the limited playability of the Star Wars figures, and then the Cobra Commander was the most amazing action figure I'd ever seen in my entire life when I got it, and I was all about GI Joe for the next couple of years.

And the Techno-Viper, which I got a couple of weeks after that first one, has a scraped chest where I ran him across the edge of a swimming pool in the summer of 1989; the thumbs came off soon afterwards; and his foot is melted from when I got stoned and pushed it against an iron bar heater in the first flat I ever lived in. I know it's sad, but it's still true - my life is encoded in the Techno-Viper's scars.

As chipped and faded as it is, I think it's the bright colours of their painted armor that the kid likes the most. Or maybe the way they rattle around when she shakes them. Whatever it is, they've lasted 30+ years, and they might not last much longer. But the death of toys is inevitable, and if they have to go, they can go out in a blaze of little kid glory. Yo Joe.

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