I had several phases of toy obsessions in childhood. As a child of the ’80s a love of Transformers, even a temporary one, was practically mandated by law. My favorite Transformer was by far Soundwave. While his transformation was sort of lame (cassette tape player), he was far from lame. He was intelligent, didn’t fuck up all the time like the rest of the Decepticons, and he had a cool ass voice. And while the tape aspect was not as cool as a jet or a gun, he could basically carry around an army of smaller robots to do his bidding. I clearly remember running around the playground hitting my shoulder and yelling, “Eject!” in the best Soundwave voice I could muster.
I wanted the toy version of him so badly.
This is the story of a love lost and then found. Get out your Kleenex folks, this one is going to tug at your feels. Well, probably not, but keep that Kleenex handy just in case. (This post sponsored by Kleenex: Better than Socks When Masturbating!)
The funny thing about this obsession with the Transformer known as Soundwave was, I’m not sure if I told my parents any of this. In fact, I’m pretty sure I never mentioned it. I guess that’s the danger when you make your kid think that Santa is real and that he knows everything, your child might just skip the middle man (you) and try to go right to the source.
At this time I had a friend named Jeremy that was a bit of a trouble maker. He wasn’t so bad that my parents didn’t want me hanging out with him, but dude came from a broken home and wasn’t the best behaved. Since he lived a fairly close we were kind of tight for a little while, he became a defacto best bud for a brief period. In regards to my Soundwave problem, Jeremy told me that one time he wanted a toy for Christmas, so he wished really hard and got it! After I heard that, that Christmas I wished so hard that I must have blown out the portion of my brain that does math.
All my hard work at wishing was wasted though, I still didn’t get a Soundwave.
After a certain point, it became unfeasible to ever get a Soundwave toy. In all it’s brilliance, Hasbro would stop making a figure, even though the characters were still featured prominently on the cartoon series. There was no eBay at the time and the only other source of second hand toys were yard sales, but they never had them either. Now days when collectors bitch about too many Darth Vaders or Storm Shadows or what have you on the shelves, I realize how lucky kids have it in that they won’t be missing out on a core character.
Anyway, my luck really changed when Jeremy made the offer of a lifetime. Jeremy’s parents would try to buy his love and he had a lot of amazing toys. Somehow he ended up with two Soundwaves. The first one was in great condition, the other one was pretty beat ass up. This second Soundwave had no weapons, cassettes, and his cassette deck cover was broken. I’m not sure why, but he offered me the beat up one for free. At that time any Soundwave was better than none, even one in such bad shape, so I gladly accepted his offer.
He brought it to school and gave it to me. The rest of that day I was happier than a pig in slop. I finally had a Soundwave! That night I was kicking myself though, because I forgot Soundwave in my desk at school! “No problem,” I thought, “I’ll just pick him up tomorrow when I’m back in school.” I spent that night dreaming about my Soundwave.
Tomorrow didn’t come.
Well technically the next day came, but I was sick. Not pretend sick to skip school, but real sick where you miss school and don’t have any fun. The aching in my little heart was intense, but I knew I just had to wait it out and I’d be reunited with my busted up Soundwave.
You can probably see where I’m going with this. When I got to school the next day, Soundwave was not in my desk. He was stolen. I was so naive at the time that I didn’t automatically assume that Jeremy had probably had gotten cold feet and took it back. Which, I had heard later from some other kid that ratted him out.
I was alone and adrift in a Soundwave-less world once again. Kids have a limited scope of what is the worst thing ever, but at that time the worst thing ever was having the one figure I really wanted for a single day and then having had it taken away.
Back then eBay hadn’t been invented, so there was no secondary market to get one. You would have had to find a used to you wanted at a rummage sale or at a swap meet and my town was so small that there were no swap meets, at least any my parents ever took me too. The only replacement I could get was during the last year of the G1 run they had these action figure like Transformers. I got the Soundwave, but it was pretty lame considering he couldn’t transform and was only about three inches tall.
Soundwave burned in my heart as one of those missed opportunities, but it hurt more because I had had him for such a brief time. It wasn’t until much later that I got a Toys R Us re-issue that the hole was kind of filled.
It wasn’t really filled until I got this sucker:
Resident guest writer Chris Piers sold me his Transformers collection and in it I got a MIB Soundwave. The box isn’t mint, but Crom I never imagined I’d be able to get a G1 Soundwave with a box before! It only took me over 20 years, but I finally got my Soundwave.
Oh yeah and before you feel too sorry for me, I finger-banged Jeremy’s sister. Boo yah!