Toys

Toys

Before that day I had never known of the word: Revo. I had heard of other words and brands, like the normal ones that you hear when you’re a kid growing up in Williams Bay, but never before that day had I known what a Revo was. Spending all of my life wandering in the Revo wilderness, I had come to the place where my introduction would be made. It was Stone Manor, and the owner of that glitzy condo on that middle floor was wearing his Revo sunglasses inside, during the day, like a rebel. He had at least one giant diamond earring as well, but that wasn’t what I took away that day. That day, it was all about those black matte framed sunglasses and those mirrored lenses. Revo.

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I couldn’t buy that condominium, not then and not now, nor could I buy that giant diamond earring, nor would I, not then and certainly not now. But I could buy those sunglasses. And buy them I did, nearly immediately after my first encounter with them. The year must have been 1999. I wore those sunglasses for quite some time, and the first picture that my wife ever took of me (the first one that I was aware of, that is), I was wearing a blue shirt that I still wear today and those matt black Revos.

This trend continued after those glasses were bought, and it always presented in the same way. I’d see something that I liked, something that someone who had means would own, and I’d buy the bits of it that I could afford. A few years ago, I was checking on a client’s house and noticed a shiny new axe in his foyer. It was a handsome axe, big and hefty, tall and proud. I couldn’t buy that house, or the furniture inside of it, but within a few days I owned an axe just like that one. And I split wood with it in the winter time and I think about how happy I am to have such a pleasing axe.

I visited a friend’s house last summer and he had on display a most beautiful, brand new computer. It was a Mac with a screen larger than that of my first purchased television, which, as a way of mentioning, was a Sharp Aquos that I bought from another customer because I saw it and thought that I should also have it. That Mac was brilliant, and I struggled with the notion of becoming a pure Apple person. I had long resisted the iPhone, opting for the clunky comfort of my Blackberry. Then, I resisted the urge to buy the iPad, because that was simply a bigger iPhone that lacked the ability to make phone calls. Now, I was resisting the Mac, because what is a Mac if not a giant iPhone on a stand? Later that week, I, too, owned a great big Mac, and as I type on it now I feel good about the purchase.

When I was 19, I owned a jetski. It was a Kawasaki 550, and I liked it quite a lot. After some time of this machine, I bought another, a 650 this time, and I zipped and zoomed around the lake with my two stroke toy. After some time of this, the phenomenon dulled, and for a few years I didn’t even bother with that jetski. One summer, many summers after I had first ignored the machine, I took it to a mechanic to repair it. I needed to ride it again, to feel the waves and the water, and so I dropped it off and asked that it be made whole. A couple of weeks later I picked it up, paid the $1100 tab, and raced to the lake.

In short order it was obvious that the repairs were not correct, or at least they weren’t the right repairs. The ski didn’t work then any better than it had years before, and so in haste I gave it away to a friend, and told him I didn’t want to see it again. This was at least 10 years ago. A few years after I parted ways with the Kawasaki, my back gave out and I had decided that my jetskiing days, like my Revo days, were over.

Last week, a friend who is also a client asked me to come over to help him with the launching of two new waverunners. Waverunners bore me, but I was willing to help. When I pulled into his driveway I was met with a new trailer and two new toys. One was indeed a waverunner, big and fat and boring. But the other wasn’t waverunner at all, it was a brand new Yamaha Superjet. It was the jetski of my youth, and at that moment, before we launched it and before I fired up that smokey two stroke, and before I ever rode on it, the decision had been made. I needed to have one.

It took a while to get my head around such a superfluous purchase. It took longer to convince my wife that it was an acceptable purchase. That last part is still a work in progress and will likely always be a source of contention. Grown men look stupid on jetskis, she said. How will we buy groceries this month, she added. Where will you keep it? If only one person can ride it, how is this not a ridiculously selfish purchase? These are the unimportant questions that could only be asked by someone who has not tasted the unique brand of freedom that only a Japanese made jetski can offer.

Now, if only I could find my old sunglasses I’d really be on to something.

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