It filled me with mirthful pretention to discover this anomaly. All over the world, people were trolling out their toy collections to bask in their newfound financial significance, but I had a real collection. It went far beyond the limited scope of easily acquired toys (I had those too, but still wasn't particularly interested in them), and was therefore far more valuable than anyone could possibly imagine.
It'd been a good 15 years since my amazing collection had been carefully packaged and stored in the attic, and adult life had mutated the memories of what those boxes actually contained. Indeed, it didn't see the light of day until I moved away, and my parents insisted, gleefully, that it was finally someone else's turn to bear the responsibility of storage. With Episode 1 just around the corner, the timing was perfect to renew my appreciation for the hard-earned Star Wars memorabilia I'd misspent my youth acquiring. Not that I'd be willing to part with any of it, but I could sense the dollar signs through the storage boxes before they were even unwrapped. This was my pension.
I was a Star Wars obsessed kid the last time I'd seen this stuff, and it was unquestionably awesome. Imagine my surprise when, as an (admittedly juvenile) adult, I unpackaged my early life's work to see a surreal miscellany of empty food cartons and cheaply licensed supermarket shelf debris. What the hell was all this stuff? Through older eyes, the irreplaceable wealth of Star Wars memorabilia I once worshipped now looked like the bizarre plastic trinkets of an unhinged, homeless fool. My pension wasn't the treasure chest I remembered it as.
For years, I'd scoffed as people told me of their Star Wars collections, as if my own somehow elevated me to George Lucas' level. I convinced myself that even he couldn't rival the comprehensiveness of my licensed chattels. In an instant, an acute understanding of what my parents had gone through in helping me to acquire this weight of material became apparent. That uncomfortable, mildly embarrassed grimace they'd worn during my Star Wars quarrying expeditions crossed my own face, and it was all bundled back up and stowed at the furthest corner of my own attic.
The current revivalist scene, however, has once again prompted me to show that cornucopia of licensed consumables the light of day. And although I've come to terms with the fact that mine isn't going to be a particularly valuable heritage, reminiscing on the years spent building my collection has restored much of its personal worth.
It might sound a bit "day time soap opera," but my memories of extracting the greatness of Star Wars from the most unlikely places carry their own, unquenchable value. I've come to realize that the real importance of that collection is the personal heirlooms of which I'm now the proud owner. It's once again become a hoard of one-man's-gold and a link to my childhood that could never have been captured by photographs, journals or home videos.
This grand anthology of household waste is, for me alone, a series of archeological finds charting my quest to uncover the secret of Star Wars.
Spanner has written articles for several publications, including Retro Gamer. He is a self-proclaimed horror junkie, with a deep appreciation for all things Romero.