Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Whatta Doll!

It probably came about as a result of viewing pictures of "real-life Popeye" Moustafa Ismail and his thirty-one inch biceps. "It" was my very clear memory of a favorite childhood toy, "Big Jim." Jim sported a highly ripped physique, and was Barbie's pal Ken on steroids. Of course, when I was ten years old, all of the less-than-subtle erotic overtones to this "action figure" never occurred to me. Big Jim's best trick? He could pop a muscle band with his flexing bicep.
It was really just a trick of a lever wedged beneath a wad of flesh-colored rubber. My brothers and I discovered this mechanism after one of our Jims' arms broke, necessitating exploratory surgery. We found that Jim couldn't move his arm without crushing whatever happened to be in the crook of his elbow. But that didn't matter to me. This lesson was not lost on me, nor was the way that he always put his socks on before his pants, "for that neat look." For a couple of years, birthdays and Christmas were all about getting the latest gear for my action figure. Of course, just like GI Joe and his Action team, there was no end to the accessories that could be acquired. Jim had other sports buddies, and eventually a rough and tumble cadre of enforcers called "The Pack." By this point, fighting evil had become less of a concern for me than getting along with the real-life guys in junior high. The revelation that I was still playing with dolls, at this point, would not have furthered that cause. Like Captain Action and The Adventure Team before him, Jim moved down the hall to my younger brother's room. Until they become the victims of more non-elective surgery.
I wonder what Moustafa Ismail's arm looks like inside.

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