Friday, February 10, 2012

I Miss My Blaster

Not too long ago in a galaxy right here I had a shiny replica of Han Solo's blaster. It looked something like this one. It was the best toy I ever got.

Like most kids who grew up when I did, I had a few Star Wars toys. I had to share them with my brother and they stayed in his room and the only toy I could play with without an argument was Princess Leia, but I still held some claim to them. I loved Star Wars so much and I thought Princess Leia was pretty damn awesome, or radical, or heinous, possibly bitching, except at five years old I couldn't use that kind of language. Years I was shoved into the Princess role for the very unimaginative reason that I was a girl. To hell with that! I wanted to be Han Solo.

Han had a ship, he had an amazing best friend and he had the courage to chase down Stormtroopers. It was practically love at first sight. And seeing as I was a year old at the time, that's saying something. Han was in short a badass. I wanted a little piece of that badassery myself only I had a problem. I was a girl.

Gasp, horror, Oh say it ain't so! Yep, I was and still am of the female persuasion. I was weird enough in school for being really into Star Wars, but to be a girl and like Star Wars, I might have been a purple unicorn being ridden by a transformer that tossed bags of chocolate at children. It's far more common now and I'm pretty sure that there were lots of girls who liked Star Wars when I was a kid, more than enough of them had seen it, but it was such a boy thing that much like girls being gently directly away from the shop class (I took shop) most girls were gently reminded that Star Wars was for boys. Unless you wanted to play Princess Leia because that would give Tim a break from having to talk like a girl.

I grew up with three brothers and other than on occasion acquiescing to my Mom's request that I wear a dress, I was not cool with being told I shouldn't like things my brother liked. I wasn't anti-girl but I was very anti-anyone-telling-me-what-to-like. I liked Star Wars, I liked Han and I fell in fucking love with that blaster. I would beg, I go stare at it when we went to the toy store. I would fondle it and touch it, I imagined ways to make a holster for it and dress up like Han Solo, so I could travel the galaxy in my Millennium Falcon.

My Father, ever the forward thinker went against my Mother and my Grandmother's wishes and bought me the blaster for my 7th birthday. I remember a moment of acute and exquisite happiness when I ripped off the wrapping paper and there it was. I remember now the sour face my Grandmother made but in that moment it didn't matter. I finally had it. I had the one thing I wanted most. I could now move away from my typecasting and become HAN FUCKING SOLO!

This was to last for about an hour. Maybe a bit more. It's been awhile so the exact details are fuzzy but my Grandmother caught me pointing the blaster at my brother (what the hell else was I supposed to do, he was the most annoying Luke ever) and she totally freaked out on me and took the blaster away. She put it on top of her glass display cabinet, where no one could see it, and told me to sit on the couch for the rest of the afternoon.

I had to go home without my blaster and for the next few weeks when I asked about it she would tell me, "When you've been good enough, you can have it back."
I was good.
I was very good.
I was super amazingly totally fantastically good.

I was told to stop asking as I was making her insane. I to this day maintain that her insanity was not my fault and the fact that she already had kids should prove my innocence in this case.

Months went by and finally one day after a deep cleaning of her house (deep cleaning meaning bullying the single celled organisms to vacate as there was never a speck of anything resembling dirt) that my precious blaster was found. I was so happy, I think I started bouncing. Then I saw the look on her face.
"How did this get up here? A plastic gun?" My Grandmother's puzzlement as to the toy's origin was genuine and it worried me. "Who does this belong to?"
"Me Gramma, it's mine." I said quickly hoping to have it in my hot little hands.
"Stephanie, it couldn't be yours, it's a gun and little girls don't play with guns."She then handed the gun to my mortal enemy (my brother, we, uh, didn't get along) "There you are Alex, go have fun."
"NOOOOOOOO!!!" I shrieked, "It's mine, I got it for my birthday, please, please don't give it to him, it's my toy, my blaster!"
"Alex, go on out and play, it looks like Stephanie will be staying inside. It's boy's toy Stephanie, no one is going to give you a boy's toy, stop trying to take away your brother's things."

After I sat through a lecture, and a whipping for lying, I was finally sent out to play. I hunted all over until I found my brother and started begging for the blaster back. He laughed at me, mocked me for wanting to play with a boy's toy. I didn't care I just wanted my damn blaster. About that point I noticed that it was gone. He didn't have it.
"Where is it? What did you do with it?"
"It fell out of my pocket in the woods, no big deal anyway it was just a gun."
"Where? Where did you drop it?"
"I don't remember, gone now."
"I...I..."I balled up my fists, marched inside and cried on the couch all afternoon.

I never asked for a "boy" toy again. It wasn't worth the heartache.
I wish I had kept the toys we had in better condition.
But mostly...I miss my blaster.

A Big Fat Nerd

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