Crazy Man Hairdo

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Saturday, May 13, 2006

Perplexed by Vlix

Vlix is a character from the Star Wars cartoon Droids. The show was short-lived, so the toys released from the series are limited in number and have become quite valuable on the aftermarket. None of them, however, have proven to be more valuable than Vlix.

I haven't watched any of the cartoons, so I don't know what his precise role was, but I do know it was minor at best. Because of the untimely demise of the series, the Vlix figure was only released in Brazil, again in limited numbers. It is considered to be among the rarest Star Wars action figures, if not the rarest. Who would have guessed that of all of the possibilities, an ugly blue fat alien would become the holy grail of star wars figure collecting?

Recently on eBay, a superglued Vlix in extremely poor condition went for $337.89. $337.89! It is not possible to write numbers in capital letters; but, interestingly enough, when I hold down the shift key and write this number, it may more accurately express my inital reaction to the final bid of this auction that capitals ever could: ##&>*(!


Check it out for yourself:

I collect Star Wars figures. Okay, let me be honest. I am, for now at least, a Star Wars collector. I fit the bill- slightly obsessive, anal-retentive, and compulsive. I cannot allow thinking about this hobby to extend beyond its own borders or I would be aghast at how much time, money, and energy I have wasted on it. So I don't. I talk only with collectors about the hobby; I participate in a discussion board for collectors on a daily basis. My hobby is justified repeatedly throught these forums.

I keep telling myself it's only for now; I will tire of it. And I hope so, because as much as I love Star Wars, and as fascinated as I am by the figures and the collecting subculture, I cannot make the degree to which I indulge in this hobby consistent with my values. I don't face this truth very often. But after seeing this auction, I must register this fact: in a world where millions of people do not know where their next meal is coming from, there are also people who are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for a broken toy. And maybe I'm not spending hundreds on broken toys, but I'm spending hundreds nonetheless. I am not excused.

And so, I disappear back into my subculture, back to my small collector's world. I am not ready to face my hypocrisy just yet. Collecting still fascinates me. And I imagine one day I will have to account for my poor stewardship. But for now, I can't spend any more time thinking about it. There's still more stuff to check out, more deals to make, more figures to display.

And, after all, maybe I could get the next broken Vlix for even less...


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