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« Home Now | Main | Perchance to dream... »

May 08, 2002

The Trade

When I was a kid, I traded my Death Star for a Land Speeder and 5 bucks.

The kid who talked me into the trade wasn't really a friend by choice. He was the son of some of my mom and dad's friends, and we'd play together at his house while our parents listened to Fleetwood Mac in the den with the door closed, giggling about stuff that just didn't make sense to me, at all.

So we were like prisoners of war, forced share a cell together, knowing that once the war was over, we'd never talk again.

I was aware of this situation, even at 8, so I was naturally skeptical of anything he offered me. He was already 10, and in Double Digits, so I knew that I should be a little wary of him.

The offer came to me one afternoon in his backyard, next to his parent's swimming pool. I'd brought over my Death Star and some Star Wars figures, so we'd have something to do. There was no way I was going to endure a repeat of the last time I'd been there, where I my only entertainment was watching him organize and gloat over his collection of exotic matchbooks.

So we were sitting by the pool, which was doubling for the shore of an exotic new planet, where the Death Star had been relocated. He drove up his Land Speeder, and as he began to help his passengers out, I casually admired it.

He immediately offered a trade, but I declined. There was no way I was about to give up my Death Star for a Land Speeder that didn't even have any obvious guns.

He expressed some shock at my reluctance, showing off its exciting and retractable wheels, and exquisitely-detailed dashboard sticker.

Although I was intrigued, I resisted. I really liked my Death Star. It had a cool Trash Compactor Monster.

He then let me in on a secret that only the ten year olds knew: Death Stars were lame. Land Speeders were cool.

This was news to me, and gave me pause for consideration. Did I really want to keep this Death Star, knowing that it was lame? How many of the Big Kids were laughing at me while they raced their own Land Speeders around, as I sat with my Death Star, wheel-and-stickerless?

While I wondered about this, he made a very generous offer: He would trade me the Landspeeder for the Death Star. He didn't need to worry about what the other kids thought, he told me, because he also had an X-Wing Fighter and Darth Vader's TIE-Fighter. This combination, he went on, was even cooler than a Land Speeder, so he was alright.

While I considered this new information, he made me an offer I couldn't refuse. He would give me five bucks to sweeten the deal.

Five bucks?!

I didn't need to hear another word.

I made the trade, willingly handing over the deed to my Death Star without so much as a handshake. He gave me the Land Speeder, followed by five bucks from the front pocket of his Rough Riders. Shortly after that, my parents came out of the house, telling me that it was time to go home, after a stop on the way to pick up many bags of potato chips and pretzels.

Now, I know this seems like a shitty trade, because it was, but at the time, five bucks was as good as one million, and that Land Speeder did have wheels, man! WHEELS!

With those wheels, I thought, I could ferry four of my Star Wars figures across my kitchen floor with just one push!

One push was all it would take for Princess Leah and Luke Skywalker escape the dangerous prison The Empire had built from Tupperware cups and a Styrofoam drink cooler in the shadow of my parent's refrigerator! They could be accompanied on their journey to the safety of the Rebel base, which was cleverly hidden from the Empire beneath the breakfast table, by C3P0 and R2-D2, who would be attached to the back of their seats via amazing foot-peg technology! This vehicle was all that stood between the rebel alliance and victory! I couldn't believe that I had even considered for a moment not trading my very un-cool Death Star for this magnificent chariot.

The entire drive home, I sat on the back seat of the 1971 VW Bus, paying no attention to the cool strains of the Grateful Dead playing out of the 8-track. My mind was focused on the coming prison escape, and ensuing battle, where I just knew the Empire would enlist the help of GI Joe and He-Man. Good thing Luke and company had this new Land Speeder to get them out of danger!

Sadly, once I was home and on the kitchen floor, the reality of the trade did not meet the grand build up it had been given by my young imagination. That single push did not send my heros to quick safety. Rather, it sent them forward about 6 inches and to the left, coming to an anticlimactic rest against the front of the dishwasher. Only the constant presence of my grimy 8 year-old fist would give them adequate propulsion away from danger. And the foot-peg technology was quickly replaced by the more reliable scotch-tape-and-rubber band technology.
The novelty of rolling that Land Speeder around the floor quickly wore off, and I really missed my Death Star.

Fortunately, all was not lost: I had that five bucks. Five bucks to spend anyway I wanted. I was rich, man. Filthy rich, and that made me a god amongst the kids on my block.

For weeks I sat in my bedroom, atop my Chewbacca bedspread, holding that 5 dollar bill in my hands, just looking at it, admiring it, basking in the glow of unimaginable wealth while the noe-forgotten Land Speeder gathered dust in the back of my closet, behind Mister Machine and a partially completed model of the USS Arizona.

I capriciously thought of ways to spread my new found wealth amongst the other kids in our group...A pack of Wacky Packs stickers for Scott Anderson, some Toffifay for Joey Carnes, maybe even the invitation to Kent Purser to play doubles on Galaxian, my treat.

I was going to be very generous with my new wealth. I was going to be an 8 year-old philanthropist. Maybe I'd set up a foundation for the kids around the corner, who always wore the same clothes and smelled funny.

Maybe I'd stand outside the doors of Sunland Discount Variety, offering low-interest loans to kids wanting to play Gyruss or Star Castle.

I even thought about opening a savings account at the local Crocker Bank, where I'd get my own passbook and a set of Crocker Spaniels as a thank you gift.

Ultimately, though, like any normal 8 year-old, I kept it for myself, and there was a brief but shining moment in the summer of 1980, when I was allowed to ride my bike all the way to Hober's Pharmacy, stopping at every intersection to check the front pocket of my two-tone OP shorts to ensure that my 5 dollar bill, which I'd folded into a tight little square and tucked into my Velcro wallet, hadn't somehow escaped my possession. I took that five bucks, and bought myself Wacky Packs, a Slush Puppy, and enough surgical tubing to make several water weenies. I even had enough left over after playing Bagman, Donkey Kong, and Asteroids Deluxe to take a chance on the intimidating wall of buttons that was Stargate. It was one of the grandest days of my young life, and helped soften the disappointment that came when my friend Stephen proclaimed that my Land Speeder wasn't "rad", but "sucked."

I recently went back to Sunland, hoping to pick up a Slush Puppy, and maybe see one or two of the phantoms of my youth haunting those stores, but they were nowhere to be found. I ended up getting a Mellow Yellow-flavored Slurpee from 7-11 and heading back home, where I spent some time looking for that Land Speeder in my garage.

I don't know why, but I still have it. There's an inscription on the bottom which proclaims "THIS IS WIL'S LaNdSPEEdR! kEpP YOU hANdS OFF OF It OR ELSE!!"

I took it out of the box, and dusted it off. I held it in my hands for the first time in twenty years, and suddenly that trade didn't seem like such a bad idea, after all.

Look out, Darth Vader. You can build your Prison Fortress on my kitchen floor, but the Rebel Alliance has a new escape pod on the way, and you'd better "kEpP YOU hANdS OFF OF It OR ELSE !!"

Posted by wil at May 8, 2002 01:05 PM
Comments

I was going to say what Gabe said at 1:20. And what PMacca said. WRITE A BOOK! I would so buy it.

Posted by: tammy at May 8, 2002 09:03 AM

Great post, Wil!

Ya know the really funny thing? That Deathstar is probably on the trading floor of some collectible show right now for $5! And nobody knows that it was once previously owned by Unca Willie himself!!

Posted by: dcigary at May 8, 2002 09:08 AM

This is your best post since I've been reading WWDN.

Not trying to pleasure your balloon knot in a very public way, I'm just saying...

It is.

Posted by: Spudnuts at May 8, 2002 01:13 PM

Ahh, the good ol days. :)
You made a good trade, you have memories!
You know this is really all about the fact that you are going to be 30 soon and hence and "old man" :P

Posted by: NephraTari at May 8, 2002 01:14 PM

Wil you always amaze me. The range of your
subject matter AND emotions are always immediatly
identifiable..and genuine. I love you Wil for
being so real . Thanks for this site..the posse
loves you too!!!

Posted by: bluecat/redblanket at May 8, 2002 01:15 PM

I have a Death Star I can sell you.

Posted by: CSC at May 8, 2002 01:16 PM

Pretty cool story. You should write books, you're really good at storytelling!

Posted by: Gabe at May 8, 2002 01:20 PM

*applause!*

This is why I keep coming back.

You have THE GIFT.

Thanks, Wil.

ps. It certainly made me wax nostalgic this afternoon. I had the LAME/COOL Landspeeder too. Such happy days.

Posted by: Maia at May 8, 2002 01:22 PM

LoL!

That was a great story Wil!

I laughed really hard about the match book collection. I wonder what that kid is doing now. He sounds like a perfect candidate for being a used car salesman!

Posted by: Haley Comet at May 8, 2002 01:22 PM

wil,

your ability to not only remember, but conjure exactly those moments of youthful emotion is breathtaking. you are truly a talented writer, and i am consistently surprised by how much your words move me.

rock the hell on,
christy

Posted by: christy at May 8, 2002 01:24 PM

You did better than I. My Star Wars stuff gained battle damage from black cats and other light explosives.

Posted by: ika at May 8, 2002 01:24 PM

Amazing story telling. It's funny what we remember from our childhood. Just imagine all the adventures + days we've forgotten.

You're a lot deeper than your 2 dimensional character on a TV show I paid little attention to.

Posted by: Classic Bad Joke Guy at May 8, 2002 01:25 PM

Man, that brought back some memories, bus and all.

I wonder if I still have my "crapy un-rad" land speeder?

Posted by: t e s at May 8, 2002 01:28 PM

Wil, reading your story reminded me of the time when I was 9, and I traded my Barbie wedding dress to my cousin for several inferior dresses. I knew at the time that it was a bad trade, but she was my cousin! And she was from out of state! At least you got some money out of the deal. ;)

Posted by: Snowmaiden at May 8, 2002 01:29 PM

Yes - amazing story, amazing range of stories, as a matter of fact (yesterday's vs. today's)...

And also my pick for the best post yet :)

Wil, you never cease to amaze me - thank you.

Posted by: SpaceCadet at May 8, 2002 01:29 PM

Wow....to be a kid again. You really have a way of bringing it all back!

Posted by: jessie at May 8, 2002 01:30 PM

Wow....to be a kid again. You really have a way of bringing it all back!

Posted by: jessie at May 8, 2002 01:30 PM

wow...to not be a dumbass...sorry about the double post!

Posted by: jessie at May 8, 2002 01:32 PM

Heh. Your parents were COOL. ". . .telling me that it was time to go home, after a stop on the way to pick up many bags of potato chips and pretzels." Heehee.

Posted by: Blanche at May 8, 2002 01:34 PM

Back in the day, I made my Lea and Han action figures kiss so much their lips rubbed completely off.

I am such a girl.

Posted by: Interplanet Janet at May 8, 2002 01:35 PM

Oh man, did the memories come flooding back with this one. I remember going next door to Steve Langolf's house and playing Star Wars. I didn't have any vehicle, just the action figures. But, he had The Millenium Falcon, the X-Wing Fighter and a TIE-Fighter. He also had the Land Speeder, but I don't recall if he had Death Star or not. He had all the cool stuff. He even had a Green Machine™.

The girls in the neighborhood thought I was weird cuz I wanted to play Star Wars instead of Strawberry Shortcake. SW was more fun to me.

"Memories, light the corners of my mind. Misty water colored memories......"

Posted by: sarcastic cheese at May 8, 2002 01:35 PM

I'll trade you Jar Jar for the Land Speeder and $20.

Posted by: Fred Fowler at May 8, 2002 01:36 PM

That story was so real, it pulled me right in. I could swear that I was sitting on your shoulder the whole time. Well not really cause I'd squish ya. ;)

I remember the whole cool and lame thing, being a shy wallflower type, I would do almost anything to be "cool". As I have gotten older all of that doesn't matter so much.

Posted by: Bleu at May 8, 2002 01:38 PM

Definitely one of your best posts, ever, Wil. Right up there with seeing the most beautiful woman on the beach and extended warranty hell :).

Posted by: Shell at May 8, 2002 01:38 PM

Wil,

I just started reading your blog this week and love it. This tale was one I could relate to on a lot of levels. Keep them coming. :)

-Scott

Posted by: scott at May 8, 2002 01:39 PM

Nothing, I mean, nothing was cooler than that trash compactor with the little monster, styrofoam trash and the crank to make the wall close in. Many a stormtrooper bought the farm in there I can tell you!

Then one of my friends got the AT-AT. Then nothing was cooler than that!

Posted by: soapbox jon at May 8, 2002 01:40 PM

That was pure gold Wil.....
I'm turning 30 in 2 days.....
man, do i know what you're talking about lately....
for the record...i had the deathstar as well, but never did get my hands on the landspeeder....

Posted by: Tyson at May 8, 2002 01:41 PM

This reminds of that Aquabats song, Play Doh. A lot.

and yes, the landspeeder did kind of suck.

Posted by: rudezombie at May 8, 2002 01:44 PM

I was recently over my parents house when my mom bust out my old death star play station - complete in the box! I couldn't believe she held onto it all these years. I'm so happy. She also saved my Marvel Comics Super Heores lunch box - it's like new! W00T!

Posted by: GMB at May 8, 2002 01:45 PM

Its stories like these that makes me think, "G.I. Joe, Where are you?!"

Posted by: ze-mag at May 8, 2002 01:48 PM

Hi Wil,
Great post. I am an older guy and I just bought my 16 year old son a 1971 VW bus. I actually drove it to work today, car trouble. Yeah car trouble !! The memories I have just sitting in it. People give me the look as I scream down the freeway at 60 MPH, if I lean forward. I just turn up the volume on the CD with Steely Dan taking me back. Even the smell of the exhaust takes me back in time. Thanks for the ride, Wil

Posted by: Mark at May 8, 2002 01:48 PM

Ok, I can't believe you mentioned 'Gyruss'. You've got a true talent for bringing back memories, that's for sure.

I remember one of the most glorious days of my youth -- I was visiting my local arcade, and I was in a mood where nothing was important except getting a high score. On this particular day, the object of attention was Tempest.

My mom had given me $1.00 to play while she went shopping. I ended up finishing the game and the owner gave me a free quarter for any game I wanted. I think I still have it somewhere... :)

Posted by: dennis at May 8, 2002 01:53 PM

Wil, have you ever considered putting all of your little narratives like this into a book? I'd buy it! This is one of the bests posts I've read from you! Grand!

Posted by: Pmacca01 at May 8, 2002 01:57 PM

That was wonderful Wil. Thank you for sharing that. Priceless.

It reminded me of my brothers Landspeeder. He got it on his Birthday. I don't remember how old he was, but I do remember he was in the first grade. I had not yet begun kindergarten. My mother had invited his entire class over for a birthday party. She did this for both my brothers and my sister, but not for me. (Bitch) Anyway, I was not allowed to play any games or have any cake or even be around. So I was stuck in my boring room which I shared with my sister who was 9 years older than me. She was not there at the time so I was expected to spend the entire afternoon in there by myself. I was greatly offended by this. Hell they could have checked up on me or something. So in an angry bitter mood I snuck out to get a peek. There were all these older people kids around who I did not know. My brother and his friends were outside on the patio playing with that LandSpeeder. I went out to watch them and was yelled at and told to go back to my room. I did what any young ignored child would do. I watched a few more minutes of him and his friends playing. It looked like so much fun. So I ran and grabbed it. I tried to run off with it so I could play with it. Only I was tackled by my brother and his friends. We all fell...on top of it. Within hours of owning it, the Landspeeder had been broken. He got very upset with me and for years complained about it. My mom bought him a new one the next day. It was years before he let me play with it. Hmm I think I'll get him a Landspeeder for his birthday this year.


Wil did your parents smoke pot back then?
I'm a little dense, but it seemed to be in there.

Oh side note - When I was a kid I would play with my Star Wars People in my doll house. I hated doll house people. I would use R2D2 as the toilet. I would flip him over with his feet on the floor. My Doll house lacked such things and it only seemded natural to me at the time. I wonder if anyone else made the R2D2 Toilet connection.

Posted by: Stargazer at May 8, 2002 02:00 PM

good story.

funny too

Posted by: dave at May 8, 2002 02:00 PM

Why were we always suckered in by those kids? My "bad trade" was a COBRA H.I.S.S. tank for the blue S.N.A.K.E. battle armor. I was caught by the glittering armor which would make me all but indestructable ... "Bring it on G.I. Joe!"

Yeah, less than a week later those darn pieces didn't stick together anymore, just the legs of the armor. So I had a Destro figure with big armored legs walking around stiff-legged like Frankenstein in the old black and white movie. *sigh* But I still had fun ... I guess ...

Posted by: tj at May 8, 2002 02:06 PM

You got hosed. For $5, I've got 3 words for ya: All. Syrup. Squishee.

'Nuff said.

;)

Posted by: Gwalchmai at May 8, 2002 02:09 PM

Great Story!!

WACKY PACKAGES!! I remember those. Heck, my early years were spent doing anything I could to build the biggest collection on the block. All the kids had'em.

Can anyone remember any? I remember Comet cleanser was called vomit but that's about it. Is there any way to find them on-line?

I Wonder.

Thanks for sharing Wil. I certainly brought a smile to my face as I reflected on youthful days.

-AM

Posted by: Airmarshal at May 8, 2002 02:13 PM

Being only 20 years old, I was born in '82. But I do remember my Star Wars, but I was a big Ewoks fan growing up. Wicket was my hero. I only had a C-3PO for action figures though. Now my two younger brothers on the other hand, they were really into it a few years back and have like everything... they don't play with them anymore. It's fun being an 80s child...

Posted by: ayngil at May 8, 2002 02:15 PM

Airmarshal said:

>> WACKY PACKAGES!! Is there any way to find them on-line?

http://www.wacky-packs.com/

Posted by: Spudnuts at May 8, 2002 02:21 PM

There's a little piece of you, though, isn't there, that eventhough you connect with the whole memory now, would love to find this little punk and explain to him that a Deathstar is worth more than a Landspeeder and $5...right? C'mon. Admit it.

Course, really, to be a true enthusiast (even as a kid) you'd have to find away to end up with both the Deathstar and the Landspeeder. Hmm...

And, in a face off, who wins...the combined forces of GIJoe and Cobra? Or the Rebel Alliance and the Empire?

You really got me thinking here...thanks for the sharing!

Posted by: ColinMochrie at May 8, 2002 02:22 PM

Great story!

It brought back memories of the time my twin sister and I got a sandbox in our backyard. My friend came over that day and he and my sister proceeded to build tunnels throught the entire sandbox. Now the rebels had a brand new underground hideout complete with secret passage ways and ammunitions stores; now they had a chance!

I, on the other hand, never really liked building stuff. So, with my newly budding sexual curiosity, I began to pretend my action figures were having sex with Princess Leia. After a couple hours, my sister and friend had an entire underground base while I had Luke, Lando, Superman, Chameleon (that cool G.I. Joe character who changed colors in the sun!), Cobra Commander and a whole host of figures lined up to have their way with poor Leia.

By the end of that summer, the sandbox was trashed and Leia's plastic legs were completely bent out.

Ahh.. childhood memories :)

Posted by: digmon at May 8, 2002 02:27 PM

Jeez, I didn't do that much trading when I was little. Some, but not that much. I'm still a hoarder. When I have something I like, nothing can make me part with it. OTOH, if I don't want it, I couldn't care less. And many of my toys were weird enough that the neighborhood kids didn't want them (I loved building toys and jnk that I got from Edmund's Scientific when I would visit with my dad; `s where I get my tinkering gene even now).

Aside from that, though -- Wil you have the blarney. As as actor, you rock. As a writer, you rock.

Posted by: Janis Cortese at May 8, 2002 02:40 PM

Ahhh, memories! I'm fairly new to the site & this is your best post yet. I too made lame Star Wars trades in order to get my legion of stormtroopers with which to take over the galaxy. Sadly this never happened, but the memory lingers on.

Posted by: ExAstris at May 8, 2002 02:42 PM

I too, loved your wordsmithing. It gave me the actual feel of "making believe".

I was too old to play with Star Wars figures and too cheap (read: spent it on "other things") to save them as collector's items.

I DID, however, see Star Wars while doing a "hit" of windowpane. We sat in the FRONT ROW!

Of course, we "peaked" too late and all of a sudden the end credits rolled. I kept waiting for it to really get good.

"That's IT!?" "What a gip!" "Jesus, I'm thirsty. Let's go back to the car and have a beer."

But oh, the days I would play make believe games on the kitchen floor.

Why was the kitchen floor so much more interesting to play on than the floors in our own rooms, which offered far more privacy (necessary for true reality suspension), even if we shared them with a sibling or two?

Posted by: Jim at May 8, 2002 02:59 PM

Wil,

You have the gift of words, my friend. Have you considered writing a novel? Maybe even a short story. If anything, you could write under a pen name. Hell, I'd read it.

Posted by: Glynn at May 8, 2002 03:00 PM

I'm sure I'm just repeating what everyone else said but that was a great story. You really have quite a lot of talent for writing have you thought about actually writing a book? If not you should.

Posted by: SpriteHex at May 8, 2002 03:00 PM

i never had the action figures :(
we were too poor to get that stuff.. you all sux!
:(

Posted by: hops at May 8, 2002 03:03 PM

Well, the land speeder might not have been "Rad" but the post sure was!" I think that brough bitter sweet memories back for all of us about trading our favorite toys, or were swindled out of, haha. The 80's Rock!

Posted by: Marie at May 8, 2002 03:10 PM

WHOA!

Sorry. Dozed off there for a moment.

Did I get any mail?

Do cars fly?

Posted by: Alex7000 at May 8, 2002 03:13 PM

Wil, a lot of stuff like that happened to me, you seemed like such an adorable kid!

Posted by: Hallie at May 8, 2002 03:14 PM

hmph...i only had 1 star wars figure was a luke sky walker
we wuz poor..and i only got that one cuz some kid at school threw it at me yelling your dad took my papaws job (long story)
i went home stuck that bad boi on my nifty kite meh dad had made me outa a garbage bag and some little wood i dunno whats got out yee ol massive roll of string and sent mr. skywalker for a little "ride" i enjoyed that unfortunately i had let out way to much string and was no way i was winding all that back in ...i meber thinking ...well luke i hope you find brads pawpaw cuz i recon he aint got squat to do right now and cut that string laughing maniacly...maybe not maniacly but well he threw it at me i was ticked
and yess all u peeps that had star wars figures ...suck lollll....cmon hops lets get a kite and a landspeeder heh
very good story wil ;)

Posted by: fess1of9 at May 8, 2002 03:22 PM

Best post ever.

The last two posts have been stunning. I didn't see this one coming after the last.

Please keep writing.

Posted by: Scott at May 8, 2002 03:39 PM

Thanks Wil.

I think you managed to express why I'm excited about the latest Star Wars movie. I guess its not necessarily how good or bad the movie is (although it is still a little important), but it's the memories that come back when the words "STAR WARS" flash on the screen and the trumpets begin to blare. I'll be 29 in September, so yes the 30 bug is just starting to set in, and childhood memories are becoming more and more important.

Thanks again

Posted by: Ironwolf at May 8, 2002 03:41 PM

Wil... actually i think you made out really quite well. You still have the landrover and if its in good condition, toss it up on ebay and look at the cash it will bring in..

Posted by: Jerry at May 8, 2002 03:47 PM

I loved the post, you tell the best stories. They bring real images in my head, even though I wasn't there I can totally picture the whole thing. If you ever right a book let us know, I will get one as quickly as I can.

Eppy

Posted by: Eppy at May 8, 2002 03:58 PM

Brilliant, Wil.

And this captures that age perfectly:

> for a Land Speeder that didn't even have any obvious guns.

Meanwhile, my brother and I had both
the Death Star AND the landspeeder.
How cool were we?
So very cool indeed.

That trash compactor really was the coolest thing ever.
Especially the foam bits of trash!
All bright green and blue!
And it all compacted so nicely.

But we never had the damn Millennium Falcon.
Our cousin had that.
He was really too stingy to be allowed
to have the Millennium Falcon.

I always wanted to have like a hundred stormtroopers.
Darth Vader was always so sad that he had but three
stormtroopers to accompany him on his evil missions.
And one of them had arms that were too loose to do
anything but hang ineffectually at his sides,
and the other stormtroopers made fun of him all the time
and called him names and always made him go out and
get shot first.

He was their stormtrooper bitch.

Someday, when I am ridiculously wealthy,
I shall buy myself one hundred stormtroopers,
and make my childhood dreams come true.

It probably won't be the same.

Posted by: mondae at May 8, 2002 04:03 PM

Really fantastic post. It carries with it the years of experience that are Uncle Willy, but somehow manages to maintain the wonder and innocence that we all try to maintain when we're telling our childhood stories. I'm going to go write now. ;)
thanks wil

Posted by: Keyglow at May 8, 2002 04:06 PM

God I love reading your stories...You Wil, are a truly amazing wordsmith...your words take me back to fond memories of my youth. I remember playing with my Starwars action figures with the boys down the street. Thanks for reminding me of these oh-so-sweet memories.

Posted by: Demi at May 8, 2002 04:10 PM

isn't nostalgia the greatest thing? it amazes me how the simplest memory can have such a powerful effect on us as adults. when i was a kid i remember waiting by the mailbox every day for weeks, for my "funny face jollie ollie orange ramp walker". (you're probably to young to remeber "funny face" drink mix, wil. in the 60's and 70's it was pillsbury's version of kool-aid.) then one day, like manna from heaven, it arrived! a nieghborhood bully took it from me and broke it one day and i was heartbroken. i wiped the incident from my mind for many years. then suddenly it all came back to me in a flash like a recovered memory of childhood abuse. i raced to the computer and logged onto ebay. thank the good lord for ebay! there it was. absolutely mint with the original string and coin weight still attached! it cost me fifty bucks, but what price can one put on their most prized childhood toy? my friends think i'm nutz for paying $50 for a little bit of orange plastic, but it would be the first thing i'd grab from my burning home! ahhh, childhood's sweet memories. they're priceless!

Posted by: davidjay at May 8, 2002 04:25 PM

Until just now, *real* writers had always been older than me.

Posted by: wand'ring minstrel at May 8, 2002 04:38 PM

Great Wil!

Loved your story. I am a bit of a writer myself and your stuff is truly inspiring! I hope you will decide to publish some of your material soon!

Posted by: Nic T at May 8, 2002 05:01 PM

That is the best story. EVER.

Posted by: jl at May 8, 2002 05:06 PM

I remember playing star wars with my older brother. He loved being the bad guys and of course that was fine by me since I liked Luke, Han Solo, Chuwbaca, and leya. It is funny looking back to when we played. he'd always annouced when he was going to attack my guys. and his finger would pluck my guys into the wall and he would say that theya re dead and I can't bring them back to life and I would try to sneak them back into the fight but then he'd take out LukeSkywalker and that would be it ...He'd claim to be the winner.*sighs* I got him back for it though. Years later when I was about ten I traded two of his beloved stormtroopers away for some ewoks. He wasn't pleased with me at all. I felt bad so years later I got him some stormtroopers and some other characters at a flea market. Oh well. and BTW he had both the Death Star and the land speeder.

Posted by: Artisticspirit at May 8, 2002 05:09 PM

I never made any trades later on like I did when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?

Great story, Wil.

Posted by: Mandy at May 8, 2002 05:12 PM

Finally someone who understands my pain. I was married almost 5 years ago, and after putting it off for 2 years my sister and I realized that the time had come to divvy up the Star Wars collection. We had combined our collection since we were wee ones and couldn't remember whose was whose. What a day of tears that was...she got Darth, I got Boba Fett...never had a landspeeder though...however...there still lives a Millenium Falcon in my parents basement....

Posted by: tanyak at May 8, 2002 05:17 PM

Hey Wil,
I love reading the stuff you put on WWDN. Its great! I love your stories! You always seem to put a smile on my face everyday. Thank you!

Posted by: Michelle at May 8, 2002 05:20 PM

I never had Star Wars toys.

My parents only believed in Lego.

Any wonder, now, that I am a software architect?

*sigh*

I'll trade you that Land Speeder for a bucket of Legos and...oh ferget it.

Posted by: jeddings at May 8, 2002 05:21 PM

Ah gee. And I thought that this was building to an eBay listing. (If you are the winner of this eBay auction, this $5.00 Landspeeder can be yours personally autographed by TV's Wil Wheaton.) HA HA

Posted by: Keith in Montana at May 8, 2002 05:21 PM

I remember making some weird trades when I was a kid. I traded my plain white Nike's w/ a blue "swoosh" for my babysitter's sister's Nike's b/c the "swoosh" on hers were cooler. It was multi-colored & shimmery. Some girl also wanted something I had and in exchange gave me a yo-yo. I was quite please but her parents were not. We had to trade back. Wait, maybe it was my parents who made us trade back. Hmmm. ?
I didn't have Star Wars toys to trade. When I asked for "boy" stuff like that I would instead get more "girl" appropriate things like a Barbie doll. When I was real little, I didn't mind -Barbie was okay, she had the coolest cars. But I did have a Star Wars dish towel. It was to me what that blanket was to Charlie Brown's pal Linus. One summer we rented a house at the shore (or beach if thats what you call it). My dad decided it was time for me to be a big kid -so he took the towel away. Then he lost it. (Yes, he does feel real bad about that.)
Okay, only one more story (I should get my own website). I didn't get to go to movies much as a kid. I had to wait for everything to be on HBO. One day there was a party at my grandmother's house. All the kids were sent to her room to watch TV. My uncle turned on HBO b/c he said the coolest movie ever was on. (At least I think it was HBO.) It turned out that whatever channel we were watching played the whole original trilogy -back to back to back. For some reason I didn't get that it was 3 different movies. I kept thinking "This is really cool! I want a lightsaber. But when the heck is this going to end!"
I'm done. Thanks for the space to share!

Posted by: jl at May 8, 2002 05:32 PM

My sister nailed me one time with a shotty trade. She traded me rooms for a dollar. I was five so hey I did not know the value of a dollar and she knew it. So she got the big room and I got the smaller one with Amityville looking windows. I guess it grew on me because I love horror movies. I also made stuff for my dolls because I did not have a dollhouse or the cool furniture. One day my friend got this satin Barbie bed and I was green. My mother one day threw away a satin slip, a Leggs container (pantyhose),and a pizza center divider.
I then proceeded to steal a super maxi pad and a tampon. I covered the maxi pad with the satin and that was her bed and then I used the tampon covered with satin and that was her neck pillow. I wadded up another pad and covered it with satin and stuffed in in the leggs container and it made a cool chair, kinda like the one Ann Margret was slithering in before being covered by pork and beans in the movie Tommy. Finally the pizza divider painted with my sisters red nail polish made a cool bed side table. :)

Posted by: Parilese Monster at May 8, 2002 05:37 PM

You know what a mint Death Star goes for these days?

A lot more than a mint in box Riker from First Contact, I tell you what!

I think you should press charges!!

Posted by: Buntz at May 8, 2002 05:39 PM

I was one of those kids that wore the same clothes and smelt funny. Sometimes I'd just run around in my knickers. Then again, that wsas Australia in the 80s. Most kids ran around in little, cause damn, it's hot in Australia. Anyway, we were poor. Nice to think Young-Philanthropist!Wil gave us a thought before spending his money on wonderful crap. I remember when my Oma and Opa sent me some money, and I spent it on wonderful crap. Yay wonderful crap!

Posted by: Nancy at May 8, 2002 05:39 PM

Oh, and not to wax nostaglic on YOU, Wil, but Stand By Me was on HBO today. Then I went out to the store and Stand By Me came on the radio!! (obviously not top 40).
Then on my way home, on another station, yup, Stand By Me again!!!
What are the odds of that!?!

Posted by: Buntz at May 8, 2002 05:41 PM

kickass post! defintely one of your best. love it. and landspeeders rock man! i have 2! death stars also rock, but i have none, so it doesnt count.

Posted by: heidi at May 8, 2002 06:31 PM

Thanks for the post, Wil! What a feel-good story!!

Posted by: Joe at May 8, 2002 06:51 PM

For a post like that Wil deserves to get another Death Star. I forward the motion that a collection be made to pruchase a replacement death star off of E-bay....

All in favour say "Aye".

Posted by: samplephiliac at May 8, 2002 07:10 PM

And just to get the ball rolling....AYE!

Posted by: samplephiliac at May 8, 2002 07:13 PM

Hey Wil,

Wow...... I'm with spudnuts, this is truly your best post ever. You sucked me right in. You really ARE a very good writer. Keep up the good work.

Love Ya',

Fenaray

Posted by: fenaray at May 8, 2002 08:21 PM

Great story, Wil,
It reminds me of Christmas grab bag in second grade when I pulled out a squidhead from Return of the Jedi. It was the only action figure I ever had as a child, because my parents never had the money to buy me toys.
All my friends had G.I. Joe and He-Man and Thundercats, etc., and all I had to play with were sticks and rocks. My sister and I would dig huge trenches in the backyard and have sticks poking out as barb wire, then we'd chase imaginary Germans past the property line with stick M-16 machine guns. That was pretty much the high point of playtime.
Now that I'm an adult, I can buy all the toys I wanted as a kid. Star Wars: Han Solo (original Empire), Han Solo (1995 reissue), Emperor Palpatine, Grand Moff Tarkin, Leia with Barge Gun, Qui Gon (2 of 'em), Qui Gon with Opee fish, Qui-Gon Deluxe, Battle Droid, Boss Nass, Padme Naberrie, Obi-Wan, Darth Maul, Yoda, Anakin Skywalker, Padme Amidala, and Clone Trooper. Star Trek: Picard, Riker, Sisko, and O'Brien (haven't found a Wesley yet.) Babylon 5: G'Kar 12" doll (1 of 3000 numbered), Londo Mollari, and Vir Cotto. The collection grows steadily! :)

Posted by: Mike at May 8, 2002 08:29 PM

Great story, Wil,
It reminds me of Christmas grab bag in second grade when I pulled out a squidhead from Return of the Jedi. It was the only action figure I ever had as a child, because my parents never had the money to buy me toys.
All my friends had G.I. Joe and He-Man and Thundercats, etc., and all I had to play with were sticks and rocks. My sister and I would dig huge trenches in the backyard and have sticks poking out as barb wire, then we'd chase imaginary Germans past the property line with stick M-16 machine guns. That was pretty much the high point of playtime.
Now that I'm an adult, I can buy all the toys I wanted as a kid. Star Wars: Han Solo (original Empire), Han Solo (1995 reissue), Emperor Palpatine, Grand Moff Tarkin, Leia with Barge Gun, Qui Gon (2 of 'em), Qui Gon with Opee fish, Qui-Gon Deluxe, Battle Droid, Boss Nass, Padme Naberrie, Obi-Wan, Darth Maul, Yoda, Anakin Skywalker, Padme Amidala, and Clone Trooper. Star Trek: Picard, Riker, Sisko, and O'Brien (haven't found a Wesley yet.) Babylon 5: G'Kar 12" doll (1 of 3000 numbered), Londo Mollari, and Vir Cotto. The collection grows steadily! :)

Posted by: Mike at May 8, 2002 08:30 PM

Don't worry Wil...

Everyone has an unfinished model of the USS Arizona somewhere.

Could be worse, though... You could have an unfinished model of a Churchill tank somewhere, too.

Posted by: Don at May 8, 2002 08:31 PM

suggestion for wwdn:
best. post. ever. poll

poll readers for their favourite posts...

then create links to top 5 or 7 or 10 or 11 fav posts (for easy access)

my votes
#1 the trade
#2 batman forever
#3 (hmmm... i'm still debating...)

chris chambers was right... you could be a real writer someday, gordie...

an image of the future perhaps:

WSon:(The writer's son enters the room with a friend. They are about eleven or twelve years old.)
Dad, can we go now?

Writer: You ready?

WSon: Yeah. We've been ready for an hour.

Writer:(Chuckles.)
Okay. I'll be right there.

Friend: He said that a half-hour ago!

WSon: Yeah. My dad's weird. He gets like that when he's writing.

Writer:(Looks lovingly at the boys as they walk out of the door, and he smiles to himself. It is the proud smile of a man whose life has worked out just as it should have. As he ponders the wonders of life he begins to type once again...)
I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?
(The writer shuts off his monitor and leaves to join the boys who are playing in the front yard. They all get into the car and drive off as credits roll.)
[Music: "Stand By Me" (Ben E. King) 1961]


ciao for now
rIAm

Posted by: renee at May 8, 2002 08:32 PM

Ok, Ok,

I seem to be a bit on the óld'end here but I must add a thing or two. I was an older Star Wars geek. I had the very first set of Star Wars figures that came out, the ones you had to order by mail. I was 11. Thank God (or whoever) I outgrew the action figure thing. But you know, don't you, that I do have the trilogy on VHS. I still marvel at the fact that my parents agreed to take me to that movie 11 times. That was a lot back then, ok?

I gotta tell ya' Wil, maybe my 2 cents ain't worth a rat's ass but I have read a lot in my lifetime. That's right, a helluva lot, and I am here to tell you, you've got real talent. Isn't it Roughy who is always saying you're a great writer who thinks he's an actor? You are really are very good. I hope you write some books one of these days.

:-)

Posted by: fenaray at May 8, 2002 08:34 PM

will, this rocked!
like 'fenaray' above, i'm a (cough) 'older' reader. in fact, his post sounds a LOT like me: i was 11 when i saw star wars for the first time, and i ALSO saw it around 11 times in the theater. how's that for a coincidence??

you really really really brought it all back for me: the magic of star wars, and what it means to me now that i'm an adult. one thing you forgot to mention about the landspeeder: it had a *trunk*, to hold those blasters other stuff! the death star *was* cool, but the landspeeder was (in my mind) cooler. but the best of all was the millenium falcon. i had a friend who had it, and we were just green with envy. once again, thanks for the post. i really enjoy your site....
ps - i still have ALL my star wars figures, and even a (mostly) complete droid factory.... geek out.

Posted by: franko at May 8, 2002 09:00 PM

Oh man,

I always wanted that Millenium Falcon.

Ahem,

(her post)

~fenaray

Posted by: fenaray at May 8, 2002 09:18 PM

I'm truly amazed that you remember so many details of when you were 8 years old.

I personally don't remember squat about when I was 8.

Posted by: Pam at May 8, 2002 09:23 PM

Certainly one of the best stories I have heard in a long time.

Hmm, does Wil even read these?

Posted by: Eli at May 8, 2002 09:32 PM

Wil,
AWeSoME post, man! Loved it!! Very well written and very funny stuff! :o )


You da man,

Posted by: Mark at May 8, 2002 09:35 PM

My husbend had all the figures and some other toys like the deathstar from the original Star Wars- and his mom threw them out- Most of which at the time where mint- So because of that, I along side with him i will help him buy and recollect the New Star Wars things and some other items We love so much. Now that's devotion to your man- supporting his habit to get those types of things on the side.

Posted by: Andie-Gypsy_girl at May 8, 2002 10:04 PM

hehe... oh, this post cracked me up. i'm always way too attached to my junk to trade it, though i did my share of trading at that age, mostly ninja turtles, to my best friend. then we would argue. but he never offered money as a perk... lol.

Posted by: amie at May 8, 2002 10:23 PM

Great.
Fucking.
Post.

(pardon my profanity)

This is awesome biographical storytelling at it's best (I can almost imagine you saying "aw, shucks, it was nothin'").

Most excellent entry.

Helps bring up thoughts of my own youth and the types of emotions there within.

Cool!

:)

Posted by: thebrett at May 8, 2002 11:53 PM

APPLAUSE!!!!
wonderfull post wil ... and to agree with all the other people who have said it before me , your a wonderfull story teller ,definetly would by the book.......

Posted by: Chie Morita at May 9, 2002 12:04 AM

OMG I so cracked up about this. I was laughing and flashbacking about my own childhood deals at the same time.... :)

Posted by: Patty at May 9, 2002 12:17 AM

There is something about the toys we keep, especially the ones that kind-of embody the shared experience of our peers. I still have a bunch of my Star Wars action figures, though all of the ships have been left behind. Everyone our age (in North America) had those toys, and feel that same sweet/sad feeling coming across them now.

Posted by: leaux at May 9, 2002 12:20 AM

Just thinking about your last post. I'm pretty sure that the Falcon's windows didn't roll down, yet the Landspeeder had no windows...draw your own conclusions...

ps, sorry to put this here. some kind soul please help me. everytime i try to post on soapbox i keep getting asked to login again, and damn it I"m logged in. Wil must have cross-referenced members and 80's restraining orders...please email me if you can help.

Posted by: tanyak at May 9, 2002 12:23 AM

Wil !

You’re back ! I thought the other day that you had been seduced by the dark side, don’t given to your anger “Luke”. The dark side is strong and evil, turn away! It’s great to see such talent return and I look forward to any future books, that you will write.. ever since my accident in 1983, I can not remember much of my youth.
only the pain since… Are you going to the premier of Star Wars? or wait in line like the rest of us peasants? I was thinking of how I would write you into a episode of Enterprise
for next year… any ideas? Keep on writing Wil, later

Posted by: wade at May 9, 2002 12:47 AM

You, my good man, are and remain unbelievable. Thank you so much for sharing that story! Once again you amaze me.
Did any of you American kids play with LEGO by the way? That`s what I did 20 years ago...

Posted by: Christian Humberg at May 9, 2002 01:18 AM

It has been remarked more than once that the subsequent careers of the stars of a certain 1986 movie have been eerily similar to their characters'. "You gonna be a great writer some day, Gordie" That day has come, Mr Wheaton.

Darn, just seen renee got there first.

An Official WWDN Online Petition (tm) is in order, I think. "We the undersigned think Wil Wheaton should definitely write an autobiography"

Posted by: Nick at May 9, 2002 01:59 AM

Just think of the Ebay auction! A landspeeder owned by Wil! Get Trek and Star Wars in one package! Should be worth at least 6 bucks!

Posted by: Ainu at May 9, 2002 02:12 AM

I heard this was why Wil *really* left ST:TNG... the crew got back from lunchbreak to find that Wil had swapped the USS Enterprise for a "rad" Honda Civic ("with *wheels*!"), and as they hauled him out the soundstage he could be heard to exclaim "But they gave me five dollars! FIVE DOLLARS!"

Of course, they used the Honda for the battle-bridge set, and everything worked out.

;)

--
Chris

Posted by: MrMessiah at May 9, 2002 04:51 AM

I, too, wish to jump on the "Wil should write a book" bandwagon. I don't care if it's an autobiography (although that would be nice), some of your entries from this website, or just your shopping list- you are one talented writer, Wil. Your site is the only one I visit *every single day*. I think it would be so much fun to hang out with you, Wil! :) I hope I have the pleasure of meeting you one day. Don't you all think it would be great if we could all gather in a room together and talk with Wil and play with action figures? I didn't have much in the way of action figures- I just had Pretty in Pink Barbie, and Luke Skywalker, and they were deeply in love... BTW, Stargazer, your comment about using R2D2 as a toilet in your dollhouse almost made me splurt my coffee all over the keyboard... I really did laugh out loud! :) That's all for now- see ya tomorrow! :)
Love, Alicia
www.thewagband.com

Posted by: Alicia at May 9, 2002 04:57 AM

JUST FEEL ALL THE POSSE LOVE!!!!

Posted by: bluecat/redblanket at May 9, 2002 05:46 AM

Sorry to go off topic but here is the follow-up to the Austrailian hooker story!

http://www.thesunlink.com/opinion/2002/may/0507op.html

Posted by: jessie at May 9, 2002 05:46 AM

Excellent Story!
I started to have flashbacks:
When I was young, I sold all of my Transformers and Voltron figurines at a yard sale for only fifty cents a piece (doh!). Those figures would fetch a nice price on Ebay now (it'd be nice to have them for sentimental reasons too). The vultures that show up at yard sales and prey on young(naive)children amaze me...

Posted by: Neil at May 9, 2002 06:09 AM

Oh if our paths would have crossed during the epic battle that ensued a mere 17 years ago at Snake Mountain.

I remember He-man's last battle quite well. Maybe Man-At-Arms wouldn't have had sustained damage if the Attack Trak could have made it through the Forest of Fallen Pencils.

All I know is that if there would have been a Land Speeder within range, He-man may have succeeded...maybe...

Posted by: Justin at May 9, 2002 06:14 AM

great story.
does anyone else remember MICRONAUTS?

Posted by: karlitos at May 9, 2002 06:18 AM

kareto asked, "does anyone remember micronauts?"

*i do! i do!*

i had some, but star wars made me forget about them for years. now, they are indeed worth a mint - some more than star wars figs! (have you ever looked on ebay for them? don't - you'll die of shock)

i must also post a public apology to fenaray, too - sorry, i didn't mean to call you a guy when you're not.

someone also asked about legos: i'm a BIG lego head (hey! i have a lego landspeeder on top of my monitor *right now*!), and we used to make lego ships for our sw figs because we were too poor to afford ships.

who still has sets of sw trading cards besides me?

Posted by: franko at May 9, 2002 06:40 AM

Wil, every single reference to your past paints an ever darker picture of a strange, lonely little man.

Sorry, had to get my MST3K wisecrack in there.

Posted by: Angel at May 9, 2002 06:54 AM

I was also going to make a comment such as someone way up there ^^ did, and say that this entry is actually a pretty damned cool piece of writing.
Have you done any? Plan to do any? That is, articles, short stories, etc?

Posted by: S at May 9, 2002 07:00 AM

for christmas a couple years ago i asked for something i never got as a young'un: darth vader's tie fighter. my brothers consulted with my mom, who was in charge of vader's tie, and conspired to hook me up with the regular tie fighter and an x-wing to go with it; however, they failed to coordinate, and ended up getting me two tie fighters instead. when they found out what happened, they were going to exchange one of them for an x-wing, but decided it would be way cooler to give me the "death star trench" formation of two tie fighters flanking vader's.

my brothers are my heroes, i swear to god.

awesome post, will. like i don't have enough trouble concentrating at work... i will now lose myself in memories of lincoln-log death stars and homemade blasters.

Posted by: tha rated x at May 9, 2002 07:14 AM

Man. That took me way back. Thanks for the trip, Wil =]

Posted by: TheoGerg at May 9, 2002 07:51 AM

Wow.
I, too, commend your storytelling skills, Mr. Wheaton. *applause*

I wish I'd been less of a girlie-girl as a child and that my parents hadn't gotten rid of many of my childhood toys when they moved. I had some kick-ass lunchboxes. Some of my Cabbage Patch Kids are sitting around, but they're worthless (especially the "Cornsilk" one whose hair I cut).

As a little girl I never understood the boys' toys, but now prefer them. Instead of playing "house" like I did as a child, I prefer to kick ass and be rough with the boys- in a purely childish fun sort of way. Having male children in my life gives me what I never had. I love being a kid at heart.

Posted by: Delphine at May 9, 2002 08:00 AM

This is the best post ever!

Posted by: AussieBlondeAndLoveIt at May 9, 2002 08:06 AM

I never had a Death Star. If I was ten years older and had known you when you were 8, I'd probably have sold you my landspeeder and a five dollar bill for one, too.

I am, perhaps, naturally evil like that.

Great story!

Posted by: Johnny at May 9, 2002 08:46 AM

Never had Star Wars figures.

Classic Lego Space sets can't be beat! I have about a billion Lego stories like Wil's today (and I still collect to this day! DORK HERE), but I'm not a famous person so nobody cares about my colorful, interlocking childhood.

To be fair, Wil is an amazing writer. I haven't been this entertained reading anything in, well...months, maybe...maybe if I was simply INTERESTING then more people would care.

Maybe I should start by being less whiny.

Posted by: parallax at May 9, 2002 09:07 AM

Some fine storytelling on the last two updates. I really liked the lead in to the crying bit, and the Star Wars toy story is wonderful. And especially relevant considering how the new movies (while fairly entertaining) have almost become toys in of themselves.

Keep up the interesting posts!

Posted by: MattK at May 9, 2002 09:32 AM

I grew up pretty poor. Star Wars came out after my mom and stepdad #1 decided to "get back to nature"
and move up Maine to "homestead" and live a simple "frontier life" (read: no electricity or running water -
a whole other story that I won't be telling here).

Meanwhile, back in New Jersey, my cousin (two years younger than I) had a dad who made very good
money working for the local power utility, and who also made some very wise real estate investments in the
late 60's and early 70's. My cousin had always had all the coolest, latest toys as we grew up (mind you, I
was never jealous because I got to play with them almost as much as he did, we hung out a lot), while I had
to make do with somewhat less - though Mom did a good job of making sure I had excellent (if fewer)
toys, and also made sure to teach me to choose toys that I REALLY, really wanted.

After we moved to Maine, things were a lot tighter, though. And, the Christmas of 1977, of course I
wanted Star Wars toys - oh, how the Sears Catalog tantalized with the full array of hot new action figures,
vehicles, and playsets!! But I knew that I wouldn't be able to all of them... besides, I didn't really like the
X-Wing and TIE Fighter toys, because (get this) they weren't proportionally accurate to the ships from the
movie! Plus some details were way off... the X-Wing had only ONE LED "laser light"... in the NOSE
CONE! Anyone who saw the movie knows the lasers are on the wingtips, stupid Kenner toy designers!!!

But I digress. (I'm a geek, and a production design/concept artist originally inspired by the Joe Johnston
Star Wars Sketchbook, so deal with it.)

So, the time came to choose the Star Wars toys that I really wanted. I decided to go for the true core toys:
the action figures of Luke, Obi-Wan, Leia, Han Solo, Chewie, R2D2, C3PO, Darth Vader, and a
stormtrooper... and yes, the Landspeeder. The bouncy, spring-loaded-wheeled Tatooine Landspeeder,
which just wasn't in demand since the XP-38 came out, worth something less than "two thousand" in the
local currency (but Obi-wan had enough to cover the rest). Foot peg action and all! I didn't even mind that
the red pinstriping didn't actually match the one in the film (look carefully at some of the publicity photos,
you'll see). It was Luke's fun desert hot rod. It floats on antigravity repulsors. It's got JET ENGINES, man!
ZOOOOM!!!

A very cool toy which I put to good use. The foot pegs still worked long after 3PO's joints got so loose that
he turned into a floppy mess and couldn't stay on the back (so I'd make him drive, heh).

While my cousin's massive array of toys (he had literally EVERY SINGLE Star Wars toy made between
1977 and 1983) currently molders in my aunt & uncles attic, I still have that landspeeder, and those action
figures, right now carefully packed and wrapped and tucked in a small shoebox with a few other old
cherished toys. It's still in great shape, too, only a few scrapes evident. Perhaps it's time to find a place to
display it proudly!

We could always get together and have speeder races!!

Posted by: Jeff Z at May 9, 2002 09:50 AM

Treasure that Land Speeder, Wil!
All of my Star Wars toys (except the figures) are mouldering in my Mums attic, and their all knackered! The AT-AT's poor legs are broken, the AT-ST is a tattered mess, and theres no sign of my beloved Tie-Fighter. Relics of a misspent youth and an overactive imagination. And a dog who thought the AT-AT was a rival for my affections, bless her.
Not to worry, theres some utterly wicked Star Wars Lego available...

Posted by: Fluffy at May 9, 2002 10:20 AM

PS, I too was a Lego maniac. And none of them fancy sets with all the fancy angled parts, either - I just had a huge box full of the standard-type bricks of all sizes, in red, white, blue, and transparent. I also had some motorized Lego stuff. And oh, the creations I'd make for myself... bases, starships (including a pretty good TOS Enterprise bridge layout - considering I had no parts that made 45 degree angles), you name it, I built it. Who needs fancy Death Star playsets when you can BUILD YOUR OWN DARN DEATH STAR?? Legos are a really economical toy for financially underpriveleged kids, because it's a toy that lets you build anything you want to.

I don't like how the Lego toys today all have "final designs" that are clearly illustrated for kids to build. Where's the creativity in that? Better to just buy the various sets for your kids, open all the boxes, throw away the instructions, and put all the parts in ONE box and let the kids have at 'em. They'll do much cooler, more imaginative stuff that way. :)

Posted by: Jeff Z at May 9, 2002 10:27 AM

parallax said:

>> I'm not a famous person so nobody cares about my colorful, interlocking childhood.

I care.

Posted by: Spudnuts at May 9, 2002 10:31 AM

Donkey Kong wasn't released until 1981. You couldn't have played it that summer.

(You may be a nerd, but I'm a *video game* nerd.)

Posted by: Lucas at May 9, 2002 10:34 AM

Somebody said:

An Official WWDN Online Petition (tm) is in order, I think. "We the undersigned think Wil Wheaton should definitely write an autobiography"

I would like to sign that. I think Wil is a better writer than Douglas Coupland about the experiences of our generation, especially us geeks. Maybe he should call the book Geek-X instead of Gen-X. : )

Posted by: Gaea at May 9, 2002 10:57 AM

Wil:

That was a very moving posting...it took me back to my childhood in the 60s and 70s. I agree with the others you should write some books. You definitely
have a gift for putting images into words.

Posted by: Marc at May 9, 2002 11:00 AM

Recently Ive been wondering why I keep coming back here. Today's post reminded me why. Thanks for the story.

Posted by: will Walker at May 9, 2002 11:10 AM

that reminds me, the only original star wars figure i have is the first boba fett. unfortunately i don't have his weapons, as i bought him loose from someone my dad knew. i now have way too many of the more recent figures, the ones that started in 1995; so much money i have spent on sw...kinda sad, but oh well... ^.^

Posted by: amie at May 9, 2002 11:30 AM

Just an idea: why don't you add a new category to your website where you put up short stories like these that you write. You could post one there whenever you feel like it. I think many people would like to read them, since you definitely have the talent...

Posted by: Gabe at May 9, 2002 11:59 AM

To quote TGD "What a long strange trip it has been."

Thanks for the excellent post Wil.

Posted by: Meldric at May 9, 2002 12:14 PM

Wil you really are quite the writer. Truly impressive.

Posted by: K. at May 9, 2002 02:05 PM

Wow, you are such a good writer, this is the best post that I have read since my first time visiting WWDN. WRITE A BOOK!

Posted by: Kate at May 9, 2002 02:23 PM

*Laughs ass off!* Will...you are the coolest kid ever! You are so weird...I offically love you!

Posted by: Kate at May 9, 2002 02:42 PM

That was a great story, Wil! My husband still lusts after the XL5 rocket and ramp that his dad refused to buy him when he was about 7 or 8. I believe it has fueled his drive to acquire toys to this day. Nice to see your folks didn't throw stuff out. If only others would obey the dictum to keep hands off important "stuff". Anyway, I smiled when I read your words. Karen

Posted by: kazfeist at May 9, 2002 03:36 PM

I had a landspeeder, and I seem to remember a LOT Of action figures. I still have that original darth vader action figure case at my parents.

i think we had a at-at too, but I'd have to ask my bro for sure.

This is kinda inspiring me to write about my brother and his tendacy to scotch tape hot-wheels to pieces of other toys like legos and lincoln logs to make uber-freaks of toydom.

Posted by: jen at May 9, 2002 03:41 PM

I laughed my ass off at this post! It reminded me of all the trading I did with my friends as a kid!

Posted by: Ratboy at May 9, 2002 04:10 PM

Wil,

A friend of mine sent me a link to your site a few months ago and I've been reading your posts ever since, and have to agree with everyone else, you should really write a book...

I remember playing with Star Wars figures in the late 80's. My friend Meghan and I always fought over who would be Princess Leia.

Posted by: Jenna at May 9, 2002 06:15 PM

Have you ever tried free verse? It's how you say whatever you feel like, with no rules, and it's still poetry. That's what I've done for about 20 years now. You have writing in you, just let it out. Karyn

Posted by: Karyn Hughes at May 9, 2002 07:18 PM

Have you ever tried free verse? It's how you say whatever you feel like, with no rules, and it's still poetry. That's what I've done for about 20 years now. You have writing in you, just let it out. They're pretty straight, write a book. Karyn

Posted by: Karyn Hughes at May 9, 2002 07:19 PM

is that the Sunland that's next to Tujunga?

Posted by: Victoria Black at May 9, 2002 07:57 PM

HAHA, I had a box like that when I was a kid, I still have it here somewhere, for my ratty coin collection. "Keep Out - violatters will be presecuted" or something. Like this message would impress my two much larger brothers in the slightest.

Posted by: John at May 9, 2002 08:00 PM

Hey Wil, great post! I never had a Star Wars action figures or vehicles when I was a kid but I had a awful lot of legos. In my dad's basement (where I sadly live right now) I had a huge Lego city. My friend who lived next door and was a couple years younger than me would come over pretty much every weekend I spent with my dad and we would play legos for hours on end! Sadly when I got older my dad finally made me take my Lego city down. However all the parts still reside in a few boxes and buckets in the rafters of his garage and I vowed on the day that they went up there that one day when I finally get my own house Lego City would rise again!

Thanks for bringing back the memories Wil and keep up the good work!

Posted by: FredBear at May 9, 2002 08:35 PM

I agree...you definitely have a talent for capturing the moment...great entry!

Posted by: Jen at May 9, 2002 10:36 PM

Good grief, this one brought back memories Wil. I had all the primary star wars figures (my Mum nearly lost her eyesight from trying to watch out for Han Solo guns while vacuuming), but the only vehicle I had was a lame imperial shuttle. It was kind of hard for Luke to put up a effective defense against Vader, when Vader was in my only space-ship, so it didn't get used much. Oh yeah - I had one of the little speeder bikes from Jedi too. They WERE cool. Didn't fly too good though. Usually made it about 10 yards down the garden, then flew apart.

The toy that most brings back my childhood most though, is the Six Million Dollar Man (it's not a DOLL, Mum) action figure. He frequently used to beat the crap out of my Action Man (GI-Joe to you Americans) while making clicking noises with his right arm.

Posted by: Karl at May 10, 2002 01:23 AM

What, no model Enterprise?

Posted by: Andy at May 10, 2002 02:46 AM

Wil,

I've said this before, and I'll say it again:

WRITE A BOOK!! It would be a tragedy to lose such great material to the realm of cyberspace. I am awash in nostalgia at this very moment and, for the first time in years, I remember what it was like to be a kid again. THANK YOU!!

You are a truly remarkable writer. Don't let your talent go to waste. If you aren't motivated by the "you owe it to yourself" speech, then think of your 9th grade English teacher who told you that you couldn't write and how much you would enjoy sticking your best-seller in her face.

Please, please, please think about it.

Anxiously awaiting your book,

Brock

Posted by: Brock at May 10, 2002 03:53 AM

Aww, when I was a kid, my parents burned all my toys: star wars, he-man, and gi-joe alike, reasoning that they were evil satan devices.

So now I hate fundies and love star wars... and trek.

Posted by: Dusahn at May 10, 2002 04:45 AM

Great story Wil, I loved it!
If that kid was anything like me, the Death Star would have ended up battered, broken and most likely lost. It's nice that at the end of it you still have you toy!

Posted by: Melinda at May 10, 2002 05:54 AM

All I remember from that age is my sister destroying my toys. She was an attention-addict, and would get it any way she could.

Transformers had mostly been my game. And I was a remarkably talented beggar at the time, even if I say so myself. I obtained a jetfire by pleading to my grandma over and over, until she caved in and got me one for my birthday. It was the happiest moment of my life, for that moment. A jetfire was definitely the coolest transformer you could imagine. Partly made out of steel, very rare, with a complex transforming sequence. I think I turned a lot of friends into enemies for a day by showing off with him in front of them. But alas, it was not to be. My sister, seeing all this attention going to me, because of a simple toy, was not pleased. Within two weeks she had found a moment in which I had momentarily lost track of where I had put my jetfire. She was kind enough to wait with breaking it until I walked into the room, so she was sure to take the blame, and the attention, for destroying it. A rear-wing was clipped. It's something that deep inside I still can't forgive her for. Some things are just holy. Especially when I discovered that a mint condition jetfire fetches thousands of dollars. Not that I would have sold it. Just that I could have entertained the idea. Now that's not possible.

Anyway, after that I switched to building transformers out of lego's. She destroyed those too. But lego bricks back then were indestructible, in contrast with the crap they sell now. So even though the robot was wasted, the bricks weren't. I think that over the years over a third of what I built with lego's was lost to her hands. It's a good thing she's gotten better.

Posted by: Joeri Sebrechts at May 10, 2002 07:28 AM

I've heard about reminiscing Will but this is ridiculous! You managed to write line after line about a Land Speeder! Only you could do that and, agreeing with Tammy, with all the things you have clanking around in your brain you should write your book!

Posted by: Sally at May 10, 2002 08:09 AM

Funny that I didn't read this until today, but I spent a good chunk of last night remembering stuff that I did when I was a kid. Going through old journals can be fun like that! :)

I wish I knew what happened to my old Star Wars stuff. All I can find is my old Boba Fett. :(

Posted by: Anneke at May 10, 2002 08:38 AM

Ha. Great post. There's a whole bunch of funny stuff like this over in the Force.net's forums.

http://boards.theforce.net/message.asp?topic=5027332&replies=1194

Posted by: B'omarr at May 10, 2002 08:54 AM

This brings back bad memories of when I sold my Hoth set (complete with guns and breakaway ice) at a garage sale in 1990 for $5. Plus about 5 figures for $1/each. Damn! I still have a Star Destroyer and Tatooine set at least (but without any of the extra parts) plus 20 figures, all missing their guns/accessories :( I had a cool X-Wing model but melted it trying to dry the glue with a heat gun.

Posted by: Scott at May 10, 2002 08:59 AM

I'd like to join the "Encouraging Wil To Write A Book" team, please. Also the "What, no model Enterprise?!?" brigade. No Kirk action figure, to foreshadow what was to come? How disappointing. ;)

Posted by: Claire at May 10, 2002 12:08 PM

If you want to make This American Life, you may need a slightly weightier message... I don't mean to be mean, they just have very clear guidelines about what they take (see http://www.thislife.org/pages/faq_extras/faqsubmissions.html and http://www.thislife.org/pages/faq_extras/howtogeton.html). I've always been confused about how you pitch something to them since every show is a theme show. just $.02 from a freelancer.

anyway, here's how we know our man is from Southern California: surgical tubing for water weenies. awwww yeaah. represent!

Posted by: gus at May 10, 2002 01:37 PM

Thank you for this post. Eloquently took me away from it all, swept into the dim vibrant world of your memories.

When you write your book, I'll buy at least two copies. You know... one for me, and one to trade.

Posted by: Elke Tanzer at May 10, 2002 02:44 PM

No only is this a wonderful story BUT I'm writing an economics paper right now and you PERFECTLY illustrated one of the points I planned to make about children and economics. I'm quoting you in my paper, if you have no objections.

Oh, and by the way? You rock. I hpe I'm HALF as cool as you when I'm your age.

Matt

Posted by: Matt Darling at May 10, 2002 03:40 PM

I thought about that, Gus, and I decided that the weightier message was that when we're kids, we make stupid trades because we're blinded by impulse.

Then, when we get older, we re-consider the trades we've made, like this one, and it turns out to be, surprisingly, not so bad.

Yeah, that's what I'm going to keep telling myself anyway. :)

Posted by: wil at May 10, 2002 04:15 PM

Wil,

Definitely worth a submission to some venue; it's quality writing. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it Mello Yello?

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22Mello+Yello%22

Posted by: Mike Harris at May 10, 2002 06:02 PM

Ah, this reminds me of my brother. See, he had that landspeeder, too. And the Death Star. And pretty much every other Star Wars toy they made...ships, playsets, action figures, the works.

It would take all three of us brothers to employ all that equipment in play. I usually got to play the bad guys, because I was the only one who could do a reasonable imitation of Darth Vader's breathing.

I have no idea what happened to all Clay's Star Wars toys. If he's still got 'em, they're probably worth money. Come to think of it, there's a bunch of stuff I had in those days that I wish I still had. Like my first computer...a TI-99/4A complete with the expansion box, disk drive, and 32K memory expansion. Or the shortwave radio that used to belong to my dad...a Hallicrafters S-38B. Or this other radio I had...a big ol' console radio that once belonged to my grandmother, complete with record player, 12" speaker, and album storage cabinets.

Maybe this is something similar to what you experienced, Wil...that sense of nostalgia, those good memories of old friends we'll never meet again. At least you managed to hang onto part of yours. Ah well, I may just find some MP3 files of some early 80's pop music, play them, and think of the days when I pulled open the door on that big radio, switched it on, waited for the tubes to warm up, dialed the tuner to The Mighty 690 (XTRA-AM from Tijuana, which was Top 40 in those days), and settled back to listen...back in those halcyon days of yesteryear.

Rambling on,
Eric

Posted by: Erbo at May 10, 2002 08:16 PM

That put a smile on my face. I have a distinct memory of trading Star Wars figures for LEGO (I was a total LEGO geek).

Nice story :)

Posted by: Nick at May 12, 2002 05:06 AM

hey my comment name is Nick uzz off

Posted by: Nick 2 at May 12, 2002 07:37 AM

awesome story. you are a great writer.

Posted by: dave at May 12, 2002 12:52 PM

Wil

*Standing ovation*

As a 16 year old girl from England (a small indicator in how far you popularity has spread) I can say I have never had a land cruiser or any of the stars wars stuff! (I know I know I was deprived) But the whole "trade" story made me feel like I had n it was me!

Your ability to write doesnt get the approval it deserves - you are honestly a legend!

PLEASE DO ME A HUGE FAVOUR N WRITE AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY!

If you dont I will keep writing untill you do!

Thankyou again for a story which made me laugh n (quite embarrassed to say this) but cry aswell!

Keep it up :)

Posted by: Hannah at May 12, 2002 01:47 PM

LOL! That was so funny! And I can totally relate to the toys thing. I had a bunch of Star Wars toys when I was a kid. Star Wars and He-Man and Voltron. The toys are either broken or in storage now but I don't need them to play. I pretend to be Luke and Darth Vadar and have conversations with myself. What? Don't look at me like that! I have no TV! When I'm not playing on my computer I have to do SOMETHING to amuse myself that doesn't involve stressing out my hands! ;-)
I've been on a Star Wars kick recently. Did you know that Luke got married in one of the novels? I was chatting with some people on EQ and they gave me the names of a couple books where Luke finally gets a girl. I have to go find it in my eqnotes file somewhere though. I was reading in Maxim that Mark Hamil nearly died in the car accident that scarred his face. That's scary. Imagine if he hadn't lived! Oh, and to go off on a tangent, I adore Mark Hamil! He's a wonderful voice actor and he made me laugh so hard in Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back. My favorite line from that movie? "Don't fuck with the Jedi master, son!"
I never saw the pseudo star wars movie with the little kid. I could not bring myself to watch it bc of the kid. Something about him just pissed me off whenever I saw his face. But I might watch the next movie when it comes out on video or dvd.
Thanks for sharing. Now I wish I knew where my star wars toys were. heh.
luv,
-Su

Posted by: Su at May 12, 2002 10:14 PM

great post... made me think of all the days I spent running around in my star wars t-shirts playing princess leia and shooting at imaginary stormtroopers with my brothers(and who *were* my brothers sometimes)... nostalgia is great - sentimentality be damned!

Posted by: julrosec at May 13, 2002 10:41 AM

What a great story, Wil! I love to hear stories about people's childhoods.. and it's so important to keep a little bit of that child inside you. To stay gold, like Robert Frost said.
You're a great writer, keep it up :)

Posted by: Angie at May 13, 2002 03:11 PM

I made the same trade exccept that it was for the Landspeeder and an AbbaZabba Bar. I played with it for about 10 minutes and then proceeded to the local Tilt and played Missle Command and Galaga.

Posted by: EvilDawg at May 13, 2002 03:15 PM

sfsdfs

Posted by: dasda at May 13, 2002 09:46 PM

What a lot of us Nicks there are here. So as not to cause a scene in the future - being repressed and English that is *not* the kind of thing I can deal with :~) - I shall now mutate into NickW as of now.

BTW Wil, nice to know you're not dead. I was beginning to wonder.

Posted by: NickW at May 14, 2002 08:50 AM

PS: Nice to know that Uncle Wil is protecting us from evil spammers. *applause*

Posted by: NickW at May 14, 2002 08:55 AM

Seven words: Where can I buy your first book?

Posted by: Marci at May 14, 2002 09:35 PM

I treasure all my childhood memories. Unlike you, I don't have much in possessions left from them, we left a lot of things behind when we moved to another country. If I had the gift of writing like you do, I would write a book of childhood memories to keep that as my treasure for old age, when all I'll have is my memory to rely on.

You're a great writer. Keep writing!

Posted by: zea at May 15, 2002 03:51 AM

The toy Death Star had several structural and architectural flaws that made it vastly inferior to the meticulous reproduction of the landspeeder. I would say that, the young man with which you traded Star Wars action objects was quite daft for wanting the Death Star. Yes, the trash compactor monster was a hilight of the toy, but it is actually misrepresented. When the model for this toy was being developed, they did not have access to the genuine species of the "worm" and they had to use Quelli-bryoota Uncha Uncha instead of the proper Quelli-bryoota Cruncha Unka, which is obviously not the same species at all!! Also, the warp drive controls (which few people know the Death Star had) are not even represented on the control deck. I could go on and on with my list of absent functionality, misrepresented layout, and structurally unsound plastic being used to construct the different devices...but I won't. Don't worry Will...the deal was FARE.

Seriously,
John O. Swackhammer

Posted by: John O. Swackhammer at May 15, 2002 07:40 AM

"I capriciously thought of ways to spread my new found wealth amongst the other kids in our group...A pack of Wacky Packs stickers for Scott Anderson"

So where's my wacky pack stickers, wil? It would be impossible that there are multiple Scott Andersons. It just doesn't work like that. :P

Posted by: Scott Anderson at May 15, 2002 09:14 AM

You want some real ramblings?
You want a pure vein of humour?
Paint Chips from
asylumnation.com

http://www.asylumnation.com/asylum/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=3

Testify!

Posted by: Unrevealed at May 15, 2002 07:33 PM

Will,

Great story! You brought me back to my childhood. Thank you!!!

Sean

Posted by: Sean Astin at May 16, 2002 11:49 AM

There is actually something I forgot to mention. I remember this trade a little too specifically. Yes, it's all coming back to me now. I too once traded these exact two items with a younger friend of mine.."Billy" I think I called him. As I also recall, he was quite young and seemed a little, well, un-hip. I was thinking to myself "yes, the worm is the wrong species...let's be fare, they didn't have one...No, the drive controls are not on the deck representation. The corrugated pattern used for the raised passages between decks is ALL WRONG because, as we all know, there is no way that a pattern such as that could be structurally sound enough to support hundreds of stormtroopers hauling ass after interlopers such as them!" BUT I also recall reading an article in Star Wars Fanatics Weekly about a certain number that was located on the bottom of the land speeder. If you called that number then George Lucas would show up at your house and "give your mommy a baby"...I didn't quite understand that at the time, but I was really excited to have a brother because I didn't have one then, and when I sat up at night shooting bottle rockets at my pillow it just was not rewarding enough. I missed the blood curdling screams of singing a real human...
Yes, I do remember that very very well. HAR!! what a suckah that Billy was...

I wonder where he is now...

Posted by: John Orbisson Swackhammer at June 17, 2002 04:11 PM

by the way, Spudnuts and Gabe...you guys are total SUCKUPS man...get a life. We all know that Senior Will Wheaties wouldn't wee wee in your Cheerios for you even if you PAID HIM TO!! ME AM BIZARRO...WILL WHEATON HIM LIKE MEE!! HE R MY FRIEND 2!! ME AM ARE 4 U WILLY WHEATON!!

Posted by: John Orbisson Swackhammer at June 17, 2002 04:14 PM

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