What is it with me and robots?
I used to own a lot of toys. Boxes and boxes of them. Some I bought, others were freebies. Years and years ago I scripted dialogue for interactive computer games. For one of the games, it was either Duckman or Beavis and Butt-head, a bunch of us had to go to the offices at Paramount to pitch the story or something. We mostly used it as an excuse to wander around the Paramount lot looking for trouble.
We must have been nice to someone at Paramount because one day we get some boxes of toys and action figures. That was pretty cool. We all grabbed our share. The artists ripped open the boxes and began to disfigure and destroy theirs. I took mine home and stuck them in the garage. Years before I had spent many dollars at Toys R Us on figures and phasers and tricorders and the bloom was off the lilly as far as Star Trek went. The funny thing is, and I'll get to the robots in a second, if you'll hold on, a few years later, after my contract was up with the game company and I couldn't get work to save my life, I happened to be flicking around on the television and on the Discovery channel I see this guy being interviewed who claims to have every Star Trek collectable ever made. His whole house, walls and ceilings, were covered with figures and such. The interviewer asks him what his most prized figure is and he points to a Next Generation figure of Picard. He says that it's worth over a thousand bucks because it was a limited figure based on Picard in a specific episode called Tapestry. I scratch my mostly bald noggin' because that Picard figure sure looked familiar. Sure enough, I go out to the garage and there it is. Two months later my wife and I attend WonderCon where we trade said figure for six hundred bucks and an armload of Star Wars figurines. Cool, eh?
But concerning robots, I have a lot of them. My toy collection has thinned out over the years. A while back I worked on staff for Stan Lee, on a website featuring a bunch of new characters he had created. It turned out that Stan had partnered up with a bunch of crooks and long story short, the whole company gets laid off right before Christmas. The months that followed were pretty dry, as far as finding work, so we started digging through the cases and cases of junk we'd collected over the years and put it all up on eBay. My wife and I have worked for a bunch of different companies over the years and the amount of freebies we'd tucked away was amazing. The books, comics, toys and figures that we had in the house and on display stayed, and everything else went. Sure, every now and then we think it would be nice to still own that certain piece of artwork or that comic book, but the truth of the matter is that this was stuff that we hadn't looked at for years. And besides, according to Buddha, the less you have the less you have to worry about.
So I was just looking at the toys that I have on display. Some are rare and valuable, while others are mostly common, but the one thing that they all have in common is that they are either robots, or robotic in nature. What does that mean? What does that say about me? I love to doodle and I often find myself sketching eyes. But then I heard that if you doodle eyes it means you feel persecuted, and watched all the time, or some such thing. What does it mean that I like robots so much?
My first and most obvious guess is that robots = power. I feel small and powerless, so I have a secret fantasy about being inside or controlling a robot, to crush all those who oppose me in the real world. How dare you cut me off on the freeway! Just wait a second while I get my suit of transistorized armor out of the trunk of my car and I'll stuff your driveshaft down your freaking throat!
Is that what it is? Is it that simple? I have my doubts.
I grew up in Chicago watching Gigantor cartoons on WGN. Little Jimmy Sparks is given control of a giant robot, for some reason (by a Doctor Brilliant of all people). That was pretty cool and all, but as a kid I don't recall especially wanting to have control of my own giant robot. Sure, I wouldn't turn one down if they were giving them away, but I didn't stay awake at night praying for it to happen.
Maybe it's the armor aspect of robots that appeals to me the most. I've been fat my whole life. There's a school of thought that fat people stay fat to form a barrier between them and other people/and the world. They create a shield (or armor) of fat to keep people away. There's a number of reasons why they might do this, but it mostly boils down to not feeling worthy enough to belong or to have close friendships. Do I like Iron Man toys and comics because I've got my own personal suit of armor? Perhaps. Do I remain overweight to be like Iron Man? No. It's more likely that I’m overweight because I sit at this computer all day eating cheese from a can.
Wait, that’s not true. I don’t eat cheese out of a can. I hate the stuff. I only said it because the phrase ‘cheese from a can’ is funny. Well, to me it is. The truth is that I do sit more than I stand, and I eat when I’m not hungry.
Oh, and I really think that Iron Man is cool.
I'm not certain what the answer is, and by now I've forgotten the question. All I do know is that Iron Man is cool.