Words from Dic(tionary)
by J. R. Practix
Action figure: (n.) a doll representing a person or fictional character known for vigorous action, such as a soldier or superhero. The figure is typically posable, with jointed limbs.
I think one of the most creative cartoons ever devised was Transformers.
These were robots that could morph into other objects, weapons, or even flying machines to fight their enemies. Not only was it represented well in animation, but they actually came up with action figure toys which were equally as entertaining for the young set–or even those a little older and graying, like me.
One Christmas, one of my sons asked for Optimus Prime. Optimus Prime was the ultimate Transformer–the good guy of all good guys. His enemy was Megatron.
Of course, that particular Christmas I could not locate Optimus Prime anywhere–but was able to easily find Megatron, who ironically, was quite marked down.
Megatron was cool, but was also the bad bot. I did not want to pass on the impression to my eight-year-old that I was purchasing the “Dark Lord of the Transformers,” perhaps inkling to him that evil had the power to triumph over good.
So I decided to order Optimus Prime and put a certificate under the tree, explaining that the present would arrive at a later date and hoping that would be sufficient to create some sort of enthusiasm.
Little did I know that a family friend, who thought he was being a magnificent unseen uncle, purchased Megatron on sale and gave it to my son. So what I feared came to be: my son had all of his little Transformers who were nice fellows, but no match for the massive and sinister Megatron.
I tried to get him enthusiastic about the upcoming arrival of Optimus Prime, but he was just TOO thrilled with his new bad boy of rock and roll.
I was worried.
I know it sounds silly–but as I listened to him playing through the door on Christmas Day, I sensed there was a battle going on in his soul–good versus evil.
Finally I decided to go in a talk to him about his present collection of action figures. I found him deeply engrossed in a skirmish. So I sat down for five minutes and explained to him that even though Megatron was big and strong, that he was not to be honored just because it SEEMED like he had more power than all the good transformers.
My son listened carefully, even though he occasionally was distracted and gazed over at his new, shiny toy. After my lecture, I asked him if he understood and “would he please explain it back to me.”
He patted me on the leg and said, “Daddy, don’t worry. You see, here’s what I’ve figured out. Megatron is strong, but when all the good transformers work together as a team, they can beat him–because then they’re stronger.”
At this point, he turned and ran away for his next in-house Armageddon. I sat for a moment and just shook my head. How did this little boy come up with such a profound statement? And why is it that we grown, intelligent, well-educated people can’t figure that one out for ourselves?
Yes, if all the good guys would just get together, evil wouldn’t have a chance … in hell.