I never wanted to be famous. Perhaps, that’s why I’m not. With my action figure past, I could have been famous…so so famous.
G.I. Joe was famous because this plastic model of destruction convincing his company to accept him and many children wanting to be like a doll, yes, a doll, embracing an arsenal and no conscience. This doll carried a bazooka, hand grenades, machine gun, and bug spray. G.I Joe was an action hero to many.
Action figures are defined as play time boy toys made out of silicon, rubber, and asbestos. Sometimes, toy makers would inject a little maple syrup to increase the intensity required for to secure a hill.
In the mid seventies, I became an action figure. Yet, I was a real life action figure for my brothers. Not supplied with hooks, knives, grenades, or guns, I was succumbing to mental suppression and physical abuse because I was wearing leg braces at the age of five. Wearing the braces lasted two years. The fun my dear brothers had with me only lasted a few months.
The leg braces were fine for a few days. I learned to live with them. They were funny looking. Leather shoes, a triangular crotch separating my legs with leather straps wrapped tightly around my thighs and shoes with tire tread soles. To be honest, although wildly uncomfortable, I didn’t mind the attention at all. Even if the attention would come with a form of torture, a term I loosely use.
Going in depth with how wonderfully my family treated me during this time I was supposed to feel so helpless and sorry for myself, they made it properly clear they would help me if necessary and I shouldn’t feel sorry for myself. Some of them also said, “Since you’re getting all the attention, you are going to pay a price for it.” During the winter months, I became a three and a half foot tall Christmas tree ornament hanging vertically with my brothers and neighbors taking aim. Yes, they’d hang me upside down dangling from a tree. Other than the wool gloves covering my face with one hand and my genitals with the other, I was defenseless.
I didn’t know what “paying the price for it” meant until I was swinging from a tree in my braces, only to be targeted by snowballs during the “Happiest Time of the Year.” My silver bells weren’t ringing. They were stinging. After a long half hour, I could only wish for the balls to cease. Eventually, they did.
Entering high school, the stories grew like a beanstalk. Teachers would ask me if I was pelted with baseballs, footballs, hockey pucks and even golf balls as though my father would drive us to the nearest golf course allowing my brothers to hang me from a tree on the driving range. None of those things ever happened.
This is a bit foggy, or snowy, but I’d like to remember two of my oldest brothers showing up one day to witness the public display of humiliation. Brothers Steve and Glenn arrived one day and put a very stern and prompt end to the snowball throwing gallery, telling them, as my father would sometimes say, “If this happens again, we’re going to kick your asses up beneath your shoulder blades.”
I neve dangled from a tree again.