These kids today. They have no idea how good they’ve got it.
Nowadays there are action figures for just about every character known to man. If it’s been in a movie, a video game or a cartoon, it’s probably got its own action figure. Not only that, but those figures come with every accessory imaginable. Not long ago, I let my grandson pick out an action figure for his birthday. He chose a Spider-Man figure, and that sucker came with its own web shooter, flying car and helicopter.
Pssh. When I was his age, I had G.I. Joe and dirt, and I was thankful to have ’em.
Ol’ Joe was the first and only action figure I ever owned as a child. When I first took him out of the box, he came with nothing more than his uniform, boots and dog tags. Dude didn’t even have a helmet or a rifle.
He didn’t have his boots or uniform for very long, either. Not after I ran him through 57 World Wars in my back yard. His only weapon was a stick I found, but he managed to save the world from invaders with a twig that never ran out of ammo.
Joe was it. Sure, there was a Ken doll available back then. I only knew about him because of my sisters. But Ken wasn’t a war hero. He was too busy hanging around Barbie, probably because she was “nekked” most of the time. (My sisters didn’t have any more luck with her clothes than I did with G.I. Joe’s boots.)
A stroll through the toy section of any store today will prove my point. I find the usual superheroes, some of whom are familiar: the Hulk, Iron Man, Batman, Superman and others I recognize from childhood.
But I also see wrestlers, video game characters and movie stars like Woody and Buzz Lightyear. I see dinosaurs from the “Jurassic” movies and Stormtroopers from the “Star Wars” franchise.
Where were all these back when my G.I. Joe needed help defending the world?
What a great time to be a kid with an imagination.
You know what action figure I don’t see? That I’ve never seen?
Yup. Not “Superdad.” Just a plain ol’, everyday dad. Why doesn’t he have his own section?
Is it because we’re boring? I mean, what are you gonna have us do that qualifies as “action”? Have us standing upright next to all the light switches in the house?
Would anybody buy “Grill Dad”? He’d come with his own grill and spatula, and they could form his hand so it could hold his favorite beverage. Sold separately, of course.
How about “Thermostat Dad”? There he goes, saving his home from the attack of the Electric Bill. His arm and hand could swivel as they turn the dial from “Penguin” (my wife’s favorite setting) to “Ain’t Gonna Break the Bank.”
Ooooh ... how about “Lawnmower Dad”? Think of all the cool accessories for that one. A push mower would be cool, but throw in a big ol’ riding mower, and it’s like Batman and the Batmobile. Toss in a weed whacker and a leaf blower. Have some extra cargo shorts, grass-stained tennis shoes, a selection of favorite caps and a beverage holder on the mower so dad can sip while he mows. Beverages sold separately, of course.
And think of the entire line of figures from the “Work Dad” theme. My father drove trains for a long time. He should have had his own action figure, and it would have been a must-have item. His figure would come with his familiar coveralls, the striped engineer’s cap, the metal lunch bucket and ... the icing on the cake ... his own train! Man, I could have toted G.I. Joe all around the world with my Dad doing the train driving.
My Dad would have needed another figure, sort of like G.I. Joe seemed to spawn alter egos. I’d have “Fishing Dad,” complete with a real aluminum (no cheap plastic here) jon boat and motor, a roll of genuine twine for a trotline and a whole box of oatmeal cookies. (A fishing staple on our trips.)
More “Work Dads” could generate tons of accessories. “Truck-Driving Dad” with his own 18-wheeler. “Fireman Dad” with a firetruck and a dog. “Cop Dad” with a police car and a siren that really wails.
Think of every dad job you know, and just imagine how cool those action figure packages could get. We could even add a little booklet of dad jokes. (“Why can’t you hear a pterodactyl going to the bathroom? Because the pee is silent.”)
One little problem with the “Dad” figure?
My old G.I. Joe had rock-hard abs and real biceps. Dude looked as if he were cut from stone instead of molded in plastic. Same goes with today’s action figures. How do they find time to work out like that when they’re stuck in a box all day?
Ummm ... I’m a dad, and I don’t look anything like an action figure.
Maybe the toy manufacturers realized that to create a true-to-life Dad action figure, they might have to use a little extra plastic (for love handles) to replicate a lot of us. They might need extra material for those cargo shorts and T-shirts, and maybe they think those extras aren’t cost-effective.
That’s gotta be it. It’s the only real reason there aren’t any Dad action figures out there.
Because I don’t care how many wars G.I. Joe wins, how many bad guys Superman and Batman round up or how many galaxies Luke Skywalker travels ...
Nobody deserves his own action figure as much as Dad does.
Happy Father’s Day, dads.
Keep on cranking those mowers and thermostats, and remember ...
Beverages sold separately.