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I Have the Coolest Toys!

For those that know me, the title of this post might raise an eyebrow. Sorry to disappoint, but I’m not talking about those kinds of toys. ๐Ÿ™‚

When I was a kid riding the school bus to elementary school I remember being too old for toys like action figures and such. It wasn’t cool, you see, but I sure did like playing with G.I. Joe and Transformers. I would even take one of them to school each day, stashed away in my school bag. Some people had a security blanket. Others had a teddy bear. I had play soldiers. That probably says something about me even at an early age… if it helps I always preferred the good guys over the bad guys.

Expanding upon the story, I somehow ended up one day sitting with the cool kid in the back seat of the bus. You know who I’m talking about, he was the good looking kid that was bigger and more athletic than everybody else, not to mention more socially adept than the rest of us could ever hope to be. He was also the guy who could determine the social status of every other guy in his grade just by what he said about them. Frightening power, in hindsight.

So I’m sitting with this kid and I’m scared shitless. Yeah, this guy was that cool and who was I? Just a stupid kid that liked to play with toys. Travis never played with toys, he was sooooo much more grown up and, well, cool! Well, somewhere along the way that particular toy came out and yes, there was some teasing that took place. I don’t remember the specifics at all. What I remember was that pretty much every day after that one the rest of the year he wanted me to sit with him and we’d break out whatever the day’s toy was and, in a very grown-up and cool / macho way, we’d play with it.

That was the last year of that. I don’t remember the grade or how old I was, but I do know it didn’t persist beyond that. Maybe I grew up too, but the toys stayed at home. Before too much longer the toys ended up being boxed away too, but thankfully my desire to play with them never did. I evolved into playing role playing games with friends, but time and distance eventually ended that as well. Soon my toys were gone, all I had was the memories of the good times. I felt like Al Bundy reliving his glory days of high school football before he became a shoe salesman.

I was reminded of this the other day when my daughter, who’s a month away from being 6 years old, sat in front of my salt water aquarium with my younger son (age 3) and went on and on telling him stories about the fish. He tried to add his own embellishments, but it was an amazing sight. She still plays with toys, though the Barbies don’t get nearly as much playtime as they used to. Instead she spends a lot of time in books and drawing / coloring, telling stories and making things up. Is she destined to be a writer like her old man struggles to be? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t put it past her. In a few years I hope to write a book with her to see if it clicks (or if not, to at least help with the college fund).

The epiphany I had at that moment was that I still play with toys. Sure, I’ve got the manly grown up toys like a Harley and power tools, but I’m talking about the toys we keep stashed away for our private time. No, I already told you this wasn’t about those kinds of toys, I mean the ones that allow you to make up your own stories and your own scenarios. The characters are people you create, with talents and quirks that you pick out. The toys are in my head, and when you read my books they’re in your head too. Oh, and because some of you just won’t let it go, on rare occasions there might even be a book that has those kinds of toys in it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The moral of the story is that the toys may change, but we’re never too old to play with them!

In other news, keep an eye out for a pending new release from me called Bound. It’s got all sorts of great toys in it, from drug labs to hockey sticks to racy underwear and more! It’s technically a romance novel, but readers of my books will know that I’ve yet to meet a genre I can’t step outside of and take somewhere else!

To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

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