When a female child turns 13, something happens to her brain. I’m not sure if it’s chemical, physical or a combination of the two, but it’s as if a switch gets thrown, lighting up a blinking neon sign exclaiming “Now Open 24 Hours: OBSESSION.”
I was not immune to this phenomenon. Once I found the object of my desire, I embarked on a single-minded pursuit to seek and consume every photograph, recording, moving image and bit of trivia related to my obsession. My focus and determination was akin to swarms of ravenous locusts, and these four lads were my ancient Egypt:
The Monkees were the end-all-be-all of my 13 year old world. This was during the 60′s revival of the late 1980′s when re-runs of their campy television show could be seen on MTV and Nickelodeon. I memorized every episode and, since our VCR at the time couldn’t record off the TV, I held my portable cassette player up to the television speaker and recorded the audio. Everyone did that, right?
I had all their albums on tape:
And I was given their debut album on vinyl:
I bought countless Tiger Beat magazines for the photos and posters:
I bought every book I could find:
Thanks to some fan catalogs, I acquired two issues of The Monkees Monthly, which was a fan magazine published in their hey-day during the 60′s:
And, I also got copies of scripts from two separate episodes of their show:
I got to see them in concert (sans Mike Nesmith) at Six Flags and my mom drove me and my best friend, Carrie, four hours to a Chattanooga mall so we could stand in line and get Davy Jones’s autograph on our copies of his autobiography:
One summer when I couldn’t watch their show because I was staying with my dad in Michigan who didn’t have cable, Carrie, being the awesome friend that she is, wrote down all the best quotes from the show in colorful markers and mailed it to me:
During the height of my fanaticism, I traveled to England with my mom and step-dad and I brought my three-ring binder filled with photos and my books with me on the trip because the thought of leaving it all behind caused me actual physical pain.
There’s more, much, much more, but I’ll spare you further details. You’re welcome.
Eventually, my obsession with all things Monkee died down and I evolved into a creature that could appreciate many different bands and television shows without resorting to compulsive hoarding of memorabilia. However, as you can see, I still have my Monkees collection. I haven’t yet been able to part with even the smallest scrap.
Although all this stuff isn’t as important to me as it once was, I can remember how each photo and note of music and frame of video made me feel at the time. It’s that feeling that I want to hold on to; the total abandon of supreme fandom.
I think the desire to recreate that feeling is the reason it’s becoming more and more acceptable for adults to geek out over television shows or characters from comic books. The fanboys and fangirls are growing up, but they are not letting go. It’s not just nostalgia, it’s a refusal to believe that once you’re an adult you have to give up such things.
Maybe I’ll take some of my Monkees collectables and make a collage or a diorama to hang on my living room wall. My decorating style is already schizophrenic, so why not?
What were you obsessed with as a kid? Did you give it up, or are you still an active fan-geek?