My cousin James had some great toys. I had toys too but his were different and therefore more fun. More fun to break that is. It was never intentional, but I guess I was more careless with his toys than my own and it led to an awful lot of breakage.
Perhaps the most infamous incident of breakage was the day I killed Grimlock. And not just any Grimlock; a Hasbro original 1985 Dinobot Grimlock. (What the hell is he talking about?) A toy representing a character in the original Transformers cartoon, a vintage 80's Grimlock runs about $100 US on eBay right now. And I destroyed it. And it wasn't even mine.
James was in ecstasy over his Grimlock. I mean really, a T-Rex that transforms into a giant robot? We're talking the epitome of cool. He was in love with Grimlock. So of course when we played together, everything had to somehow include grimlock. Which was fine by me cause he was a cool toy.
So one day I got this brilliant idea in my head, maybe after having watched The Longest Day or A Bridge Too Far or one of those excessive, overblown WWII mega-movies and I decided to build a working parachute. Of course, knowing nothing about how parachutes actually work or are designed, my brilliant plan involved Ziploc sandwich bags, twine and Scotch tape. It was a recipe for disaster. But I was determined.
We got the abomination finished and decided to test it. After much debate, it was decided that only the coolest toy was worthy of taking the first test run. So we went up to the top floor of James' house and opened a window and established our flight plan. We didn't want Grimlock to get hurt, so of course we figured that even if the parachute failed, the nice soft grass along the side of the house would cushion his fall. We struggled to get Grimlock into the Scotch tape harness and all was ready.
The moment of truth arrived. Would the parachute work? Would Grimlock land safely? Would a new era of aviation be ushered in at the hands of two boys and their intrepid transforming dinosaur?
We launched Grimlock, and for about 2 seconds it looked like it was going to work. Then the lines tangled and he began to plummet. We were scared, but it's just grass right? I don't know if it was bad aim or the wind or sheer lunatic madness but of course, didn't Grimlock manage to curve back towards the house and land on the worst possible hard, unyielding thing on the entire property. The central air conditioner. And did he land feet first? Or maybe flat on his side so the impact would be spread out over a larger surface area? On no, not Grimlock the Cool and Expensive.
He landed on his neck.
I will never forget the sound of James scream. Sometimes I'll wake up in the night shaking with the echo of it still in my ears. It was like the world disappeared at that moment and something darker took its place. Goodbye innocence, hello the reality of death.
We ran outside and James cradled the ruins of Grimlock in his arms. Grimlock's head had been neatly and permanently severed at the neck. The toy was ruined. There was much crying.
I kind of feel bad about it now, but it also seems funny looking back at it. Maybe if James ever gets married I'll buy him a Grimlock as a Stag present. Or maybe Grimlock is truly gone and exists now only in our memories.
This post is in honour of Grimlock, 1985-1985. The coolest and bravest toy ever.
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