Don’t ask me about the title. Moon stories these will be and you’ll know what kind they are by the label.
Every one of us has stories in our heads from long ago (whatever that means to each of us) that make us who we are. Each story is a little part of us and how we came to be who we are. This is one of those immortal stories that we keep like dreams in jar.
What we see here are classic Matchbox imagination vehicles. Heavy duty work equipment. They’re not built for speed, they’re built for doing _stuff_ and despite my precociousness at the time, I had only a vague idea of what ‘doing stuff’ really meant. Look at these paragons of American nostalgia. Forget Ford Tough, nothing beats a Matchbox! These things go on forever. In case you are wondering these are the actual toys I played with when I was about 4. I might have been as young as 3 but my memory doesn’t give me that information. I remember these two vehicles with grand splendor. Yes, those are the right words. I learned a lot with these two particular little toys.
I remember the house I lived in, that I was much shorter than a 50 gal barrel, and that I still ate in a high chair and could not talk much. It was all I could do to beg my parents to buy me a coocoo for coacoa puffs cookoo clock. It was quite a bit of money back then and I saved cereal box tops to help ‘pay’ for it.
I can’t remember what major construction project I was working on with these two vehicles under the wrap around deck on a 1950’s duplex, but I know it was more important than lunch a couple of days. Had I known then what I know about project management I’d have certainly told the boss (mum) that the truck is unsuitable because it doesn’t have a dump bed and the tow truck simply has the wrong kind of equipment to get my truck out of the mess if it gets stuck and I need a front end loader to load the dump truck properly.
Even then I was independent and I had imagination (and not many Matchbox cars). So it was that my finger tips filled in where the front end loader should have been and I tipped the whole truck and pretended it was a dump bed so I could build the hills that I had seen along the highway. When the dump truck got stuck I used both hands to pretend the tow truck was pulling it out of the muck. Sure, that’s improvisation and it worked a treat at 3 years old. I only wish I could remember what awesome project we were working on at the time. Maybe besting the Hoover Damn? I don’t know.
There are things that I do know. I had no idea at the time that later in life being able to substitute one thing I have for a thing I needed but don’t have would become a skill that would make life bearable for me. I did not know then that play along to get along would be important. I did not understand that fake it till you make it would be a thing. I was just a kid in the dirt making do with what I had and being totally in control of my world. I did not know how important it would be in later life to be able to feel the illusion of control in my world.
I did not know that the mere illusion of control would make it possible for me to endure unnumbered embarrassments, unmeasurable peer pressure, and unbelievable pressure to conform to society. At three years old I was learning how to deal with the fucked up world we live in. I knew, even then, it’s about control or even just the illusion of control. When you’re in control things happen the way that you want them to happen, the outcomes are securely affixed to your desires. Control is the heart and soul of imagination.
Yes, I have memories from that early in my life and some earlier. I have a lot of these Moon Stories and what they taught me, how they made me the me that I am.
I have seen lots of people just pretending. I can see their dump trucks don’t actually dump and their tow trucks don’t really do the job yet they pretend that life is good and their thinking is sound as if their backyard dirt project is real with government funding. I’ve known since I was still in diapers that people pretend. It gets them through the day, to the next hurdle, sometimes beyond. They pretend that it’s all going to be okay, that wishing for a better tomorrow will make it happen, that praying to a god will change his divine plan in their favor.
What I did with these toys in later life was remember to know when my dump truck really isn’t a dump truck. In that way I’m pretty lucky.
How is your dump truck doing?