En guarde! I, the proud recipient of the plastic sword from my mom's banana daiquiri, do challenge you to a duel to the death! swish, swash, swish! Or at least, until one of our swords has the tip broken off. The winner will earn the eternal respect of yonder fair maiden, coyly batting her eyelashes in the refreshing shade of her little paper umbrella.

When Kenner's Star Wars action figures (or "dolls" as my brother would taunt) first came out three of them — Luke, Obi Wan, and Darth Vader — had light sabres hidden in their right arms. You could extend the sabres by moving a little stick-outy-thing on the bottom, but they were pretty sad. The sabres were short (since they had to be able to retract into the arm) and I seem to recall that the latter third of the things was this hair-thin piece of plastic. As far as I could tell its sole purpose was to break off (or bend and just look plain silly) within the first three minutes of usage. Oh sure, I hear what you're saying:
"But what about colored toothpicks? Surely you tried those?"
If I had a nickel for every time... Oh sure, we had tried utilising hand-colored toothpicks, but they seemed a bit... well, weak.
(Plus, truth be told, the ends were pointy. I mean hey, if we wanted to take out each others eyes we woulda been playing with Lawn Darts or those Battlestar Galactica toys that still fired actual red dart-thingies.)

My friend Chris and I found that the little plastic swords looked a hell of a lot cooler. Almost pirate-esque. The little hilt was almost the perfect size for the figures to hold. At last, now Lando could give those damn ugnaughts what for!

Little plastic swords joined the other utensils that our shared little band of Star Wars guys comandeered. Vehicles from Chris's collection of G.I. Joe stuff, my Fisher Price jeep and raft. Sometimes the figures would feel a bit daring:

  • go getting taped in a seated position to the hood of a radio controlled car,
  • to give one of our two Stormtroopers that "lived in" looked we gave him a ten second ride in my Dad's coffee grinder (a little white electric one the size of a Scooby Doo lunch box Thermos — not one of those meat grinder looking ones),
  • never to be outdone, Han Solo made a bid for immortality (or perhaps mortality) by riding a model rocket engine (sans rocket) a'la Slim Pickens; his leg was real bendy after that.

Our merry band of figures were the biggest bunch of moochers you've ever seen. But it was all for fun.

Okay, I embellished a hypothetical — I think we'll all agree that Battlestar Galactica toys followed a couple of years later...

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