February 27, 2011

Down and Out in the Plastic Kingdom

At the height of my Minimate-collecting hysteria just a little while back, I first read this lengthy but informative article about how the toy industry worked in the Philippines.

Written by Transformers fan ThunderBreak in the days when Multiply was still the Pinoy's social networking platform of choice, "What You Need To Know About The Phil Toy Industry" (Parts One and Two) was an eye-opening piece that sought to reconcile our typical toy-geek myopia with cold hard economics. It was written specifically to address distribution issues surrounding iconic toy brands like Marvel and G.I. Joe, but the substance of the article itself resonates well with most anyone (most anyone who likes toys, anyhow) regardless of what they collected.

The discussion also continued on Cybertron Philippines, internet home of our local Transformers community. And as their wide-reaching global fanbase (not to mention their nigh-comprehensive wiki site) would surely remind you, Transformers fans are a highly outspoken bunch among toy collectors in general.

Anyway, I'm writing this entry today in the wake of what has to be a very peculiar soul-searching moment for me; a toy collector's crisis of faith, if you will.

You see, March is fast approaching and it will have been exactly one year since I graduated from college and made my official entry into the Real World. Except I haven't actually entered the Real World yet, so instead I sit here at home -- mostly in front of this very laptop screen -- stalling for as long as I can and positively dreading, nay, evading the cruel reality that is our current unemployment crisis. The fact remains, however, that I need to start working eventually if I wish to maintain upkeep of my miscellaneous obsessions, not to mention my lifestyle in general.

Yeah, yeah, I know. Money doesn't make the world go 'round. But as Bono once said (no, really!), it was never really about the money.

Fast forward to 0:13.

In any case, here I am. Baring my soul. About toys, of all things.

A Block At The Forum
I had been fairly vocal about this before on my old blog, but I had always loved my toys growing up, and not just in the syrupy, feel-good Pixar-induced way either. Toys had always been something of my back-up creative outlet, and that one especially bad year it felt like toys were all I had left to make me feel better.

That day might come when I would eventually outgrow them for good, learn to find my bliss elsewhere, preferably via a more "grown-up" outlet like travel or a romantic relationship or whatnot. But honestly? I don't want that day to ever come. I don't want to turn into that humorless sourpuss who can't take a walk on the Barbie aisle bright side every now and then, that sterile adult who can't think and on occasion love like a child anymore, that miserable human being who had completely lost touch with their playful side and can't do so without needing the aid of a happy pill...

I miss being that crazy kid who used to pretend that my bunk bed was a house, that the Sailor Scouts eked out a nomadic existence in a bizarre pirate ship/tank hybrid, that a Hawaiian princess named Tropica lived in an anachronistic European castle on the Maui coast with a parrot and a monkey, that Hellboy moonlighted as a shoulder angel when he wasn't working for the BPRD, that dragons could be swayed with non-violent action, that Renee Montoya often fell into sordid lesbian love triangles with Kate Kane and Morrigan Aensland while Pete and Harry weren't looking, that Vulpix was my totem animal or whatever kind of nonsense I used to act out with my toys back then.

not a real scene from The Spirit
Also, that The Spirit was actually a good movie.

Maybe one of these days I would be able to express all of these things much more eloquently, maybe eloquently enough to be able to make a concrete statement on what really makes people like us tick. And just maybe in doing so, people would stop thinking we're all a gaggle of sociopaths.

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