Sunday, April 18, 2010

flop of the topps

When I was in third grade freedom meant going over to my friend Justine's house and walking around the corner, unchaperoned to Woolworth's to purchase Topps Movie Posters. At my home office, the local drug store was one-and-a-half-blocks and two major intersections away. My mom rarely granted that kind of clearance, unless I was in the company of my older, taller siblings.

Justine lived a stone's-throw-and-no-street-crossing-necessary from a virtual retail Elysium and the rules were different in her familial fiefdom. This was never taken for granted. After school or on a weekend we'd stroll over, dollars in hand, and walk straight to the Topp's product shelves. Each time I thought, "This time it will be different. Luck WILL be a lady."

As with their baseball and movie cards, the thrill and anguish with Topps posters was you never knew what you were getting. You paids your money you tooks your chance. That said, if you were Justine, you knew you were getting something awesome. If you were me? You knew no matter how you tried to improve the odds—picked from the bottom or took from the top of the Topps, had Justine choose, etc.—no matter how you sifted and selected you WERE going to tear open the waxy packaging to unveil: THE BLUE LAGOON.

Every. Single. Time.

Justine was blessed with the movie poster Midas touch. She could cull from a box filled to the brim with Blue Lagoons and still end up with a Superman banner in hand.

Each time the moment of bijou truth arrived, she tore the packaging open to reveal Star Wars!, Rocky!, The Pink Panther! And I, ever hopeful that "this time it will be different, this time I will slightly rip the top of the wrapper like Charlie Bucket in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory to reveal the golden ticket in the guise of Animal House!", peeled back the corn yellow ceraceous husk to reveal the never-wavering verdict: Christopher Atkins, Brooke Shields, The Blue Lagoon.

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