Saturday, August 22, 2009

Stick It To Me, Baby!: Part One

I was originally going to call these posts "Peel Here, Too!" in tribute to Branded In The 80s
nifty, on-going series of sticker-related posts, but I have had to come clean to myself and admit that this idea was less of a 'tribute' and more of a lazy rip-off so I've come up with the above 'Laugh-In' inspired pun as a title instead. Enjoy my wit!

Did anybody imagine that I made it through the sticker craze of the '80's unscathed? Of course not. I have a collector's mentality. If there is something to be collected then I will collect it. Doesn't matter if I particularly want to collect the thing or not. I just have to do it. It's an emotional disorder of some sort, I am sure. There's a void I'm trying to fill with all the crap that clutters my storage buildings. I have no idea what the void is, but it's a void that others fill with drug-use and unprotected sex, so I figure as long as the most shameful thing I have hidden in my closet is that giant Rubbermaid storage container filled with Webkinz than I will just let sleeping Cheeky Dogs lie.

But back to the stickers... my sticker collecting phase may have been triggered by this little collectors album found at some card shop or drugstore a forgotten number of years ago. Dinosaurs and roller coasters, how could I resist it? And once I had my hands on it, I had to start filling it up. The stickers inside run the full length of the track, from 'that still kicks ass today' treasures all the way to 'junkie had to have his fix' head-scratchers. I'll be commenting on some of the stickers on each of the pages as we go along, but don't feel as if you have to read everything... unless you want to totally miss out on my theory as to the true nature of the Smurfs.

Goonies sticker!!! First page and we already have a Goonies sticker! It's a little hard to tell, but that sticker in the upper right-hand corner is a Goonies sticker. Not the most impressive Goonies sticker, but any sticker from one of the Top Five Greatest Movies of All Time makes for an auspicious beginning. You know what movie is not on of the Top Any Number Greatest Movies of All Time? Supergirl. Even after all of these years I have a crystal clear memory of sitting in that theater wondering just what the hell were they thinking with this crap? I was old enough to realize that an invisible monster was nothing more than a budget-saving cop-out, yet I was still too young to understand why the villains in the piece were so much more interesting than any of the good guys. Nowadays I can see that Faye Dunaway and Brenda Vaccaro were just a Rose and a Sophia away from a healthy ten season network run. Selena the evil sorceress introduced me to the concept of 'camp.'

I'll talk about Wonder Walrus and the pastel pig in just a moment.

Here's a perfect example of a head-scratcher... the Astros sticker. Even today I couldn't tell you with any assuredness what sport it is that the Astros play, but there's a sticker with their logo on it in my sticker album. Where's it from? Why do I have it? The answers to those two questions are: 'God knows where' and 'Because it's a sticker and you were collecting stickers at that time.' Also on this page, a Weird Wheels sticker which I am surprised that I actually peeled off and stuck somewhere because I usually just saved those on their cardbacks. Plus, Sugar Bear does his best to try and help fill the previously mentioned void by assuring me that I am loved.

Somewhere down there with the Snorks and the Clown Arounds lie the Astrosniks... a space-based knock-off of the Smurfs that were very popular in Happy Meals at one point. I must have an actual three-dimensional Astrosnik somewhere in my possession, but I can't for the life of me find one anywhere. Thank goodness I have stickers to remember them with!

See that super heroic looking bird up on the award platform? That is Galactic Gander, Downied Defender of the Universe. At least that is what I called him. He and Wonder Walrus both came from the same set of stickers... a collection of nameless anthropomorphic animal super heroes that I absolutely loved! Loved them so much that I named them all and still remember those names some twenty years later. We'll meet the rest of their crime-fighting companions as we continue along.

By the way, was that a good score on Donkey Kong? Doesn't seem like a very good score. Should I be bragging on that?

Admiral Ackbar could very well have been the Jar Jar Binks of 'The Return of the Jedi' (even remembering the presence of the Ewoks in that movie) and yet George Lucas managed to make a giant talking lobster man, the leader of the rebel alliance who co-ordinates the attack that finally brings down the Empire once and for all, a believable and dignified character and not a teeth-grinding joke. Sure he loses his head a little when his troops fly head on into the Empire's trap, but he's a giant lobster man... he's at the mercy of years and years of race memory that tells him to freak out at the first sign of any kind of trap. That way lies the boiling pot. Cut him some slack. My point is... what part of your talent went missing between 'Jedi' and 'Phantom Menace,' George?

That's the Armored Bomber up there above the Incredible Hulk. And please make note of the lion with the dandelions.

Hmmmm.... the only thing that I have to say about this page is that the skeletons glow in the dark and I think that I cheated a little bit by calling a Christmas seal a 'sticker.'

I have always had an intense dislike for most of the food at Burger King. There's something about the way it's prepared or something about whatever kind of preservatives they use in it that not only makes it taste a bit funny to me, but also always gives me an unpleasant 'not quite heartburn' burning sensation in my esophagus after I eat it. Doesn't happen with any other fast food joint. I still loved Burger King when I was a kid. I loved the King himself and I loved the short-lived cast of background characters that surrounded him in my youth... Sir Shakes-A-Lot, the Burger Thing. I have no stickers of the supporting players, but I do have a Whopper sticker.

Say hello to Commander Kitty over there on the left.

It is finally time to address the cutesy plaid elephant in the room. The pastel pig, the dandy-lion, the teddy bear with the flower and now this elephant... too damn cute for words. What were these? These were a junkie fix, that's what they were. Obviously, I was somewhere where stickers were being sold and those were the best I could come up with to waste my money on. What could the other stickers have been, I wonder... Holly Hobbie?

Hey! There's a sticker of an electrical outlet.

Hee, hee, hee... old man smell!

That's Mental Monkey. They practically named themselves!

Puffy stickers are cool, but you know what the trouble with them is? The trouble with puffy stickers is that after awhile they start to look like a Band-Aid that's been on your finger for too long. The edges get frayed and soiled and all sorts of little bits of stuff start sticking to them. You'd be amazed at how much PhotoShopping I had to do to make most of the puffy stickers in this photo album presentable. I couldn't even guess at what some of the stuff that's clinging to them might be. Brrrrr!

Who's that checking out Supergirl? Is that James Buchanon? Did he play for the Astros?

Don't let me go on to the next page without mentioning Heroic Hound's name. It's 'Heroic Hound.'

Let me see... a jaunty little sailor man named Mr. Salty. A body-builder in a fur loincloth. E.T. in drag. A rainbow-winged unicorn. And Carrie Fisher. We can stop taking applications right now. We have officially found the Gayest Sticker Album Page Ever!

The Care Bear is pretty gay too, but that's a 'junkie fix' so it couldn't be counted in the voting.

Wait for it.....


Okay, so here's my theory on the Smurfs. I don't buy the whole "My name is my one defining character trait" shtick. I don't think that Smurfs are each born with a separate and unique obsession/mania/chemical imbalance that none of their brother Smurfs share. I don't think that Jokey Smurf and Brainy Smurf and Baker Smurf or what have you are names so much as they are clan designations. I don't think that the Smurfs have always been the insular, singular community that they now are. I think that at one point there were hundreds of Smurf clans spread across the land. There was the Jokey Clan, who's members always got a kick out of blowing people up and the Hefty Clan who's people enjoyed hanging out at gyms and rubbing oil all over each other at the baths and the Brainy Clan who were all myopic. But the Smurfs, in spite of, or perhaps because of, their striking similarity in appearance and their mostly uniform sense of fashion are fiercely individualistic and could not bear the thought of there being other Smurfs out there that were so very much like them. Flash ahead past a few hundred years worth of inter-Clan, Highlander-like warfare where there 'Can be only one' and what we see on the cartoons is a society made up of the best, bravest and most blood-thirsty single members of each of those forgotten clans. It's just a theory. And somebody else has probably already posited it before me, but I couldn't be bothered to Google and find out.

I have no theory as to why there are no natural-born female Smurfs.

Blink and you'll miss Bullet Brain, the Bird Who's a Blur! His name is a combination of 'bird brain' because he's a bird and 'bullet train' because he's fast like a bullet. I was pretty pleased with that one.

I detest clumping things together in like-related groupings so I couldn't bring myself to put all of my favorite stickers together on the back page of the album where I was being told to do so, but I did make the concession of putting my absolute favorite sticker of forever and always on this page and that would be... the Godzilla sticker, duh! I want a hundred more of those Godzilla stickers so that I can stick them onto everything that I own. I could actually do with one or two fewer of those pantsless, ultra-buff Sugar Bear stickers, though. Wrong, wrong and wrong a couple of more times. I also love that fuzzy Hershey's Kiss sticker that I got at Hersheypark and Firefox was my favorite of the super-hero animal stickers so I put her back here, too. That's right... Firefox. Totally should have copyrighted it.

Phewwww.... admit it. None of you read all of that did you? Don't worry, I won't hold it against. I don't plan on going back and proofreading any of it either so I really can't blame you. Since there was a 'Part One' up there in the title of this post you have probably already figured out that there's going to be a 'Part Two' some day. Some day will not be soon. This took a long time and I am a naturally unmotivated person so I don't plan on going through all this again for at least a couple of weeks. In the meantime... somebody hand me my claymore and point me in the direction of Lazy Smurf. "There can be only one!"


Sam said...

I always scoffed at people who put stickers in sticker books. I prefered to keep mine unstuck and let them get smushed or lost somewhere.

And thus you have this amazing sticker book -- to show your friends, blog readers and team of psychiatrists -- and I have nothing.

Sam said...

This really is a stunning collection. One again I learn a little more about Steve's Brain.

The overlap between us is mostly Return of The Jedi related. I did have some of those PacMan stickers, but that's because I won them in a contest.

I'm also amazed that the sticker book had a whole page for food and beverages.

Stac said...

I read it. All of it. I can't help it; I too have a childhood sticker book-- mine featured aliens in design and had a lot more Poochie puffy stickers, but the gist is similar.

Great blog. :D

Maria said...

Since you invented Firefox.. I'm having a little problem updating. Maybe you can help?

Just kidding! I'm VERY envious of the Admiral Ackbar sticker! And the Sy Snootles. All the Star Wars ones. All I have is a set of puffy Star Wars stickers, but the set includes my favorite character (Bib Fortuna).

At least Skeletor manlies up the page with the cute gingham elephant!