I did something stupid when I was 22, lo those many decades ago. I had just graduated college and was not only moving away from home for the first time, but was moving away from my hometown and my home state for the first time in my life. Like many a young person before and since, I was stepping out into the world truly on my own for the first time. To my way of thinking at the time, I had become an adult.
And that type of thinking was what made me do something stupid. I gave away all my toys, games and comic books. All of them. Nearly two decades’ worth of stuff gathered throughout the 1970s and 1980s, stuff worth hundreds if not thousands of dollars even back then. I was an adult suddenly and wouldn’t need all that stuff any more. Right?
You have to keep in mind, it was a different time back then in the early 1990s. Geek culture as we know it today was not yet a thing. Oh, Star Wars and Dungeons & Dragons and the like had large followings back then, but they were still considered part of a sub culture, something for young people if not children. Wider acceptance of such things was still a decade or more away.
Still, I don’t offer that as an excuse. I was an idiot.
I’d grown too old for my heroes, or so I thought.
So what all did I give away? What all did I not even bother to try and sell? Tons of stuff. I’m sure I’ll never even be able to remember everything I lost from my stupidity.
But I do remember some things, many number of some things.
First off, you Star Wars fans will cringe when I tell you I gave away my Death Star. Yes, the Death Star Space Station, the great big Kenner toy that came with four levels, an elevator, the infamous trash compactor, and an exploding laser cannon. Sigh. And when it came to early Star Wars action figures and toys, the Death Star was not all I got rid of. There was also the Cantina Adventure Set, the Hoth Ice Planet Adventure Set, the Mini-Action Figure Collector’s Case, the Landspeeder, the Land of the Jawas Action Playset, the X-Wing Fighter, the Imperial Tie Fighter, the Darth Vader Tie Fighter, and at least 200 action figures.
Oh, the humanity.
But that was just the beginning of what I lost to stupidity.
There were the comic books. Oh, the comic books. Thousands upon thousands of them, most from the mid-1970s to about 1990, though there were plenty from the 1960s. Spider-Man, Superman, Batman, the Fantastic Four, Captain America, Green Arrow, all these heroes and plenty of others went to friends and friends of friends. Even all the graphic novels I had collected went to others.
Also going to friends and strangers was my massive collection of tabletop RPG materials. I had a complete collection of every hardback book published for First Edition Dungeons & Dragons, plus I had plenty of materials for other games, such as Star Frontiers, Boot Hill, FASA’s Dr. Who, Car Wars, Revolt on Antares, and many, many more. It would only be a few years later when I would realize what a fool I had been when I came across adult co-workers who played tabletop RPGs, and I could’ve kicked myself for getting rid of all that I had had.
And the video games. Oh, the video games. My Atari 2600 and my Intellivision II and my Odyssey 2, all went away, along with the hundreds of game cartridges I had collected throughout the ’80s.
There were also plenty of other games and toys. I had plastic NASA rocket ships, numerous board games, Jaws toys, and tons upon tons of army men, the familiar green and some cavalry in blue. Of the toys, the one I miss most even to this day is the massive Navarone Playset, a giant plastic mountain larger even than the Death Star set, with more than one cannon, a plastic map sheet, working elevator and even more army men, green for the U.S. and gray for the Germans.
And I can’t forget all the cards, the baseball cards, the football cards, Star Wars cards, and more. Heck, I was even stupid enough to dump my 1963 Pete Rose rookie card.
Of course I realized within five years what a colossal mistake I had made, but it was far too late. Since those days three decades ago, I have recollected some of what I gave away, though not most of it.
From a purely monetary point of view, I had been foolish, but in fairness to me eBay and Amazon and Craigslist didn’t exist back then, weren’t even created yet let alone on my radar. What was worst of all, though, was not that I had given away mere things, mere items, but I had also given away my childhood.
And there was the truth that I had given away my heroes. Luke Skywalker was gone, as was Batman and Han Solo and the Doctor and so, so many others. Fortunately I could recover many of my fictional heroes through collections and new movies and shows and the like, but the wonder I had had for those heroes had been somewhat squandered, even tarnished. Even now I feel pangs of regret over my stupid actions.
At least my heroes were always with me in my heart and mind, where they reside to this day. Still, I’ll never do such an awful deed again, believe me. I need my heroes, as do we all, and I hope to never part with them again.