I can remember the first time I felt deeply betrayed. It wasn’t by a friend or a family member, but instead by a toy company. The early 1990s was a heady time for me. I was fully immersed in the cartoon masterpiece that was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT). I have not bothered to rewatch this show for fear that I would not currently share the opinions of my 5-year old self. Being a prepubescent boy living in the suburbs of New Jersey, I considered this high art. In a bid to further monetize the show, Playmates Toys released a line of TMNT action figures and accessories, which they advertised relentlessly on television at the time. My obsession for the summer of 1990 became the “Mutant Module.” Commercials showed a massive drill bit smashing through a nondescript countertop to break into a supposed gold vault. In rewatching this tv spot, I’m not exactly clear on why I figured this thing could actually drill through table tops. Nor am I certain about why I would want to destroy the various surfaces in my home, but at the time this seemed like a really desirable activity. I was deeply disappointed to open the box though and find a collection of plastic and stickers, which wouldn’t drill through a paper bag let alone a countertop.
I further lost faith in corporate America when I begged my parents, for a straight month, to buy me a pair of sneakers known as LA lights. It was my desire to “own the night,” as the ad campaign used to say. I felt like every kid in third grade had them and I needed shoes that spit red hot LED fire, Continue reading