I Am Buck Rogers

A small anecdote, to celebrate the release of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century – The Complete Epic Series on DVD and this household’s purchase thereof:

Halloween 1984

We, being my mother, brother, and I, lived with my aunt and uncle in St. Charles, Missouri; I don’t know if my mother was working her job at the onion ring factory where she separated onion rings amid the immigrants or whether she had started in government service in the clerical pool at $12,000 a year, but she didn’t have a pile of money to spend on Halloween costumes, nor did she have the time to whip up some of the cardboard costumes for which she had become legend in the housing projects of Milwaukee. So when she got a couple of extra bucks, it was immediately before Halloween, and we hit the Walgreens off of Fifth Street on what must have been October 30.

The costume section had been picked over to the extent that only two costumes for young boys remained, so we got them. The next night, my brother and I tossed coins, drew lots, or perhaps did the traditional simple fight for who would wear which costume. Now, I don’t know if you damn kids even know what passed for costumes in 1984, particularly costumes you could buy at Walgreens. They consisted of a thin plastic mask which covered only your face, secured to the back of your head with a rubber band, and a trashbag-like smock depicting a motif to augment what you were. Not an authentic costume by any means. My brother, the little punk, got Spiderman, so he got red and blue trashbag and a Spiderman-mask red-colored plastic face piece with two dots for the eyes, a slit for the mouth, and two nostril holes located nowhere near his nose.

“Oooh,” said the people who answered the door when trick-or-treating, “It’s Spiderman. And….”

For there I was wearing a trash bag with a guy with a laser pistol and a mask depicting the front 20% of a white helmet with orange bolts and a generic pink male face over my generic pink male face. “I’m Buck Rogers,” I said.

Because, friends, bloggers, and countrymen, it was 1984 and the television show ran in 1979.

It would be the equivalent of dressing like Capt. Malcolm ‘Mal’ Reynolds from television’s Fireflyin 2007. Sure, one sci-fi junkie at one house recognized the outfit–out of an entire subdivision–but that’s before these things were available on DVD and even before the Sci-Fi channel.

I think I was traumatized from the experience, and I can only talk about it now. And now that I have the DVD, I’ve had to relive the experience.

But my kind and beautiful wife, who has agreed to watch the series on DVD with me, is offering her support, and together we will overcome my childhood pain which still haunts my intrapersonal relationships.

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