Recent Yard Sale Finds

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I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again. The 1980s were weird. Take a slasher flick about a disfigured murderer of kids. Make a novelty talking doll out of it. Add poseable arms and legs. Make sure to advertise that on the box. Total selling point. Put it on the shelves at Toys R Us. The kids will really go for it.

And here’s the thing. WE REALLY DID GO FOR IT. I wasn’t even allowed to watch Nightmare on Elm Street and didn’t see it until my late teens, but like other kids at the time, I was completely sucked into the merchandising bonanza. When I think of Freddy Kruger, I don’t think of a psychotic who tortures and murders children in their sleep. I think of a nostalgic and iconic figure whom I really just wanted to be for Halloween.

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Released by Matchbox in 1989, The Talking Freddy Krueger doll was controversial and didn’t hang around on the shelves for too long. And in fact, despite what I say about my cuddly nostalgia for all things Freddy Krueger, I most definitely would not have wanted this doll in my bedroom at night. You see, I was never scared of monsters under my bed/in my closet. I was far too intelligent for that. My fears were completely rational: like bees. Man, fuck bees. Or jellyfish. Or dolls strangling me in my sleep.

So it’s with all of this context that when I saw this Talking Freddy Krueger doll the other weekend at a yard sale, I had to have it. I even paid more than I normally would, although I still got a damn good price for fifteen bucks.

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The box is in solid shape and the pull string function works like brand new. He spouts out fun phrases like “let’s be friends,” or my favorite, a shrill string of maniacal laughter.

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Finding this book briefly inspired my next great life plan. The average game of Pac-Man lasts something like a minute and a half. And my average game of Pac-Man probably lasts less than half of that. I’m terrible at it. So when I found this book, my first thought was “oh cool, something neat for my retro gaming shelf,” and my second thought wasn’t really a thought but instead a moment of divine intervention. A beam of light broke through the clouds and shone down on the book while illuminating the world around me. In the distance, I heard a bluebird sing.

I could read this book cover to cover. Study it. Know it. Live it.

That dream lasted about five pages into the book when I reached the sentence: “I have attempted to put together an easy-to-understand guide to learning Pac-Man, starting with the simple beginning patterns and progressing to advanced ones—all diagrammed in detail on the Pac-Man schematics.”

Oh, Pac-Man schematics. You lost me. I am never going to be able to study schematic plans. I barely have the patience for untangling my iPod headphones. And I’m not ever going to remember the thirty-five different arrow directions of which way to go through the schematics. I can’t even remember what I had for breakfast. (And no, in fact, we are out of the waffles again since my last my post.)

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Seriously. Look at this. Just look at it. This isn’t what I need to help me master Pac-Man. What I need is a Game Genie and a bottle of Adderall. Oh well, goodbye, dreams. I’ll be over here trying to see things in those Magic Eye picture books. (Still on my bucket list. FOREVER. NO I CANNOT SEE THE DOLPHIN.)

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Finally, dinosaurs. There’s really not much to say about them. Except, well, dinosaurs. DINOSAURS. DINOSAURS.

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15 thoughts on “Recent Yard Sale Finds

  1. In 7th or 8th grade, I had a Freddy Kreuger movie poster on the back of my door for not even a week until I sheepishly rolled it up and stuffed it in my closet because it was just too much to look at. Equally terrifying is the idea of pacmathematics!

  2. I wonder what happened to Ken Uston. Did he go on to solve the mysteries of Tetris or maybe Dr. Mario? I could google this, sure, but I suspect that won’t be half as fun as imagining all the possibilities that writing “Mastering Pac-Man” would have provided him.

  3. Toys R Us still has the inappropriate goods. This past weekend I saw a bobble head of Jigsaw from the Saw moves for sale there. Good times. And great blog!

    “Pull My String, If you dare!”

    1. that’s funny because I was going to comment how you’d never see something like “saw” dolls on the shelves these days for kids. what do I know?

  4. I think I had that Pac-Man book, or one very much like it. The thing I didn’t get is that the patterns would not show you how to complete the entire maze. I guess you were supposed to figure the rest out yourself. If you’re going to make me memorize a pattern, give me the whole thing!

  5. I had a Freddy Krueger hand as a kid that I would wear around all the time trying to creep people out. I remember as a kid walking down the grocery store aisles with the hand on as if it was totally normal. I miss that hand.

  6. I used to have that Pac-Man book and after I saw those patterns in it I just said the heck with it and tossed it too the side lol. Great score on that Freddy I think those can go for a decent price these days.

  7. I remember when I saw the remake in theaters I thought, “Man, why did they make Freddy Krueger so ‘rapey’? Back in my day he just spouted off a bunch of terrible puns.” It wasn’t until I was back in my car that I remembered…”Oh yeah, because he raped kids.”

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