Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Few Brief Thoughts On Why I Show Off My Toys

An interesting discussion on Alphadrome leads me to ask this question: Why do we show off our collections? Why isn't it enough to get the toys -- or whatever -- we want and then lock them away behind foot-thick doors, safe from prying eyes, sticky fingers, and the ravages of direct sunlight?

Someone pointed out that in Europe, collectors are a little bit more private than their American counterparts. Here in the States, we enjoy showing off our stuff, while across the pond, some of the biggest toy collections in the world are known to only a select few. While I can't speak for everyone, I've gotta say, yeah, I like having a chance to show off my stuff.

I'd be lying if I denied feeling a thrill every time a fellow collector stopped by and ogled a rare piece. And I'm happy to admit that I sometimes enjoy a bit of an ego boost whenever I tell someone about a great score. I'm human. But you know what? None of that's why I do it.

Truth is, I look at my collection like a mini museum, a humble attempt at capturing a certain cross-section of pop culture that thrived for a few decades before succumbing to changing fads. In those heady days before the space race really heated up, before we became mired in the sticky muck of reality, science-fiction toys embraced whimsy with fantastically, impossibly, and often ridiculously designed space ships, ray guns, and, of course, robots. They were inspiring, they were exciting, they were fun! And for no other reason than they could be.

It's easy to forget that, and in forgetting, to lose some of the spirit that drove people to dream the kind of dreams that often leave people standing with mouths agape and a sense of wonder overwhelming their brains.

In these toys we have tangible proof that a time existed when we knew rockets would take us to the colonies at the edge of the solar system. When we knew that robots would help make the world a better place. When we knew that the future wasn't a dark and scary place, but was instead a land of opportunity and adventure.

So okay, that's not how it all turned out. I know that. But looking at these toys makes me smile because I think to myself, "Maybe it's not too late."

And when friends and neighbors occasionally troop through my collection, I'm not hoping they look at the toys and think, "Wow, a Hook Robot!" Heck, none of my friends would know a Hook Robot if I used it to catch a fish. No, I hope they're thinking about how, once upon a time, a long time ago, the future was stuffed with possibilities. And then perhaps they whisper, "Maybe it's not too late."

So that's why I like showing off my toys. I'm showing off the future that never was, but might still be. Because if enough people say, "Maybe it's not too late," well, maybe it's not.

Aren't toys cool? Heck yeah...


  1. Wow, you mean there's people who purposely do not want to show their collection? That's a little weird in my book. I can see why someone would want to retain the value by keeping them sealed, etc., but where's the fun in that?

  2. Beautiful.

    And a heartfelt thanks from my family and I for sharing your awesome collection. We truly appreciate it!

  3. As a friend of mine is fond of saying, we don't know half of the people out there with off-the-hook, astonishingly huge collections. I guess I can sort of understand the thought process, but I agree... where's the fun? But hey, to each his own.

  4. @ Bubbashelby: You're welcome! Glad you're enjoying it!

  5. I like what you sais, I like to show my collection, I am proud of it and I like to hear the comments about my 'hobbie'
    it is fun !


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