Toy Stories

Squeaky (Girlush Figure)

[My favorite toy growing up was] my She-Ra castle and dolls. I still have my She-Ra doll in my apartment, but some neighborhood boy got mad and smashed up my castle.

[I always wanted, but never got a] Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine. Pigpen and Captain got one, but I never did, all I got was the Easy Bake Oven.

Pigpen (Girlush Figure)

[I always wanted, but never got] a Power Wheels. Everyone in my neighborhood got one, and I just used to watch them ride up and down the street.

Captain (Girlush Figure)

[I always wanted, but never got] a Power Wheels. My brother got two, and I never got one.

Randal (Creeping Myrtle)

Hands down, it’s Rock’em Sock’em Robots. Instead of actually beating the crap out of my little brother, I could beat the crap out of his Rock’em Sock’em Robot and not get in trouble. I’d just visualize his punk face on the robot and I’d go to town. I can still hear the sound of the robot head rising up to indicate that, indeed, my little brother’s block got knocked off (or probably mine did more often than not, but I’ve got the gift of a selective memory).

[I always wanted, but never got] a guitar. Musicians were deemed “sissy” in redneck, U.S.A., so as soon as I was old enough to drive, I drove myself and all of my belongings to blueneck, U.S.A. and bought a guitar and rented a flat and never looked back (except to relish the days of Rock’em Sock’em Robots).

Brian Krashpad (Crash Pad)

[My favorite toy growing up was an] acoustic guitar, to start. Then Sears cheapo electric, then a Fender Duo-Sonic, which I still have.

[I always wanted, but never got a] Les Paul [and a] Marshall halfstack. Of course, I never asked for either one, because no one who might give me a present (including myself) could afford one. Sigh, some day…

Kelly Minnis (Victory Lap)

I always wanted a remote-control car. Not one of the super-duper nice cars that pro RC guys use, but one of the cheapo Japanese battery-operated jobbies. But alas, my parents did not believe in toys that operated on their own power. So during my sophomore year of college during winter exams, my roommates and I bought $20 cheapy remote-control monster trucks and raced them around my dorm lobby. But if only Santa had brought me one years before…

Jeff Matlow (Crank! Records)

I could say [I always wanted, but never got] world peace and that’d probably sound pretty good and make me out to be some sort of caring fellow, but the reality is I’ve always wanted an electric shaver. I have yet to get it. Apparently, everybody must think I’m joking.

Pat (The Cinematics)

[I always wanted] the Juiceman. I’m talking about the product, not the guy (his eyebrows frighten me).

Keith Parry (Scratch Records)

I always wanted microphones and recording gear, but have never received anything even close. Go figure.

Jessica Hopper (Hyper PR)

I wanted a pony. Forever. I mean, until I was in like eighth grade, I asked with total legitimacy (as my mother was a champion horseback rider ’til she had me — SHE KNEW how girls and ponies are a sweet match). I lived in the city, in a house, and I wanted a pony. Now I want more hours in the day, better DSL service, more interns, a new couch, and a backrub.

Jack Rabid (The Big Takeover)

I never got a date with Cassie Flynn. No, you wouldn’t know her, but when I was 17, that would have been the present I would have wanted most in Dec. ’79.

Kyle (Holiday Matinee)

When I was a little tyke, every single year I asked for the same thing. I would write my aspiring gift list with all of the standard goodies, like Garbage Pail Kids cards and Iron Maiden paraphernalia, but I would always ask for the same thing every year: ColecoVision. I wanted to play Dig Dug in my spare time, I wanted to fuck it up at Space Invaders, and to no avail — I never got it. I have been watching reruns of Freaks And Geeks, and I recently saw the one where Sam gets an Atari; it made me think of those days when all of my friends had the hyped-out video game systems, and I had flute lessons.

Alicia Dara

The present that I always wanted and never got was an excuse to completely write off the entire Christmas thing. I’m born on December ninth, and it’s hard having to share your B-day with Jesus, which irked me as a kid. And also I’ve never been able to understand the hypocrisy of many world leaders of warring nations who call “Christmas truces” for a couple of hours every year. And don’t even get me started on the American Capitalist Spending Frenzy in December. I don’t participate in it and I don’t like it. What I’ve always wanted to do is just spend the last two weeks in December in the tropics, but since I can’t do that, I try to use that time as an opportunity to practice greater compassion for all sentient beings.

Jason Black (Hot Water Music)

This doesn’t necessarily fit into something I’ve asked for but never received, but if anyone could hook me and a few friends up with some seats in the pirate ship at a [Tampa Bay] Bucs game, that would rule.

Toby Carroll (Your Best Guess Records/Eventide Zine)

Pengo for the Atari 5200. I can distinctly remember being eight or nine and wanting it really badly — even though I had no idea what the point of the game was — to the point where I could visualize it under the tree. Strangely enough, I can remember that better than most Christmas gifts that I did get…

Jack Terricloth (World/Inferno Friendship Society)

I’ve found that if you really try hard enough, you always get whatever present you want. Drugs always make a nice gift.

Dan Baird (Former leader of the Georgia Satellites, guitarist with Will Hoge)

It depends on what the definition of a toy is, but my bike, Schwinn with banana seat and butterfly handle bars, was my fave.

The drum kit I never got was the one I most wanted; I got my first guitar instead.

Jade Lemons (Injected)

The present I always wanted but never got was Gene Simmons from KISS to come to my birthday party. I actually sent a letter to the Kiss Army Fan Club and invited him, but it came back because they had changed their address. I cried… I was the most distraught seven-year-old in America!

Sam Rosenthal (Black Tape For A Blue Girl)

[My favorite toy as a kid] was a brown stuffed animal named “monkey.” I believe he was European, because it wasn’t one of your lame puffy American toys, but kinda brittle and almost “realistic.” I love how “stuffed animal” is no longer a PC word to use in regards to toys, because it might imply a stuffed carcass of a real animal, so now the industry calls them “plush toys.” Oh, give me a break!!!

[What present did I always want but never got?] That would be a VERY long list, because my parents didn’t give us massive amounts of toys…

Stacey Earle

[I always wanted, but never got] a flower basket for my bike… but I was going to find a way to put it on my pogo stick. I knew I would have trouble keeping stuff in it as I hopped around, so I never got too upset about not getting it. I also wanted the name plate. But there never was a “Stacey.” They always read “Stacy.” So off into the sunset, I hopped.

Rop Vazquez (Semiautomatic)

My favorite toy when I was growing up was this Japanese Sentai robot from the ’70s called VOLTES V. It consisted of five spacecrafts that volt in to form a robot, like the Voltron saga, but way before that; the cartoon that came with it was about three brothers trying to find out about their father that’s been trying to save the world, one of the first-ever Japanimation in Japan. The Power Rangers were off-shoots of this type of robot.

When I was little, I wanted a Doberman, because I saw this movie about five Dobermans that were trained to rob a bank and they pulled it off, but my dad wouldn’t let me have one because we already had five weinerdogs (Dachshunds) and two Lassie kind of dogs and one dog that I don’t remember what breed. You’d think it was pretty selfish considering there were too many dogs already, but I just think the other dogs didn’t do anything special like those Dobermans.

Jason Fondren (Smithwick Machine)

The Six Million Dollar Man was the coolest… Evel Kenievel rocked also, with the motorcycle that you could wind up and do stunts…

For some reason, I always wanted a ventriloquist dummy, but after I saw that movie Magic, I’m really glad I never had one! Creepy…

Elizabeth Elmore

[My favorite toy was] Capsella, and I’m not telling why! You’ll never get it out of me, never!

Apparently, when I was three, I really, really wanted a rocking horse. I ran downstairs Christmas morning and ripped open all of my presents and then just stared at the mess completely dismayed and heartbroken. My mom still gets all teary telling the story. Scarily, it turned out to be quite a devious move on my part — I was spoiled to death for my fourth Christmas.

Jon Bonansinga (The Riptones)

My favorite gift for Christmas was a tackle box full of scuba gear, guns, and accessories for my G.I. Joe with life-like hair (the one that looked like Ed Bradley from 60 Minutes). “It wasn’t a doll, it was an action figure!”

Michael Laird (Unto Ashes)

Probably the single most important toy I ever got was actually the gift of some neighborhood kids when I was 13, namely a relatively crude skateboard, assembled from random parts. From there, I graduated to bigger and better (and more expensive) skateboards, steeper hills, bigger ramps, deeper (empty) swimming pools, giant concrete pipes, slutty girls, hard drugs, punk rock, death metal, apocalyptic folk, and un-Christian beliefs — all of which are still very important to me today!

Andrew May (Spanking Catherine)

I never got anything cool for Christmas becauce I am Jewish and we don’t celebrate it. That is why most of my music is really “angry.” I did get a bitchin’ white Marshall Anniversary Series half stack for my 16th birthday, so it ain’t all bad…


[My favorite toy as a kid was] Lincoln Logs. I used to get sent to my room a lot for doing bad things, and I had a set of Logs there. They were a great way to forget that I was supposed to be being punished!

[I always wanted, but never got] a stable family life… I still haven’t received that yet…

Eric Alexandrakis (Y & T Music)

When I was five or six, my favorite toy was a police car that would talk when you pushed the siren light on the roof. It was given to me by my kindergarten girlfriend. My family had to hide it from me, because all I would do is press the button and drive them crazy with its constant, “Give yourself up! You are surrounded by policemen!”

Actually, the only gift I seem to remember that I had always wanted was a Bugs Bunny doll. I asked for it in second grade, and then again the following years. I didn’t get it until I was 25.

Matthew Sweet

This is hard to answer, as I had many beloved toys over the years… still do! I remember particularly being into my Corgi toy Space 1999 spaceship (a live-action show created by Gerry Anderson of Thunderbirds fame, starring Martin Landau). For that matter, I had a Thunderbirds ship I loved, too… and those puppets still crack me up!

I was constantly wanting exotic pets as a kid, always loved animals and nature. Although I made it from Sea Monkeys (brine shrimp) to Sea Horses and small lizards, I never got the Kinkajou (a supposedly docile monkey-like creature) or spider monkey I really wanted! The carnivorous plants, giant millipedes, tarantula, and various family cats just didn’t make up for it… maybe this is why I take such pleasure in stories about Elvis and his pet chimp, Scatter. Of course, now I just feel bad for most exotic animals in captivity…

Matt Wong (Reel Big Fish)

My favorite toys growing up where probably any kind of Transformers toy, like the Autobots or Decepticons. It was like having two toys in one.

There were too many things that I wanted growing up that I never got. Not because of my mom saying no, but probably because I was a greedy kid. I was kind of an asshole when it came to toys. Hopefully, I grew out of that… maybe?

Jeff Dahl

[My favorite toy as a kid was] probably a big sack of toy army men. You could always amuse yourself for a couple hours with those. I think I finally ended up destroying them with firecrackers or melting them down into a big plastic puddle. I was fairly destructive as a kid. This would be before I discovered girls.

[I always wanted, but never got] a surfboard! I grew up in Hawaii and I did have a ratty, dinged-up old board that I had scammed someplace or other. But I always wanted a nice, new, shiny twinfin miniboard with some stylin’ graphics. I was a pretty crappy surfer, but I figured a better board would make me better on the waves. Too expensive, though.

Gabe Sucedo (The Red Pony Clock/Magic Tennies)

My favorite toy growing up was GI Joe, the real American hero.

The present I always wanted but never got was for my mom and dad to get back together and give me the love and stability I needed during those tough days growing up in the ghettos of San Diego. I can only blame myself.

Mike Turner (Bee’s Knees ‘zine/Happy Happy Birthday to Me Records)

My favorite toy growing up was tied between two things: G.I. Joe action figure “Snake Eyes” (second version, with swivel arm action), and not a toy, but my all-time favorite was a freestyle bike I got in sixth grade. Diamondback “hot streak” with mag wheels. It didn’t take long to move on to another bike, but this got me into freestyle bike riding.

The toy I never got was the Star Wars At-AT. I had most other Star Wars toys, but this was the year where they didn’t make enough, and it was near impossible to find.

Ryan Seagrist (Discount/Digital Gorilla/The Kitchen)

I think [my favorite toy] would have to be Garbage Pail Kids Cards (although I don’t know if they qualify as toys). Maybe it’s just that I remember them being really funny, but I suppose that’ll do.

I always wanted to get Nike Airs when I was really young. They were too expensive. It was silly, but I really wanted some in my younger sporting days.

Christopher Moll (See Venus)

What was [my] favorite toy growing up? Ahh… there were so many. Obviously, my Star Wars action figures. Micronauts were very cool… but I was a funny kid. Those two action figures collections could never exist simultaneously in my fantasy playworld because their body joints were completely different. I wasn’t a mix n’ match kid.

[I always wanted, but never got] the Mork from Ork talking doll. I actually had it, or almost had it. My mom had purchased it, wrapped it, and placed it into the secret Santa hiding lair contained in our house. Come Christmas morning, after I had completely unwrapped all of Santa’s deposits, she sat there somewhat puzzled. “That’s funny,” she said, “I was talking to Santa and he assured me that he had a Mork from Ork talking doll for you.” Years later, she explained to me the real deal, in terms of her purchasing the gifts and what not. She even showed me the receipt for it, but it never turned up. We’ve long since moved from that house, but I often wonder if the new owners have ever encountered a mint, Christmas-wrapped 1970s Mork from Ork talking doll while crawling around the secret Santa hiding lair. Shazbot!!!

Dan Geller (Kindercore Records/I Am the World Trade Center)

My mom never let me have Star Wars toys. When they reissued everything a couple years back, she sent me a Landspeeder. I think it may have been too late…

Tony (Fueled By Ramen Records)

I think my favorite toy that lasted all the years throughout the changes from Star Wars to G.I. Joe to He-Man was this Fisher Price Castle that my mom got me at Happy’s Flea Market. I played with that with all my action figures because it was a castle, had a trap door, a hidden room behind the bookshelf, and made a good home base. My mom runs a day care, and the kids there continue to rock out that old-ass castle.

I always wanted one of those racecar tracks that went up on the wall. I ended up buying one last year, at the age of 23. The damn thing broke after a week.

Al Galvez (A Kite is a Victim/Space Cadette Records)

My favorite toys growing up were Star Wars figures.

A toy I always wanted but never got ’cause my parents told me I’d kill myself with [it] was an ATC (which I probably would have killed myself with).

Jimmy Hughes (BumbleBEAR Records/The Boys’ Star Library)

[My favorite toy growing up] was Star Wars figures. I know that technically that’s “toys” and not a “toy,” but I can’t pick just one.

[I always wanted, but never got an] Atari… but then, eventually, I got a Nintendo.

Joey Shanks (The Limes)

My favorite toy growing up was the Weeble Wobble people, particularly the tree house playset.

I always wanted a dog like Lassie, but no, I got more crummy action figures. How could you, Mom and Dad? I even wrote Santa. No luck.

Ryan Andrew Cady (Audiopants Sound Recordings)

I think everybody loved the Snoopy Snowcone Machine growing up. Everybody had one, but nobody was ever allowed to use it. My favorite toys right now, though, are the most obscure ones. Like the ones you can get at the Dollar Store and Big Lots. My current favorites are the talking Baby Geniuses doll (from the hit movie Baby Geniuses. $4 at Big Lots), and the Bubbly Chubbies (a scary Teletubbies rip-off that has eyes that light up red. $2 at Big Lots). Both are pretty scary, to say the least.

[I always wanted, but never got] the talking Pee Wee Herman doll. Hands down. I know you are, but what am I!

Robert Burke Warren

My favorite toy was Pierre, the pirate marionette. I named him. I would spend hours untangling his strings — I was always a good at untying knots. Pierre was swarthy and looked very much like a sunbaked Frenchman and/or an Arab. Black pirate hat, Gallic nose, eyepatch, nose and earrings, knee-pants, blouson-type shirt, buckle shoes. Oversize head and hands. About a foot tall. He resembled a scale model of a New Romantic member of Bow Wow Wow from the early ’80s. Perhaps that’s one reason I got into that genre for a while. He was made of wood, too — no plastic. So he had a bit of heft to him.

My Mom — a single mother going to school — had a bunch of her friends over one day, and I put on a show. I constructed a little theater out of chairs and sheets with a stage and a big Magic Marker-drawn sign. “Presenting the Great Pierre!,” or something like that. I was really into Aerosmith — I was about nine or ten — and Pierre performed “Walk This Way” for the assembled. I prided myself on being able to make his mouth sync up pretty well with Steven Tyler’s rapid-fire delivery. It was a moveable mouth — he was pretty sophisticated. I think he also did Peter Frampton’s “Do You Feel Like I Do?,” complete with talk-box solo. If memory serves, it was hilarious and everyone was in stitches. I had made a cassette of the songs — taped in front of the stereo — and of Pierre talking, variety-show style, a la Flip Wilson, Sonny & Cher, etc. — this was the heyday of that type of entertainment. I can’t imagine what type of accent I gave him. Probably sounded like a cross between something from Dr. Demento and Fat Albert, with a little goofy nine-year-old Southern kid thrown in. I even went as Pierre that Halloween — my first-ever homemade costume.

I found an old handmade doll’s chair in my grandmother’s basement — it had belonged to one of my aunts and had been put together in the ’40s. It was painted red and Pierre fit in it perfectly. I sat him there, and eventually, there he remained. A few years ago, I came across Pierre and the red chair languishing next to the dehumidifier in my grandmother’s basement. I put him on a set of shelves upstairs in a room that contains only books about the Civil War. It’s the main room of the house, where the TV is. He’s still there, watching over all. My Mom saw him and shed a few tears for bygone days. One of these days, I will get around to untangling his strings again.

Amanda (Bis)

I was obsessed with Lego. I made some stunning objects with it, like massive houses and animals. Lego is one of the best inventions ever. I always wanted a Lego house to live in, but I never had enough of it to build one.

I always wanted Mr. Frosty, the snowman that gives your slush puppy type drinks out of it. My Mum and Dad would never get me it, and all the other kids at school had it.

Keith Welsh

[My favorite toys growing up would include] Voltron, G.I. Joe, Thundercats, Go-Bots (I was really into Transformers), M.A.S.K., He-Man (he had great pecs), Star Wars, and some weird generic toys I had. You know, like the ones you get in Winn Dixie? I just loved to play. Playing comes before everything when you’re a kid. Oh yeah! Cardboard boxes. They were great!

I always wanted Godzilla toys, but they were hard to find.

Manav Tanneeru

[My favorite toy growing up was] my teddy bear, Charlie. A constant companion since age three. He’s still around.

I always wanted my own battery-operated car that I could drive around in when I was little. But I didn’t get it. Tragic.

Jason LaGreca (The Assistant)

I had a deep passion for Transformers. In fact, I just recently found my Transformers bed sheets that rise into a tent!!! Does anybody else remember these things?

[What present did I always want but never got?] Oh man, that’s easy: The AT-AT from The Empire Strikes Back. I remember I was promised one when I was little in order to get a shot taken. Well, I got the shot, and the sore arm, but no AT-AT. What’s up with that!?!?

kaRIN (Collide)

[My favorite toy as a kid was] a clock that talked. When my family moved from one house to the next, they forgot the toy. I never forgot about it.

Debbie Diamond (The Januaries)

Favorite toy… I guess it was the boy doll that I got when my parents took me to Denmark. I was 6. It was a boy dolly, dressed in denim, freckly faced, with a penis, and it could pee if you put water in it and squeezed it. I had all the kids on the block come over and witness it, and we all got very giddy…

Frank Meyer (The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs)

My favorite toy as a kid was my plastic KISS electric guitar. It had plastic strings, too, so you couldn’t really play it, but it had a big picture of KISS on it, so it looked really cool. The only problem was that my brother and I couldn’t wait for Christmas morning, so we snuck out and opened all the presents ever so slightly so we could see what was inside, under the wrapping. Then we placed the torn side face down under the tree so our parents wouldn’t see all the rips and tears. Needless to say, we got totally busted and had many presents taken away from us… but I held onto the KISS guitar!

I always wanted one of those cool Spider-Man Webshooters. They strapped onto your wrist and you could actually shoot this silly string kinda stuff that, to me, as a kid, seemed about as close to shooting actual webs as possible. To this day, I still want one of those fuckers! MOM!!!!!

David Whited

My favorite toy?

I don’t know if you’d call it a toy or not, but definitely, my first motorcycle. I was about 11. It was Honda 90. I could ride from my home in Eastern Kentucky to any number of places up to about 20 miles away — without ever once getting on the asphalt. Our occasional ventures over into Virginia required us to get on a paved County road for a couple of miles. These trips sometimes resulted in a cat-and-mouse game between us “bikers” and the local Constables. Our motorcycles were not licensed, or even “street legal,” for that matter. The only time the Constables ever caught any of us was when a couple of our crew wiped out in a curve during a pursuit.

What I didn’t get?

Well, when I was about this same age, I’d kill time before Christmas getting my baseball glove ready for storage and getting my winter boots in shape for winter with Saddle Soap. I recall sitting around one night going through this routine while watching The Avengers. All of a sudden, I got a terrible hankerin’ to take about a gallon of that Saddle Soap to the then-young and leather-clad Diana Rigg. I never got a chance to do that. I could’ve saved her. It’s too late now.

Steve Walls (33.3)

My favorite toy as a kid would have to be my first bike. I got it for Christmas when I was 4. It had a green and silver metal flake banana seat and big ol’ ape-hanger bars with streamers coming out of the grips. It was the coolest thing I had ever seen. It looked like a little chopper. It was way too big, but it had training wheels, so I figured out how to get on it and rode like crazy. I insisted on keeping it in my room for the next few weeks.

The thing I wanted most as kid, and didn’t get, was this little programmable tank-like thing, I can’t remember what it was called. You could program it to move around the room in patterns. Anyway, it looked really cool in the commercial. When Christmas finally rolled around, I begged my mom for it. A few days before Christmas, a big box with my name on it showed up under the tree. I thought that it had to be the little programmable tank-like thing, but I needed to be sure. I struck up a bargain with my sister, “I’ll tell you what one of your presents is if you tell me what’s in the big box.” She agreed, so I immediately asked her if it was the little programmable tank-like thing, she said it was. I was pretty excited until I opened the box on Christmas morning and realized my sister had been completely shitting me: It was some lame-ass drawing table thing, which actually ended up serving me pretty well. I still have it.

Darin (The Panoply Academy)

My favorite toy was the set of wings I received from the uncle I was named after. He taught me how to use them by feigning ignorance so I would teach him. On his shoulders, aimed at the edge of the cliff overlooking the creek we called “the creek,” I would squawk like a pterodactyl until he could tolerate it no more and would attempt to run from me. With the claws I made, I would hang onto him until the edge, where he would stop on his heels and send me sailing, head over heels, towards the water that would bead on the feathers attached to my back. He would pick me up downstream wherever he could catch me. Sometimes, especially during high water, the chase he gave would stretch for miles — that is, if I even landed in the water.

I always wanted an arrow-proof vest so my sister and brother and I wouldn’t have to suffer the worries of the adults when we returned from our Cupid-esque battles with the puncture wounds received.

Adam Duce (Machine Head)

When I was 11 years old, I got a Yamaha DT100J for Christmas. That’s an enduro motorcycle (for all you non-dirt riders). I think that was the one present that had the most impact on me to this day. I still ride dirt bikes. I just tore up the mud on my Yamaha YZ490 yesterday. It was a fuckin’ blast!!!!!!

Trey Woodard (Papercut Records)

My Green Machine Big Wheel [was] the coolest thing on three wheels. In my Ohio neighborhood, there were lots of kids, but only one Green Machine. So not only did it blow away any other Big Wheels, but it was awed by the other kids. Get that thing going downhill, jam one lever forward and pull the other one back — awesome 180 degree spin every time and never a flip-over! Better still if you could make a little skid mark on the concrete with the plastic back wheels (pretty hard to do).

[I always wanted, but never got] the first Boba Fett action figure you had to send away for with proofs of purchase. My mom sent in proofs of purchase, but mine never came and it wasn’t until years later [that] it was mass-released. Damn!

Richard Adams (Hood)

[My favorite toy growing up was] my dad’s lawnmower. Qualcast Panther circa ’72. Non-electric. I cut the lawn so often, the grass shriveled and died.

[I always wanted, but never got the] Play-Doh barber’s set. The Play-Doh came out of the head of the plastic man. You then had to cut it with scissors.

Ryan Roxie (Guitarist for Alice Cooper, Snakepit, and Dad’s Porno Mag)

Being an only child, I got a lot of toys! Don’t let these modest only children tell you otherwise… we ARE spoiled! Ha! So now knowing that I had a rather large collection to choose from, my favorite toy by far was the James Bond 007 Silver Sports car made by Coby, taken from the movie Goldfinger. It came with the gun shield you triggered by pressing the exhaust pipe, changeable license plates, headlight machine gun cannons, and the infamous ejector seat (complete with TWO ejectorees ’cause they knew you were gonna lose at least one!). I think my James Bond car even included an official spy contract that made me an international expert on espionage or something like that. Who needs a license to ill when you’ve got a license to kill? Eat your heart out, Austin…

I never got a Big Wheel tricycle toy, whose equivalent these days is probably the SUV… You know, pretty much the most dangerous vehicle on the sidewalk to everyone else except the guy behind the wheel — the big wheel, that is. Yeah, intimidating and menacing all right, until ya took a sharp turn, then it was off to tumbling class ya go (hey, sounds like the SUV again… hmmmm). And this was in the days before bicycle (or tricycle) safety was on the top of our elected officials’ agendas. In those days, if you wore a helmet when you rode a bike, you probably took the short bus to school. What were we thinkin’? “Hey, guys, concussions for all my friends!” So yes, I owe it to my overprotective mom, who never got me a Big Wheel, for me being the cerebral smart-ass that I am today.

Daniel Sobus (Clairecords)

Kind of tough to narrow it down since it was different every year, really. But I’d have to say the running favorite for many years was Richard Scarry’s Puzzletown. I had two of the “towns,” and must have built and played with them thousands of times.

[I always wanted, but never got] Laser Tag. Funny, ’cause no one I knew had it either — damn useless poor friends!

Pete Ness (The Panoply Academy)

I had a die-cast toy plane when I was eight or ten years old, I guess… I can’t remember where or why I got it. It was about 12 inches long. I’m 26 now, and I do still remember the ID number on the wing: N145GA.

I always wanted a metal detector, but I never got one… and I haven’t ever bought one for myself, either.

Matt Fuller (City Girl’s Boys)

[My favorite toy as a kid was] Rock’em Sock’em robots… not the stupid Terminator reissue, the original with the very ’50s looking robots. They made the coolest noise when you punched the head. My brother and I had originally found the Rock’em Sock’em robots in the attic of the house we grew up in, a remnant from one of our relatives’ toy collections.

For some unknown reason, I always wanted a Green Machine, which was made by the company that made the Big Wheel, but it had these two handles that co

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