Saw an episode ages ago of one of the Twilight Zone reboots which, I’m pretty sure, starred Mark Hamill as this weird kid who collected toys. All this kitschy stuff from the ‘50s and grew up collecting them — and thus stayed weird and for the most part apparently lonely for his life entire.
Of course he wasn’t necessarily — alone isn’t always lonely — and it’s unlikely 22 minutes of then-TV wd’ve been able to convey the nuance of such a thing.
So let us say at least that he was alone and when we see him after the second commercial break or so and we know we’re coming to the reversal or at least the dinger at the end of TZs.
Hamill’s character is driving around in an old convertible — he loves, well … everything from his childhood so the car is a 1950s somesuch or other, perhaps a T-bird or at least a Galaxie or something.
The back seat is stuffed with toys and — to our eyes – twaddle, and he is driving in … is it Las Vegas? That wd fit the kitsch angle. I know, well … I remember, anyway … that it was least something with a ‘drive’ of some kind, a strip that one cd tool up and down — and slow-like, if only bec of the heavy traffic.
And someone, a pedestrian — is Hamill’s aficionado pulling out of some hotel? — sees one of the toys and exclaims something like, ‘Omigosh! A genuine Thingamabob! Mint condition and in its original package!’
And now the writer in me is really making stuff up — the story itself, in the reboot — bec I want there to be some kind of … conference he is at, vintage toy collectors or something. And I want to solve the issue of why the heck wd Hamill’s character be driving into the desert, with his treasures … piled in the back seat? And how come he never took the thing out of its package and played with it? He wasn’t ‘collecting’ at the time of acquisition …
Some of this may’ve been dealt with in the episode but I don’t recall.
And it gets worse.
He sells the toys.
All but his last one, goes my tale, which may also have been the show but perhaps not. The last one had been his first and his favorite — a Christmas morning? A birthday back in the day?
But really — wd he have sold them, any of them … at all?!?!
Anyway, he does, and he grows fabulously wealthy. Gets the vintage T-bird if he didn’t have it before. I think he’s wearing a cowboy getup of some kind, all tassels and rhinestones or something.
This episode, this memory, this fictional memoir of that moment in my life past — tho nothing ever really is, said Faulkner. Which I have I guess now proven, or at least illustrated by telling of it.
This, well … story has become a synecdoche … or a metonymy; I’m still working on remembering the difference. This story is either part of a whole or associated with it, the ‘whole’ I refer to being this —
discovering that all I have sensed — tasted, touched,
smelled, seen, heard — and everything sensed in that
other way as well, and we’ll include any level of
transcendence we’re comfortable with in that,
now comes together ‘over and over in myriad …
little unsexy ways, every day’ as David
Foster Wallace said of sacrifice … a
thing definitely involved in, no
crucial to story. I now ‘do’
these things all the time
not least of which in
what I write. It
has come to a
Collecting toys and treasures — noticing and remembering and sometimes incautiously saying some stuff about those first two — then being seen as odd for doing so [perhaps something all do in one way or another?], well, there comes the time, or has come for me, where this is found to be fabulous wealth.
Which I always thought so but have oft been chagrined to confess.
It’s the story of a memory of a mostly forgotten entry of a generally sorry reboot of a now-classic show. Which in its day we might do well to remember ran for only five seasons. And Serling’s first script for something like it was rejected, unseen as awesome until two years had passed. Tho now it’s in all the ‘greatest shows’ lists.
The original Star Trek, lore has long noted, ran less than the crew’s ‘five-year mission’.
We shd also recall that in Hamill’s character’s case it’s not that he grows fabulously wealthy. He gains fabulous— as the reversal, and the dinger is he always was.
And of course writing this I see I’ve done it — rifled the collection in the truck bed of my mind — with that Twilight Zone wannabe itself. Something recalled from decades ago and now I’ve found a place for it, in something I wrote.
Thanks for reading.