Today we are sharing the first place winner of the Serpentorslair G.I.Joe Essay Contest, ‘Icecreamman‘. Please take the time to read his essay below, then make the JUMP to the forum and let him know how much we appreciate his work!
THE ODD-VENTURES OF VINTAGE JOE
(Based on a true story)
They call me Duke. I was among the early 3.75” G.I. Joe action figures produced in the early 80’s but I was not the first to reside in our keeper’s display cabinet, which was a actually a clothes cabinet. When I arrived, there were already plenty of Joes, most of them came from the batch of late 80’s like green Deep Six, Recoil, Gatling gun Rock & Roll and a few from the early 90’s like scout Wild Bill and sleeveless Gung-Ho. All of them were carded before they were displayed, all their accessories were complete. Not like me, my left knee joint was no longer tight and I no longer have my helmet and binoculars when I arrived, but I still have my back pack and rifle. Our keeper did not purchase me from the store. He traded his Micro Machines with his friend to have me. When you’re a second hand toy and incomplete, your peers tend to treat you like an inferior action figure even if you are a famous character in the cartoons. But in spite of that, our keeper treated us equally and cared for us. And until now I can’t forget the joy in our keeper’s eyes the day he held me in his hand and gave me a place in the cabinet. I was inspired to be the best I can be. I befriended everyone. Deep Six was a bit snob and Zartan’s kind of freaky, but I did my best to get along with them.
The greatest part of being a toy is of course is play time! But our keeper never played with us outside. He never wanted his Joes to catch dirt. We always played inside his room. Our keeper would scatter the pillow on the bed and cover them with blanket. It became our mountain terrain. There on the highest peak, he would place his lunch box and it would be our headquarters. He would build computers, chairs and control room for our HQ out of Lego pieces. Our keeper loved the G.I. Joe cartoons but we never played out the stories of the show, our keeper created his own story line for us to act out and play. I always lead the team, like in the cartoons. At that time, there were already around 70 of us but the Cobras were only less than 10. So our keeper gave the Cobras an army of empty perfume bottles and batteries for us to fight with. It was really fun climbing the top of the television where the enemy strong hold was located. At the top, the final battle began! Our keeper made the coolest sound effects and the best climatic scenes. The enemy always gets defeated of course, and the heroes never die. We get wounded but not suffer serious injuries and we heal fast. Those were the days.
Soon, new cartoons were aired. Our keeper enjoyed watching The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Ghostbusters, Thundercats, Tiger Sharks, Macross and Voltes V. His mom bought him Leonardo, but his favorite turtle was Michaelangelo. So when his birthday arrived, his present was Mikey. For a while, our keeper rarely played with the Joes. He spent most of his time playing with the turtles. I know he wanted to have Raphael and Donatello but he never did because there were new Joes in the store and he bought them instead. Our keeper became excited to play with the Joes again. But this time, we did not play war, we became wrestlers! The shoe box cover became the ring. Neon BAT became our keeper’s Undertaker. Spearhead and sleeveless Dusty were his Strike Force. Rampart and Muskrat were his Hart Foundation. There were also Joes who played The Rockers and the referee. But the one who won Royal Rumble was Barricade. It was a close fight between Barricade and NEON BAT but Barricade somehow grew stronger when the fans yelled his name, and I was among them. I wasn’t included in the rumble but I enjoyed watching the fight.
When our keeper grew a bit older, we still played war but he infused romance in his stories. He made me kiss Scarlett and Jinx and did naughty things with us. I know Scarlett and Jinx were cool with it cuz after all, we are toys. I acted like I was shy, but deep inside I enjoyed every moment of it! LOL But then one day, our keeper discovered comic books. That’s when we started to lose members of our ranks. Some of us were traded for comic books; some of us were sold so that our keeper would have more cash to buy more comic books. Our dark age became even darker when our keeper grew fond of music. He started collecting cassette tapes and sold more Joes to buy more tapes. Soon there were only a dozen of us, even our vehicles were gone. We were evicted. The cassette tapes became the new residents of our home. We were placed inside a box and there was nothing but darkness.
Time passed, and our keeper became a young adult. He came looking for us and found us underneath his grandmother’s bed. We were all happy to see him. He placed us on a proper display cabinet. But then a typhoon came and there was flood. We were kept safe somewhere but after the storm has passed and the water subsided, there were plenty of stuff to clean and our keeper did not know that his grandmother took us, placed us inside a box together with other old and broken toys. The next thing I know, a little kid was playing with me. And there was only me, the other Joes were nowhere to be found. That kid was a brat. He broke my o-ring! The next thing I know, I was in the trash. I didn’t know how I came to my new keeper’s place. I’m sure I’ve suffered toy dementia, the illness acquired by severely stressed toys. But I’m thankful I am in a good place once again. My new keeper is a toy customizer. He gave me a new o-ring, new torso and legs. And damn, the paint apps were awesome! Recently I saw my old keeper in Facebook. After so many years, he came back to collect G.I. Joes and even started to custom too. It’s so cool to see he made modern versions of me. Our kind, they now call us Vintage Joes or O-rings or ARAHs, but without us, there wouldn’t be happy grown-ups today who can say that they truly enjoyed their childhood.