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FTTW Reader's Choice: We Had to Have It
by Turtle Jones
It seems as if you, the readers, have commented on what we write about tonight. We asked earlier today about what you wanted tonight and you responded. We counted the most number of votes in agreement for our topic of choice. Kali wins this round.
This is it.
You wanted blood, you got it.
But, this comes with a price. You need to tell us what your "first must have" is. We gotta deal?
Then lets do it.
Our first must have.
turtle is up first.
Really, I never had a must have. I can tell you about the time I tried to steal a Happy Steak sign from one of the last ones being torn down, or when I stole a M*****B****** sign to for someone to make them smile for the night. But, in reality, I've never had a "must have." It's just not in my nature. I looked for old skateboard pictures and thought about my past. Maybe the tattoo I never finished. Maybe the skateboard. Nothing ever really pulled me in. You never really get used to having "must haves" when you never expect anything. I sat for at least a half an hour tonight thinking about it. What was the first thing I had to have?
Kira from Black Flag's Rickenbacker. I needed that. I needed that sound. I looked at my bass in shame after I heard her sound. She had that sound I needed. That cool "I'm better than I look" of the shape of the bass. How you could hold it up as you walked into the dust just holding it by one hand. That was what I wanted. But, after looking them over, I decided that there would be no way in hell I could ever afford on of those. Pipe dreams. Put it away. Let it go.
I guess the whole thing with the Rickenbacker started with the love from the tone. I never really cared that much, but the bass really grabbed me. Always. The sound of it. How it commanded the stage to pay attention. Ok. Maybe I might wanna play this thing. The Who really brought that out front. But what really grabbed me was the sound of one bass live. That was the Rickenbacker. When I was older, I saw the bass player from the Bangles looking so cool when she played in "Walk Like An Egyption." Kira. Coolness. John Entwistle with whatever the fuck he played. I needed one.
Problem was, I was broke. Playing a knock off Fender. It's what you do when you are learning. You buy knock off. I always dreamed of having a real Rickenbacker but there was no way in hell I could afford one.
One day at a garage sale, I saw one. Fucked up and broken up. Pickups torn off and paint faded. Fifty bucks. I picked it up and looked at it. I held it. It was real. It was hurt, but it was real. Beat down too many times but screaming to come back up. I could do this. I could make it sing again.
I paid for it and took it to my car. I couldn't believe it. I had one! I rolled home and called some friends. Acquired pickups and fixed the fret and restrung it and it was working. Well, not yet. I still had to plug it in. Rickenbacker pickups and Rickenbacker body. Streched stings. Everything looked good.
I plugged it in.
Light turned on.
Feedback poured out of the amp.
Then the sound hit me.
Update: It's been a long fucking day today. The original entry has been changed to respect the person I really meant to be talking about. Long day. I'm human. I make mistakes. -T
I wasn’t really a “gimme gimme” type kid. I never begged my parents for a specific toy or saved up for a specific object. I’m more of an impulse buyer. Even today I will see something I’ll drool over (like a $100 light saber) and I’ll think about it for a bit then put it away in my mind with all the other ridiculous things I wanted but never got. I mean, there was only one thing in my entire life where I said "I have to have that. I must have that. That must be mine." And he is. So I've got that going for me. But I never came across something when I was a kid that “had to” have to the point where I scrimped and saved for it or tormented my parents about it.
But as an adult.
I should explain that I have some OCD tendencies. Especially when it comes to collecting things. If I start a collection I have to finish it. It’s why I own the worst Stabbing Westward CD ever made and why I own Attack of the Clones. And three different versions of Evil Dead. I can’t have a collection go uncompleted. It eats at me. So...
Oh god. This is embarassing.
This wasn’t about me, ok? These things weren’t for me.
The thing I had to have was...
The White Ranger.
Yes. As in Power Ranger. Mighty Morphin Power Ranger.
It was 1995. The MMPR movie had just come out. McDonald’s was offering some cheesy toys with their Happy Meals. A belt and a siren or some shit. But they had power zords, too. Not just zords. POWER ZORDS. Over the counter (no Happy Meal necessary), set of six, $1.49 each. You could only buy one at a time and they were introduced I think two a week. And of course, the white ranger was last.
1. Yellow Ranger, Bear Ninjazord
Thankfully, my best friend was just as obsessive as me when it came to collecting things. I mean, our kids really wanted these things. Power Rangers were all the rage. They were huge. It was like one day they were watching Barney and singing songs about manners and the next day they were throwing nunchucks at the grandmother. They were fixated. And they wanted the toys. Seriously. They wanted them. Not me. It’s not like I was obsessed with the White Ranger or anything. Not at all. Nope. Not me.
So we went to McDonald’s. Often. Checking in to see if they introduced the new Ranger yet. Making the girl behind the counter show us the box she was pulling the zords out of so we could see if there were any colors in there she missed. Begging them to tell us when the new zords would be put out.
We started hitting more McDonald’s. We noticed some were using different release schedules. We finally got all of them. Except the White Ranger. When we hit the McDonald’s in my town the Friday it was supposed to come out, they were already gone. What the hell? It’s 9am, what do you mean you are sold out? We both got that crazed look in our eyes.
So we drove around Long Island, visiting as many McDonald’s as possible.. The kids were sick of ball pits and sick of french fries. They stopped caring about the zords long ago. But we had to go on. We had to finish the collection. We had to have the White Ranger zord.
We clocked about 100 miles on my friend’s car that day. Drove from one end of the Island to the other. Everywhere we went, the White Ranger was gone. The kids were crying to go home. Four crying kids - two five years olds and two three year olds - one of whom was puking up a cheeseburger and one who said she was refusing to hold in her pee if we didn’t get her home right now. My friend and I looked at each other with a “what the hell is wrong with us” stare. We’re fucking crazy. There’s something wrong with us. Let’s get these kids home.
We were cruising home, driving through Oceanside when Barbara spotted it. A McDonald’s. Hidden away in a shopping center. She swerved into the turning lane before I could even mutter “what’s one last stop going to matter now? The car is already covered in puke and pee and french fries.” We went through the drive through. Held my breath as Barbara asked.
They had the White Ranger! High fives!! We turned around to celebrate with the kids, but three of them were asleep and the other one was whispering something like “Kill the White Ranger” over and over again. I think.
Whatever. It was worth it. I could sleep at night again knowing my collection was complete. I no longer had to look at the Zords lined up on my son’s shelf and get hives knowing there was one missing. The elusive White Ranger had been found.
And if you think this was bad, you don’t even want to know what happened when Taco Bell had Star Wars toys.
I will never tell that story. Ever.
This was bad enough. - M
So that is the end of this installment FTTW Readers Choice Night. As you probably guessed by now, we kinda get shot when we don't have time to bounce ideas off each other. So you will see this again. We went off what the most people wanted and kept it short tonight. We usually do short things at night because our time is always slipping away. Little more to know about how FTTW works. But, as the intro states: You need to tell us what yours was so we can make fun of you, too.
For this post, both of us really didn't have a memory of first wants. Only what we want now. And you can't buy that in a store.
What was yours?