Here’s the setup.

Theres this guy, Cameron, he’s a huge Star Wars fan, and he’s got this massive collection of Star Wars stuff and vintage figurines that he loves and collects and keeps safe and sound.

He’s even got some of the really rare and valuable stuff, you know what I mean? He keeps his stuff in his guest bedroom, a room full of awesome.

Does Cameron sound familiar to you? Does this sound a little close to home?

I know I can turn my head right now, and while I don’t have any super valuable collectibles new in box, hey, look there, an entire array of lead miniatures from fantasy games, Warhammer 40K, Mechwarrior, stuff I’ve assembled and spent hours painting. There in pride of place is my Druid, my original ancient human druid from AD&D, carefully painted, a figure that I’ve had since, good lord, since my first year in the Marines, and that means the little lead bastard has been following me around all over the world since 1987.

How about you? Do you have stories that YOU could tell of the things you’ve collected, fragile, precious little things, collectible and worth thousands or valuable only to you for the memories they hold? Things you’ve gathered over the years that are part of your love of fantasy, science fiction, anime, films or novels?

I just bet you do.

So, this guy I’m talking about, Cameron, he’s out in Las Vegas for a bachelor party that went down last night. He got drunk, he had a roaring good time.

While he’s out of town, his sister, Therese, was watching his house for him. Water the cats, pet the plants, make sure the refrigerator didn’t catch on fire, you know.

Therese has a darling little son, Dillon, age 6.

The story goes, Therese plopped Dillon down in front of the TV, and then went outside to water the plants.

When she comes back in, why, little Dillon has mysteriously vanished! Poof!

Therese gets in a panic and goes hunting for her son. Whatever could he be doing? Wherever could he have gone?

She has barely begun her journey of discovery when what should she find, but that the door to the guest bedroom, which had been closed, is now, miraculously, open.

Little Dillon is in the guest bedroom, oh yes he is. And he is standing amidst the debris of ripped open toy packaging. He opened the door, went inside, grabbed some toys and opened those suckers right up.

Hey, he wanted to play with Boba Fett and Luke Skywalker, and who can blame him?

How valuable might these toys once have been? Well, Therese makes a point during her side of the story by saying one of them was an “AFA80″ Luke Skywalker… and I thought it would be nice to give you some extra facts of the case, so I found one of them on ebay.

Oh, yes. That would be a thousand bucks. Gack.

So tell me, if you were Cameron, and you were hungover in the early morning hours after a massive bachelor party in Las Vegas, and your sister called you to tell you this, how would YOU handle it?

Really, what would you do? What would you say to her, your sister whom you presumably asked to watch your house for a few days, her and her darling son Dillon, aged 6.

Answer that for yourself now, but before you write a comment, you might want to ask yourself, how do I know the details about what happened to poor Cameron?

I’d be delighted to tell you. :)

I happened to hear this story on the radio this morning, on my way in to work.

The Dave Ryan in the Morning Show on KDWB does this incredibly stupid bit called “How will they take it”.

People call in who’ve screwed something up, and instead of telling the person they screwed over face to face, or via postcard from France while enroute to enlist in the French Foreign Legion, they instead choose the healthy and mature option of calling in to a radio station, and have a comedy-focused morning show setup the big reveal.

I imagine that the idea is, if pain shared is pain halved, then maybe death threats made over the radio in front of 15,000 listeners are death threats that won’t ever get carried out.

Anyway, so this story is real. Therese is real. Her son is real. Her brother Cameron, God bless him, is real, and he IS in Las Vegas, and his action figures? What happened to them, that be real too bro.

Yes, right down to the AFA80 Luke Skywalker.

Therese called in to a radio show, and asked a radio show DJ personality to help her break the news to  her hungover brother at 6:00 in the morning in Las Vegas. On the air. 

You don’t have to take my word for it. You can still listen to it yourself. It’s all right here at this webpage, where they provide the entire thing for your listening pleasure.

It’s about 12 minutes long. Not too bad, right?

So make the call. What would YOU do? How would you handle it?

And after you’ve decided, why not listen and find out how the real Cameron handled his own personal Camarón?

This story brings to my mind the immortal words of Colonel Walter E. Kurtz, who said, “The horror… the horror….”

A little coda.

I found it fascinating how quickly the morning show crew changed sides.

They’re in the business of pleasing people who listen to contemporary music in our area. Most of these people mock us geeks, video game players, and basically anyone that doesn’t think the height of sophistication comes from going on a cruise with strippers and a parlor psychic, getting drunk, and passing out in a pool of your own vomit. Which, might I add, they are doing at this very moment on their second “Booty Cruise” of the season, and more power to them. I’m singing “I’m on a boat” while they really are. More power to them.

I expect some mocking out of them. Dude collects action figures, still in the box. I respect that, you respect that, but morning show people are supposed to mock the geeks. At least, they do in the world where people live as if they were plastic people stereotypes.

Well, that’s how they start out on the show. “Oh, your son opened them up, that’s sad, but geez, they’re only toys, he’s a little boy, it’s just a mistake, and it’s not like it was important, it was just some toys”.

And then Lena, bless her, comes up off the back deck with the elbow to bring the “Oh, HELL no” perspective to the party. She turned on Therese while Dave Ryan was still playing kissass, bringing OUR point of view. 

I could tell that she related.

On a normal day, I know she’d have been ripping on a grown man collecting Star Wars stuff with the rest of them, but this story, you could tell, she flashed back to something SHE collected, and she got it in her gut what it would have felt like if, say, her Hello Kitty collection took it in the wood chipper. For a few minutes, she dropped the mocking, and empathized.

Doesn’t matter what it was the man collected, it mattered to him, he was the one that cared about what he collected, and you don’t dismiss how he might feel just because you or I or some DJ might think collecting Star Wars stuff ain’t ‘cool’.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go move my miniatures to a higher shelf. Not that I’m worried or anything, you understand. Just, er, I suddenly thought they might like to be closer to the light bulb. Get some more of that glow.

18 Responses to “Can you Handle the Horror?”
  1. Angry Gamer says:

    Bravo for working in a bit of military history… :)

    “And after you’ve decided, why not listen and find out how the real Cameron handled his own personal Camarón?”
    Camarón indeed…

    I know plenty of “older” females that would commit large scale personal assaults on anyone messing with their “doll rooms”. But for some reason having a sci-fi collection is not the same. Ah well.

  2. wowplayah says:

    Not agree with angry gamer ^^
    It won’t be like here http://goo.gl/TKACW

  3. OooF! I think I just threw up in my mouth a little. I really dont know what I would do if I had thousands of dollars worth of artifacts destroyed by a 6 year old if I were not hung over, let alone after a weekend in Vegas.

    OK, so maybe “artifact” a little verbal liberty when talking about action figures, but I have a few of those in original packages because, well, I had stopped playing with them regularly right about the time the special orders arrived and the packages never really got opened. So now they are artifacts from my childhood sitting a on a shelf.

    AFA80 Luke Skywalker – R.I. P. Brotha!

  4. Riegnman says:

    the problem is that the kid had never been taught boundaries. my kids would never go into someone elses house and just look around. even relatives. The only possible exception would be their maternal grandparents. My kids are there almost as much as they are at home and know what they can and cannot mess with.

  5. Dazlan says:

    Cameron handled it much better than I would have. Talk about some nerd rage.

  6. Clapus says:

    Hey wait a minute. I am on a boat, but I am loading 45,000 bbls of #6 oil. Well my crew is, I’m in the pilothouse playing WoW and occasionally looking out the window.
    Anyway my mother, years ago donated some “old funnybooks” as she called them to a childrens hospital group. Included in them was Amazing Fantasy #15 and Tales of Suspense #39. I was upset back then, but when I think about them now….oh well.

  7. Azwing says:

    I got the sense that Therese was really looking to get off the hook and not take responsibility for the problem.

    I can understand where Cameron was coming from. I guess my only beef was a couple comments he made about “brat” and her parenting skills. They seemed a little much, but I can understand his anger. They just seemed like the kind of thing you might say in the heat of the moment that you really end up regretting later.

    To me, it really doesn’t matter what was damaged/destroyed. Or, that she’s a relative. Or, that it was a 6 year old that did it. Therese is responsible for her 6 year old. He damaged something that was valuable. She is therefore responsible. Take responsibility and do the right thing. It doesn’t matter if it’s a “toy”, it’s valuable. What it really is, is an investment. If the kid had tossed a pile of T-bills worth $1k into the fireplace, would she not be responsible for that?

    What she really should have done is call her brother, say I’m sorry this happened, I will pay for the damages.

  8. cayro says:

    Trust me, that higher shelf – it will not work. I raised 2 kids- it will not work. Nor will it not only not protect from children, it will not protect from ferrets. Case in point – this morning, Peachy had climbed, (she is SEAL’ed trained, don’t cha know) up 4 feet, to climb even higher up and knocked off my Japanese Imperial Army Saka cups. Chipped my best one. :( Does it matter? Did I beat her half to death or even kill her? Nope – won’t do that. I picked her up, gave her a hug, and put her back in her area. Then I packed up the saka cups and won’t display them.

  9. Talth says:

    Still smelled fake to me, or at least Cameron is just in complete denial of the whole thing still.

    My question is why you would air your dirty laundry over the radio. That may be why he is reserved and probably let her have it afterward. :O

  10. Jenna says:

    @cayro: A 6 year old and the responsible parent are FAR different entities than a ferret.

    If the sister were at least halfway considerate of what really just happened, she wouldn’t have done this over the radio. (What kind of civil human being calls up someone at 6am who just spent the night at a bachelor party, to tell them that their spawn just destroyed a thousand plus dollars of irreplaceable collectibles?) She would have waited at least until noon, talked to him privately and up front offered to repay him the value of the toys. If it were ME? I would have already been looking for replacements.

    The dj’s example of the expensive lamp doesn’t hold water. If you are at a sibling’s house and you break something expensive and valuable (the value part being beyond the monetary component), they shouldn’t need to even bring up you paying for it. You should be offering to do SOMETHING to make up for it if you can’t afford to pay for the object out of pocket. I would HOPE you wouldn’t stand there going “It was just an accident, you shouldn’t be so upset with me!”

    I think Cameron was too much in shock to really respond and frankly… the worst he did was call the kid a brat and tell her not to let the TV be the parent. Is there something wrong with calling a duck a duck? (Keeping in mind none of us know how the kid is normally, nor the family relations between them.) I would have been TERRIFIED as a kid to touch things that belonged to other people. You just don’t open other peoples’ stuff. Ever. It’s not yours.

    Yeah. I would have some total nerd rage. It wouldn’t even be about the money.

  11. Mannyac says:

    I know what kind of mood I would be in after an all-nighter bachelor party in Vegas and awakened at 6 am with the news that one of my sibling’s offspring had destroyed the value of one of my collectables…I though he was remarkably restrained, ’cause I know that half of my replies (if not more) would have been censored.

  12. Tammy says:

    I have to leave a comment (I normally just quietly read and never say anything). Now, while I don’t have any rare collectibles, we do have some things which gamers might consider irreplaceable. I’m also a mom and I’m sorry, that woman should take full responsibility for her son’s actions. What she did is definitely the chicken way out and she should be glad it’s not me cause we wouldn’t be talking again.

    Some may say that family (& blood) is thicker than anything but there are limits and not having control of your child is a deal breaker for me. On the other hand, Cameron should have kept that room locked, it’s what I would have done.

    Sure, it’s a man collecting ‘toys’ but at some point those became collectibles and when one item is worth $1000 I don’t think it’s a toy anymore. It’s not like they can just go down to the store and buy another one.

  13. Tsudrats says:

    hahah reminded me of a friend who had a visitor with a young child. Said child started pulling her books off the shelf and taring pages out. Child’s mother gushed ‘oh isn’t it wonderful, he’s exploring his environment.’ My friend responded ‘Get your child out of my house before my hand explores his backside’.

    It doesn’t matter if the figures are dolls, si-fi, collectable or otherwise you respect other people’s things and make sure your kids understand this also.

    …. high shelves don’t stop much :)

  14. Rakhman says:

    I think I’d be annoyed, but maybe in time at myself. Just a door lock or even a high bolt would have stopped the little critter getting into the room. If i had something worth 1000 dollars, I sure would not leave it unsecured, even if just adults were around. I I even suspected a kid would be around, I’d be paranoid as he’ll and hide it right away.

    But I agree that the kid is 6, and should have some respect for other peoples property, and that is down to the parents to teach. My daughter is younger than 6 and knows not to touch my stuff. So maybe in that sense, Cameron’s anger at his sister is understandable.

    Family eh, can’t choose them, can’t kill em without the police getting involved ;)

  15. Thom says:

    OK, this could just be me, but am I the only one who thinks the woman may not have been totally honest when she said she was “watering the plants” the whole time her son was tearing into this guy’s stuff? Especially given Cameron’s responses (“This is so typical!” “You can’t let the TV be the parent!”) I dunno … I just kept feeling like maybe she was out on the porch smoking up when she was “watering the plants.”

    Just saying — just because this woman gave one version of what happened doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the truth.

  16. freddyboomboom says:

    When I was in the Uncle Sam’s Big Grey Canoe Club, I used to request, and receive, 24 hours special liberty to celebrate the anniversary of the Battle of Camerone. I always had to explain it to each person in my chain of command, but I always got the day off.

  17. Pawzy says:

    I wouldn’t have been so nice. I would’ve hung my sister by her ears, proverbially. Perhaps this is why I’ve had a “no children under 12 allowed” rule at my apartment from day one. *MY* mother taught me to be very respectful and ask before using something that wasn’t mine. My cousins and their children? Not so much. I have to admit that I’m one of those women with a “doll room.” I have a display with my Barbie dolls from 1987 to about 2005 in there. I only stopped adding to the collection because I was tired of packing and unpacking them so much, and the space issues. *blushes*

  18. Patrickduffy says:

    What he need to do is borrow a excitable puppy (rotie, lab or whatever breed hootch was prefered) and unleash it in his sisters house when she is on vacation. Then call her at the crack of dawn and tell her that the he had to bring the dog he was watching over and it ate her sofa, stained the carpet and chewed up little Dillon’s baby shoes BUT it was a accident and he is not responsible but she asked him to water the plants.

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