Tales From The Sea: Crocodile Pocket-Knife

Second star to the right and straight on til morning. //Peter Pan

**Tales From The Sea will be a reoccurring series of stories, memories, and happenings from my life. These are things I wish to have written down as a preservation of memory, but also to hopefully inspire others, maybe make you chuckle, improve my writing skills, and let you know a little more about what makes me, me!**

Being children of the 90’s, my brother and I loved and adored all things Disney. We had ALL of the VHS tapes, and watched many of them over and over again likely while dressed in the past year’s Halloween costumes or hugging stuffed animals of whichever character was currently on top. We both had our respective favorites, but one movie that we both really enjoyed equally was Peter Pan. In 1997, at the peak of our Neverland obsession and much to the dismay of our Mom, McDonalds came out with a line of Peter Pan inspired Happy Meal toys. A trip to McDonalds was definitely a treat for us as kids, and I’d say we probably got to go maybe once a month, if that, to get Happy Meals or play in the Playscape with either our parents or our babysitter. When the commercials came out for the Peter Pan toys, we were in awe. MUST HAVE THEM ALL quickly became our mentality and I am sure the begging and pleading to Mom and Dad began shortly afterwards. There was one toy, in particular, that we both were absolutely jonesing for and were dying to have. It was the ‘Crocodile Pocket-knife’.  It just looked so incredibly cool from the commercials and we both latched onto the thoughts of having it and would not let go. Just by the name of it, you can totally tell that something like this would in no way fly in today’s 2015 society. A toy pocket-knife? For kids to play with?! H-E-double L to the no, I can hear the lawsuits already. But thankfully, we were kids of the 90’s and this was just one of the BAJILLION reasons why it was the absolute best era to grow up in.

So, days went by and after some serious pleading and promising to do our chores and whatnot, we were on our way to McDonalds. Michael ALWAYS got the cheeseburger Happy Meal, and I ALWAYS got the Nuggets Happy Meal. Never straying, we were both ride-til-we-die to our respective fake meats. Mom went through the drive through and from the backseat we were eagerly awaiting our boxes and the Peter Pan toy that lied within. We tore them open, bypassing the food and going right for the greasy plastic packages at the bottom. We both take them out simultaneously and much to our disappointment, we each pull out the “Smee Flashlight” toy which was hands down the worst and least-cool toy of the lot. Smee was the short and stumpy and not-so smart first mate of Captain Hook and the toy we got was just a small replica of his round body in flashlight form. Booooooo. It’s okay though, this was only the first week, and must have been the first toy in the rotation to be given out to patrons. Our need and want for the Crocodile Pocket-knife only increased from that moment out, and there was just no question that we absolutely had to have it. Mom was in for a rough month.

With lots more begging and pleading, the next few trips to Mickey D’s went as follows:

Trip #2
Mike: Smee Flashlight
Ash: Smee Flashlight

Ugh! What the heck! Another Smee Flashlight!? How dare they!!

Trip #3
Mike: Captain Hook Telescope
Ash: Smee Flashlight

Okay, at least one of us got a different toy this time, so maybe they have changed the rotation. But I still got the flashlight again. Maybe it’s because I got chicken nuggets and he got the cheeseburger. Maybe I should suck it up get the burger next time. Maybe.

Mike: Wendy Magnifier
Ash (orders same Cheeseburger meal as Mike): Smee Flashlight

Okay, this is really not fair. The tears were welling up in my eyes. Again, Michael got one of the different toys and I was stuck with my THIRD Smee flashlight in a row. At least we both had still not gotten the Crocodile Pocket-Knife, but if you can in any way relate to childhood relationships with your siblings, my misfortune was NOT overlooked by my younger Brother. He was basking in the fact that he had 3 of the 7 toys in the set and making sure to rub it in and show off/brag in any way he could. My Mom was starting to get sick of hearing it, and we had also been to McDonalds about four times in two weeks so she decided that we could go ONE last time if we were on our 100% BEST behavior all week. Mike and I knew this was the end-all-be-all, so we put on our angel faces and a couple days later we were headed back for the 5th and final attempt at the Crocodile Pocket-Knife.

Ash: ……………..Smee Flashlight

No lie folks. I couldn’t decide if I was happy that we at least got one, or absolutely devastated that my little brother got the big coveted prize and all I had to show for it was a hoarder’s sized collection of Smee flashlights. I was the latter. Totally and utterly devastated. I cried and begged and complained to my Mom. Couldn’t she just go in and ask to exchange mine? They had to have more! It wasn’t fair! Nope. She had given us fair warning that this was the last time. And besides, Michael had “gotten the Crocodile Pocket-Knife and we were to ‘share it’”. Sharing was not one of Michaels strongest suits, and plus, it just wasn’t the same as having my own.

For whatever reason, this was something that just stuck with me. One of those things that just stays in the back of your mind, popping out from time to time when certain things remind you of it. I could never look at Peter Pan the same. Michael and I would talk and joke about it from time to time, even as we got much older. That friggan Smee Flashlight….. If I ever saw one again it would be too soon. I’m sure many other ‘unfair’ instances happened to me while growing up, brother and sister quarrels and fights over toys, but they all came and passed.  But for whatever reason, thoughts of that darn Crocodile Pocket-Knife just wouldn’t leave me.

Fast forward 18 years.

I meet a boy named Nick on vacation in 2013. We start dating and are in the season of “getting to know each other” on a deeper level. It takes time and effort to figure out who the other person really is. We spent the first 25 years of our lives NOT knowing each other. A lot had happened during that time that made us into the people we are today who really care for and love each other. We were both very eager to learn more about each other and our pasts, so we would often stay up late telling each other stories from our childhoods and teen years in hopes of getting to know each other better. And also because we both truly cared about where the other person came from and what they had experienced and gone through up to that point of us meeting in 2013. Somewhere along in conversation within those first few months of dating, the Crocodile Pocket-Knife story came up. I am not sure who said what that caused me to remember it, but I gave Nick the full story and play by play of that damn Smee Flashlight and the Crocodile Pocket-Knife I never got. The conversation kept going after that and it was right on to the next topic, never to be talked about again beyond that one instance. I’d say it was maybe August.

Fast forward again another 4 months to December 24th. Nick came over on Christmas Eve as we had planned to open our gifts for each other that night since we had busy days planned for Christmas with our families. There was lots of excitement and anticipation for the gifts we had gotten each other, and by some of the things Nick had already gotten me up to that point throughout the year, I knew it was going to be good. Just how good though? I had no idea. I opened a few of the things from him. A leather-bound journal since he knew I wanted to start blogging and organizing my ideas, a pair of new slippers I had really been wanting, a fake license plate that read TINSEL because I had seen it on a car one day and though it was the cutest thing ever, and a large nautical duffel bag with a luggage tag that had the coordinates to my favorite beach on it; just to name a few. I then came to an odd shaped present that seemed to flop around a bit and not hold its shape. I had absolutely NO idea what it was. And then I opened it. Six small plastic bags, unopened, each containing one of the 7 toys from the 1997 McDonalds Peter Pan Happy Meal Collection. There was another smaller wrapped gift attached to them. I opened that as well. It was the 7th toy in the collection, the Crocodile Pocket-Knife. Cue the ugly-cry. I really could not believe it. “How!? Wait, WHAT?! Where did you get these!?” finally came out of my mouth as I wiped away the tears.  Apparently, you CAN find just about anything online these days. I just could not get over it. I had only told him the story that one time, months earlier! But somehow he knew and took from the conversation just how much I had wanted that Crocodile Pocket-Knife, and how disappointed I was to not have had it.

I had finally gotten it, my very own Crocodile Pocket-knife, almost 20 years later. I know how lucky I am to have a guy like Nick in my life and I hope he knows how much that gift means to me. He makes my dreams come true, and is the most thoughtful and caring person I know. For him to pick up on something small like that in our conversation and to think and plan and search and save it for me for Christmas speaks volumes to the kind of guy he is. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

A few things that I learned from this whole Crocodile Pocket-Knife saga is that a lot of the times, life is not fair. Other people will get the Captain Hook Telescope and the Wendy Magnifier and the Crocodile Pocket-Knife, and you will be stuck sitting there with the Smee flashlight for what seems like no apparent reason. But, in the same jest, I have since learned that bad luck now may very well lead to good luck in the future. So whatever you may be going through, big or small, hang tight! There really are reasons for everything.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go cut my French fries in half with a plastic reptile.

**DISCLAIMER FOR THE TROLLS: Yes, I know. This is a first-world problem and first-world story. Boo-hoo, I didn’t get the toy I wanted. Other children go without food or water. I don’t feel bad for myself, and I had a wonderful upbringing and childhood. I was and am very blessed, and I do my best not to take anything for granted. This story is more about the overall life-lessons I learned, silly memories, and fate in meeting a sweet boy than the toy itself. **

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