Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My Secret Shame #5: My Favorite Things

Word on the street has it that there is a high demand for more of My Secret Shame, the analysis of a sticker book that has survived since my youth. Wait no more, plebians, I shall descend from my ivory tower and dispense the ambrosia made mine through manifest destiny. Yes, I mixed three different allusions to ruling class theory that took place on two separate continents, but I'm sure you can handle it. Horace Greely would have been proud.

Today's page is called My Favorite Things. I'm not going to get all Rogers and Hammerstein on you, but if you'd like to hum a few bars or sing a few notes about things like schnitzel with noodles, be my guest. As you can see, the page is filled with things all boys like.

Let's get the obvious out the of the way first. The only stickers I truly wish were not stuck in this book (and that's saying a lot, because there are some 1987 Fleer basketball stickers in here) are the two Brewers uniform puffy stickers. If I had a jacket like this, I could dress up as Rollie Fingers.

In the top right corner, we've got Mr. Greedy, a member of the conglomerate known as Mr. Men, a group of book (and TV, I've learned) characters, each of whose individual essence is boiled down to a singular physical or personality trait. In recent years, the term "greedy" has taken on new meaning for me. At my school, the children exclaim, "Dang, you GREEDY!" if someone either eats all of their food on their plate or eats something very quickly. I've always understood the word to mean wanting more that one's fair share, but that's me. All of those times I was a member of the Clean Plate Club, I was really just being greedy. I apologize.

There's more baseball present, but this time it's Brian Downing. The only thing that could have possessed me to put this sticker in this book was that it was a double. A few Bogllns are hovering around Brian. Man, I think I got a sheet of 100 of those from a cereal box.

What boy doesn't love balloons? And what's better than a regular old balloon? Why, a hot air balloon! A quick search through my iTunes library indicates the presence of two songs about balloons: "99 Luftballoons", of course, and the ever-popular "Up, Up and Away" by the Fifth Dimension. I guess I'm a sucker for great harmonies and being high on life. Always was, always will be.

Another sticker that puts into question whether this book was owned by a boy or a girl, the Walt Disney World Electrical Parade. My family took this trip in the summer of 1988. The only two things I bought was this sticker and a stuffed Brer Rabbit doll. I chose the Brer Rabbit because I owned and cherished a couple of different Record Books that featured the character. I suppose my parents had no problem opening a gateway to literacy through the use of mildly racist reading materials. Oh well, that's fine with me, since I spent all of elementary school going to the grade ahead of me for my reading group. If you want to enjoy Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby...

The one thing my parents did have problems with was guns. Never owned any toy guns, but that didn't mean that I didn't adore them. Brett Vet was a prepubescent orgasm in sticker form. God, did I love guns. And swords. And knives. And grenades. And sticks of dynamite. And rocket launchers. And don't forget scars. Never ever forget scars. This guy is a combination of Rambo and Dutch from Predator and Matrix from Commando all on their best day all rolled into one.

Boss Moss from Freakies. The cereal must have been re-released for a short time in 1987. I've read how it was a breakfast staple in the 1970s and was actively traded on the grain markets then, but it has since disappeared.

A transparent soccer ball made the cut, too. This image has become the de facto official soccer ball since time immemorial, but the design hasn't been actively used since like the 1930s when Uruguay was dominating World Cups because other more powerful nations could not afford the steam travel. I mean, have you seen the EPL ball in use this year? Yellow and blue is a far cry from this sorry-ass emmer effer.

I'm closing not with the best sticker, but with the one that has the best story attached to it. I can remember being very young and going shopping with my family. We were at a store that sold stickers, and I was allowed to choose a half dozen or so from a basket. I proudly held up this one for the parental seal of approval. At that moment, my dad's eyes lit up and he said something like, "Oh, yeah, that's gonna be on TV tomorrow night." The "that" he was referring to turned out to be a network screening of Karate Kid. Apparently my dad processed all Asian writing translating to something to do with karate and/or other martial arts.

Since then, I've thought of this as the Karate Kid sticker. I still know fuck-all about what it really says. Hell, it could be upside down for all I know. If anyone could interpret for me, I'd appreciate it. I will be very disappointed if it says "Nippon" or "Japan." I've got my fingers crossed it's the Japanese character for "bodybag."


night owl said...

Whoaaahhh! Freakies! Boss Moss! Major nostalgia rush! I haven't thought about that since my brother collected all of the Freakie plastic figurines as a kid. I feel an Internet search coming up.

The themes of Up, Up and Away (happiness or getting high or whatever) and 99 Luftbaloons (the end of the world through nuclear annihilation) are about as polar opposite as you can get.

Oh, and, dang, that Joey Chestnut is GREEDY.

Yeah sticker book!

dayf said...

Whoa, you got '87 Fleer basketball stickers in there? aaaaawwweeessssooommmeee

steve said...

General Franklin Kirby: "Leave anything for us?"

John Matrix: "Just bodies."

Rounding Thirty 3rd said...

If the guy who created Boss Moss is not already stinking rich or dead, he needs to seriously think about a copyright infringement suit against SpongeBob SquarePants!

Yeah for Brer Rabbit!?! I am still amazed that Disney has kept this story alive in Splash Mountain at Disney World.

And oh - your Sticker Book Rules!!!

--David said...

So far, I have to agree with your "Karate Kid" assessment. i have sent the image to a couple folks (and asked around online) and so far, the concensus is that it means: "BANZAI!" (Hurrah!)

And, of course anyone who has seen the movie knows the significance of the phrase...

I'll let you know if a different translation comes in...

--David said...

More from the "more than you wanted to know dept": literally means ten thousand years (of life). It is written with the combination of the kanji characters for "ten thousand(万)" and "age(歳)."