I Think More Than I Forget (Part 4): Respect and Stretch Armstrong
It’s six thirty in the morning and this is definitely my favorite time of the day, with the sun just starting to come up. The house is quiet as no one else has waken up yet. This feels so awesome and relaxing. It’s not often that I see this time of day. Well, I actually see it quite often, but it’s usually at the tail end of a long night at work / taking care of bid’ness day and not like now, where I actually just woke up after (for a change) going to bed at a semi-decent hour and sleeping. Yeah, my usual Sunday night routine of watching three hours of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” just wasn’t doing it for me last night so I was in bed by 1:30am. And now, here I am, up and alert and feeling great (even if it is a Monday… lol).
Before I get started on this little piece of literary composition called, “I Think More Than I Forget (Part 4)”, I want to send a shout out to La Krew Familia, my extended family also known as Kenneth, Tamara and Kayden. Tam’s grandmother passed away a couple of days ago and they’re having a hard time of it. My condolences for your loss. I love you peeps so much and wish I was able to take away the pain of your loss. Please keep these most incredible and awesome folks in your thoughts and prayers.
Saw the most incredible and sexy-ass dude at work on Saturday night, heading out to the woods with beer, ice and a Bootlegger. I wish I could have went with him. He’s so cute and with the most amazing personality too… and if I’m sensing correctly, despite having the face of an angel, there’s a twisted little devil hiding inside too. Would love to hang out and chill and see how well our inner-demons could get along and play. It would be crazy fun. So, “Mr. Hideous”, if you see this, hit me up. Let’s rock!
And now, let’s do this. Instead of my usual routine of picking three topics out of the “Magic Box”, I’m going to pick three topics from the “Magic Box”. Damn, that sounded like a “Lil’ Wayneism”, didn’t it? What I mean to say is that I’ll still be picking three topics from the box, but rather than do them all at once, I’m going to pick a topic, write about it, then pick another topic and write about it and then close this bad mama jama up. Only two topics today since I’ve already written four paragraphs in just my introduction piece and I’m sure that I’ll manage to ramble out at least a couple more on this and that before I’m done as well. Don’t want to talk too much, do I? Oops! Too late.
First topic of discussion is… “Respect”. Or as Aretha Franklin would say, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T… find out what it means to me”. Two definitions of the word respect, from Dictionary.com are: esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability; deference to a right, privilege, privileged position, or someone or something considered to have certain rights or privileges; proper acceptance or courtesy; acknowledgment. So essentially, what’s being said is if a person has some value to you and you think they’re the shit, you can be said to have some level of respect for them.
It’s a double-edge sword, this word “respect” though. I know many people who I don’t particularly care for personally, but I appreciate what they’ve accomplished or how they act (most of the time) and have a grudging respect for them. And there are some people out there, who I like personally and love their company and presence, but have learned to take what they say or do with a grain of salt and respect isn’t necessarily a major factor in our relationship. I’d much rather be respected than liked. If people don’t like me, I’ll get over it. My personality and habits are not necessarily the most endearing or charming at times. But I do want to be respected… for what I’ve accomplished with my writing, for my work-ethic, for keeping my word when I give it and being a straight up kind of guy. I’m not an angel by any means, but I don’t lie and I will do anything I can to help anyone until they burn that bridge or make me feel that they’re just taking advantage and using me for their own purposes.
When people take a person for granted and keep trying again and again to play a person, they’re not showing any kind of respect for me or themselves and it gets old after a while. Pretty damn quickly, actually. And then, to maintain my own dignity and self-respect, the brakes come on and things change. And life goes on.
I generally tend to like people. (Just don’t let it get out because I have a reputation as a loner / anti-social hermit to protect.) But it amazes me sometimes to watch and observe people, especially in my job capacity where I deal with the public for almost nine hours a day, and see just how little self-respect that people have these day. No respect for themselves or anyone else. They come into the store, yelling and screaming and reeking of three-day old sweat and looking nasty and smelling worse. And they don’t care. Clothes are dirty and appearances are rumpled and trashy. The profanity is shooting out in every direction and they’re hitting up complete strangers for change to give them money to get cigarettes or a beer. And these are the women.
What the… ??
Maybe it’s just me, but when we were young, I was taught that there’s a certain way to act in public. Be clean. Be respectful of others. Be self-reliant. Have a sense of pride and care about how others might see you. Watch your language. And treat others like you’d like to be treated. And now? None of this matters. People don’t care about themselves or anyone else. It’s all about what they can get for as little effort or putting out as possible. It doesn’t matter how rude they are or if they have to scream, lie or absolutely disrespect people they should be showing some sort of reverence for. It’s a “me, me, me” society and respect? It’s just like common sense, self-reliance and minding your own business – it’s just a casualty in the war of life and nearly dead in the water.
Some people have called me rude or cold or unfeeling because I’m not overly friendly and don’t socialize much. It’s not because I’m really cold or being spiteful – it’s just that it’s hard to be around and act nice to people who could care less about me or themselves. If they don’t give a damn, why should I? If you need to ask my help, that’s fine and dandy, but if you depend upon me time and time again, but can’t help yourself and don’t even care to at least make an effort to pay back, why the hell should I bother? Simple. After a while, I won’t. Something to think about, right?
Let’s move on to the next topic and then wrap this thing up. The other topic is “Stretch Armstrong”.
Oh wow, does that bring back memories or what? Back in the seventies, there was an “Action Figure” called Stretch Armstrong that did exactly as the name implies… he stretched. At least the arms and legs did. You could pull them and stretch them and then, slowly, they would go back into shape. He was a cool toy to have and I remember using him, along with my GI Joe’s of course, as a “hit squad of heroes”,with all sorts of adventures and battles against the evil Barbie and her minionn (my other action figures). Whatever my imagination at the time could come up with and it was total gang warfare. So cool and so much fun.
You know, I never really did find out what was used to make “Stretch Armstrong” stretch like that. Probably some toxic chemical waste that all of us kids were exposed to at the time, but didn’t care. Hang on a second and I’m going to go Wikipeida this and see what I can find out about this classic 70’s toy.
Here’s the Wikipedia thingy: Stretch Armstrong was in the shape of a small well-muscled blonde man wearing a pair of underwear. Its most notable feature was that the doll could be stretched from its original size (about 15 inches) to four or five feet. (If a tear did develop, it could be fixed with an adhesive bandage. Information on how to repair Stretch can be found inside the instruction booklet that was originally inside his box.) The original Armstrong figure was held in place inside its box by two polystyrene inserts; it could be placed back inside the box for storage.
The original Stretch Armstrong figure was conceived and developed by Bill Armasmith, and was in production from 1976 until 1980 when production was stopped. The original 1970s Stretch is very collectible now and commands high prices on the secondary collectors’ market, selling for hundreds, even thousands of dollars. However, finding one in mint condition is hard. Through storage and play, the figure can become damaged and rendered useless. There are still Original Stretch Armstrongs that have survived the passing of time and are remarkably preserved through sheer luck or being stored at the correct temperature. The figure keeps best at room temperature so thirty years later, collectors are still using Stretch.
Stretch Armstrong is made of latex rubber filled with gelled corn syrup, which allows it to retain shape for a short time before shrinking to its original shape. The later 1990s figures had small beads inside them.
An interesting note here – there are plans for an eventual “Stretch Armstrong” movie and actor Taylor Lautner was said to be involved in the movie, but has since dropped out. A projected release date for said movie is listed as April, 2014.
So the toy was only out for about four years, but they’re making a movie about him now. Way cool. And I went through about three figures in those four years too. (I was rough on my toys.) I wish I still had them now. Wow! This is bringing back some memories. I think I might go dig out my pro-wrestling “action figures” and my GI Joes and my X-Men / Alpha Flight “action figures” too and check them out. The X-Men versus GI Joe and Stretch Armstrong. That would be a battle of epic proportions that I think my then ten-year old self would really have been able to appreciate. Hmmm!
And I think that’s all for now. Time for a shower and some other fun activities to get the day rolling. Have a good one and I’ll see you on the flip side.