Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Night of the Finkbobber

It was a dark and stormy night. Well, actually, I have little recollection of what kind of a night it was outside. Summer or winter, warm or cold, moon or snow? It matters not.

Picture a large rambling old store on a historic suburban main street. One side of the store was stuffed to the rafters with paint, wallpaper, window treatments (although they were just called drapes and blinds back then) and a hilarious truncated fake bed that displayed matching bedspreads. On our side of the store were aisles and aisles of art supplies, shelves full of craft supplies (though this was the seventies, before the “craft craze” struck so we did not stock that much of an assortment), and a huge picture frame department with stacks of ready made frames, racks of matboard and rows of corner samples.

It was probably a Thursday or a Friday night; none of us wanted to work until 9:00 that night - but there we were, stuck all evening. The only good thing, as I now recall, was that the boss went home early, a rare and blessed occurrence.

There were at least three of us working that evening - one young man, D, in the paint and wallpaper department, and my “sweet cousin” J and I - maybe one other young girl or one of the saner older women, I do not really remember. The ebb and flow of customers in all areas of the store had dribbled to a halt and maybe our chores were done, or maybe not; but we were all completely bored so someone (probably my mischievous sweet cousin) got the brilliant idea to tour the craft section and see what we could find to amuse ourselves.

That is where we found the last remaining Finkbobber, sitting alone and unappreciated on the shelf. The Finkbobber was a sort of generic version of Mr. Potato Head, not a hot (potato) seller by any means. We did not think anyone would miss it.

Ears, nose, eyes, etc were inserted into the proper slots but we were wild and restless, we wanted to do more. We stabbed it with pens and pencils, stuck in staples, pins, tacks, and, finally, razor blades. Poor Finkbobber - he quickly became a lethal weapon, spiked with blades like some outlandish throwing star.

It was then that the menacing began - we chased each other though the store, side to side, through the storage rooms, down the stairs to the loading dock, threatening and gesturing with the bristling Finkbobber. By this time, we were all laughing so hard and gasping for breath it is a wonder none of us sliced (or soiled) ourselves.

Of course we had to destroy the remains of the Finkbobber before the boss could see it the next day. I imagine it got tossed into the incinerator. Unfortunately, we never took any pictures.

This must have been one of the least successful toys in toy history because I have searched and searched for a photo of a Finkbobber, and there is not even a mention of one on the entire worldwide Interweb. I guess if anyone else searches “Finkbobber” they will find this blog entry.

But the image is in my mind and I know at least J and I will never forget that crazy night. We can still laugh ourselves silly with the memory. Maybe I should hunt for D on Facebook to see if he still remembers The Night of the Finkbobber.