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More Perils of Geekdom

September 6th, 2005

Yesterday, Vicky and I were out shopping at Target, when I called her attention to–you guessed it–the Star Wars toy display. It was there that I had discovered the latest goodie from Hasbro: the refurbished Imperial TIE Fighter, now with “larger scale wings!” (Note to non-geeks: In order to reduce the price point, Kenner’s original 1978 TIE Fighter toy had wings which were proportionately much smaller than the ship seen on the movie screen. The mold has been endlessly reused over the years, and this is the first time that its wings have been resized to more closely resemble the film counterpart.)

While I had reservations about plunking down 40 bucks for another large hunk of plastic to stink up my toyroom, I had to admit that the revised ship was very cool. I had brought Vic over not because I thought she would be in any way impressed by its larger scale wings, but because I was trying to talk myself into buying it. Admittedly, it didn’t take much talk, and Vic, being ever so good about these things, gave me the nod.

At the register, the cashier picked up my prize and clucked disapprovingly, “Star Wars? You allow this sort of thing to go on?” The latter was said to Vic, for which of the following reasons?

  • The cashier sensed that Vic was a woman like herself who would naturally look down upon her husband’s interests.
  • Target encourages its employees to kibitz their customers’ purchases.
  • I was six years old, and Vic was actually my mommy. (To be fair, I had been walking through the store holding the box in such a manner to suggest that it was flying, and making occasional engine sounds.)
  • I was not fucking standing right there.

Actually, this was a trick question. None of these were true.

Vic said, in my defense, “There are a lot worse things he could be doing.” That’s been her philosophy all along when it comes to my collection. I don’t get drunk, do drugs, philander or beat her, and as long as we’ve got the money, why not indulge this harmless vice? Besides, she thinks I’m cute when I’m clutching my latest plaything.

This incident occurred a couple of days after another geek vs. cashier moment which I found less irritating and more humorous. This time I was at Meijer, and had just discovered some repainted Clone Trooper action figures: the variant green Clone Commander and the highly sought-after red Shock Troopers. I grabbed two of the latter, as when I’m setting up my displays, I’ve found that having at least two of an “army-builder” figure can suggest the presence of more.

The cashier was younger and a bit friendlier, but she too said, “Star Wars toys?” I replied, “Yes, and I’m not even going to pretend that they’re for someone else.”

“Why do you have two of the same one?” she inquired about the Shock Troopers. “Well, you need to have troops for your army,” I attempted to explain. She still seemed concerned: “I guess you can always pretend that they’re two different people.”

At this point, I made the mistake of trying to reiterate why one might want multiple troopers. However, she was oddly insistent that I would have to pretend that they were different people under their helmets.

“But,” I sputtered, “They’re Clone Troopers! They can’t be two different people!”

It was at this point that I realized I had said too much.

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