I have an obsession with connectivity.
If I have five free minutes at work, waiting for a phone call or finishing lunch, I immediately connect to my favorite people and topics on the internet.
I always say I had been waiting for this my whole life, and people think I’m trying to say that I am Al Gore and that I invented the internet. I’m usually at a loss to describe what I mean, but I have finally thought of a good example.
When I was five or six, He-Man toys were all the rage. However, being the equal opportunity battle coordinator I was, I also wanted to have She-Ra toys to fill out the gender ratio. I had nearly every He-Man toy, and I know for a fact that I had every single She-Ra. Except for one.
Spinnerella. She was one of the last of the series to be released, with the result being She-Ra didn’t take up all that much shelf-space in the action figures department anymore. My mother and I were intent on finding her – we had just found her net-tossing friend and, my personal favorite, Entraptra and Perfuma. Just one more She-Ra to make my fantasy world complete.
To this day I’ve never seen that damn toy in person. We went to every toy store in the Greater Philadelphia area to look. Were we supposed to cross state lines? Call stores around the country? In 1986, how were we to coordinate our search?
In my tiny, five-year-old mind, I remember thinking how silly it was that I couldn’t find that one toy. It obviously existed. Knowing what I know now about action figures, I’d wager to say that my spinning friend may have been short-shipped, or may have appeared with lower frequency in each case. However, at the time, I just knew they were out there somewhere, and couldn’t get over the mystery of why they had to be so damned hard to find. Surely there was a store that had too many of her that they couldn’t sell? Surely some girl had gotten two for her birthday, and had an extra?
I may not be Al Gore, but even then I knew there should… there had to be a way to connect to a larger group of people with the same interest. Some kind of a collective intelligence.
The internet came as no surprise.