November 25, 2014

Bop Goes the Beetle

Toys can come back to haunt you. When I was a child I was given an action game that included a large green plastic frog like creature, two orange bats and an orange and a blue pod that loosely resembled beetles. The game was called Bop the Beetle, and came out around 1962. The object of the game was to open the jaws of the frog and balance the hinged panels on the inside to keep the jaws propped open. Then you would use the orange bat to hit the beetles so that they would fly into the open frog mouth. Upon hitting the panel inside the frog mouth, the mouth would snap decisively shut.

Bop the Beetle terrified me on some level. Perhaps this is because I would sometimes accidentally step on it and it would snap shut on my leg. Or if the panels inside the mouth were touched too heavily it would snap shut on my arm. Bop the Beetle doesn’t look too intimidating today but I do recall that it was large enough to swallow up half a leg or a whole arm of a toddler. Such was the state of ideal toys for kids in the 1960's. Nevertheless, bopping or throwing the plastic beetles into the frog’s mouth was fun.

It is now time to say goodbye to Bop the Beetle, if that is even possible. He has been dutifully cleaned, photographed and posted on e-bay. But since I have not yet accomplished the fine art of bringing attention to my listings no one appears to be looking at Bop the Beetle. Just in case the frog and other childhood toys do leave the household - and I sincerely hope that they do - I have been propping them up and using them in paintings and drawings. Good to get one last bit of use out of them. The painting above is a fanciful interpretation of Bop the Beetle as an icon. The photo to the right is the actual plastic frog with his orange and blue beetles. I never did find out what happened to the orange plastic bats that were used to pop the beetles into the frog’s mouth. The painting of toys before relinquishing them has occasionally paid off, with my selling a painting for more than the object itself would have earned.

In a tangential way, unloading these toys and various other items does indeed dovetail with my present goal of reducing environmental allergens. At this point I am looking at objects as things that increase the dust collecting, mold growing surface areas of the immediate environment. Many of these objects have been cleaned and packaged so as not to have them out and about, obliging me to keep them dusted.

One thing I have found is that getting rid of objects is much harder than one would expect. There is the initial requirement to put sentiment aside, which isn’t difficult when there are too many objects to maintain. The next step is to relinquish the idea that these things are valuable. Most vintage items have value if they have been unused or barely used. Even for those things that do have value, finding a buyer willing to invest in them can be problematic. For antiques, finding someone to evaluate them professionally can cost up to $100.00 an hour. Too bad if the evaluation turns up a $10.00 item! So the next barrier to letting such things go is to resign oneself to the fact that they will be sold (ala flea market style) most likely for less than was originally paid for such things. Truly, the taste for acquiring stuff subsides when all of the above is taken in to account!

So bopped out of the house go the frog and the beetles.

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