Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Senator Frankensolo, I Presume?

In 1977 there was a new movie called Star Wars. Some people saw it, and some toys were made. I was seven years old, and this movie (and its sequels) would rule my life for the next seven years--to the extent that one of the first things I ever wrote was a one-page Star Wars parody called Star Bores. Hammer, Jam, and I expanded that to an entire trilogy of scripts, which we then performed and recorded on audio cassette. They were silly, sophomoric, and obscene. Sophisticated wits, we were not. Enthusiastic, we were. Speaking like Yoda, I am.

Before all that, though, we collected Star Wars action figures. In the beginning there were only eight: Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, C3PO, R2-D2, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Darth Vader, and the Stormtrooper. The first time we went to the grocery store after seeing the movie we saw a spinning rack with these toys hanging on them. Jam and I goggled. We had models of our heroes (and the villains) within our reach, standing heroically in plastic bubbles glued to cardboard tags. We begged, and we were allowed two each. They were 99 cents apiece, so our parents probably thought that was a cheap way out of a bunch of whining.

Jam took home Darth Vader and Chewbacca (I think) that first night. I got Han Solo and the Stormtrooper. Han was my guy from the beginning (more on my identification with secondary heroes in a later post), and I've been a fan of Harrison Ford for almost thirty years because of it.

Somewhere along the line I lost my Han figure. Maybe he was stolen. I don't know, but I wanted to replace him, so I went to the store and got another.

Han had changed.

<- Old Han / New (Frankenstein) Han ->

While the original figure didn't look much like Harrison Ford, it at least looked like a person. Between the purchase of my first Han and my second, Mattel changed the mold for Han's head, and the new one looked like Frankenstein's monster. Collectors now call them "Small Head" and "Big Head," but to me the shape was more significant than the size. The new head was kind of like an inverted triangle, with a bulbous forehead and a pointy chin.

Now, much of that is just background to this post. The truth is, this afternoon my boss had MPR playing while we worked, and I heard the voice of Norm Coleman. I couldn't stand him when he was the Democratic mayor of St. Paul. I had less regard for him when he prostituted himself to the Republicans when the Elephant party had power, and now that he's a senator I can only lament how poorly he measures up to the man he replaced.

The snarky part of me noted how dopey Coleman looks, and I could post his plastic surgery pictures, but I won't. He does look dopey to me, though. He looks to me like he's the face model for the "Big Head" Han Solo.

Sorry, Jam. I'd like to show off my 733t skillz on Photoshop, but my skills are pure ghetto. I can't do you proud.

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