Sunday, February 9, 2014

Submarines And The Infinite Sea Of Mind

by Bert Carson
Daddy - Me - Mother
Just in case you think my slant on this topic might be slightly skewed, I decided to use this sixty-nine-year-old picture to confirm your suspicion.

My old man was a submariner in the second world war.  He was the chief sonar operator on a diesel powered submarine assigned to the Pacific Fleet.  In a couple of my novels, the protagonist finds a box of medals which belongs to his father.  I didn't make that scene up. I found Daddy's medals and asked him about them.

Though I was ten at the time, and one of my grandfathers served in WWI, four uncles in WWII, and one in Korea, I'd never talked to them about their war experiences.  The day I asked Daddy about his medals, I found out why I'd never talked with grandfather, my father, or my uncles about their experience of war.  None of them were were willing to talk about it.
Now I know why, but that's another story.  I mention my personal connection to submarines here to be totally fair in the following comparison to toy submarines.  My unbiased report might well be biased, in fact, it probably is.  Since Daddy was a submariner, at age ten or eleven I fancied that one day I would also be one.  That changed when I saw one in San Diego and shifted my allegiance to more open spaces.

However, when I was ten, I saved every Kellogg cereal box top I could get my hands on, while counting the days until I had enough of them to order my very own, baking powder-powered submarine.  Of course that took FOREVER, but finally I had the required number.  I sent them, along with twenty-five cents, taped to a piece of cardboard so the quarter wouldn't move which would have alerted postal bandits to the presence of money in the envelope.  Then I waited, and waited, and WAITED. Finally, when I was on the verge of believing my uncle who said the postal bandits stole my quarter and I would never get my submarine, it arrived.

Now, sixty years later, the agony of the wait is forgotten, and all I remember are the hours, no, days of pleasure I spent watching my submarine dive and surface, and dive and surface, and dive and surface... until finally I was placed on baking powder rations.  But even that didn't stop me.



Thinking about that sub led me to Google and Google led me to the above video.  I watched it for while but it just wasn't the same as hanging over the water's edge and seeing the sub in action.  So I went to Amazon and found the same submarine, and, yep, you guessed it.  I bought, not one, but two of them ( I had to agree to give one to Gae-Lynn Woods for her agreement to be captain on my Blog Chain Team).  So now I'm waiting once again for a baking powder powered submarine.

Green's Toy Submarine
To help pass the time, I checked for other toy submarines that were available at Amazon.  What I found was shocking, and it's why I'm writing this blog.   

The Green's Toy Submarine is a best seller at Amazon, with one hundred and sixty-eight five star reviews.

Toysmith

By comparison, the Toysmith baking powder powered submarine, less
than half the price of the Green's Toy Submarine, only has twenty-two reviews and they only average three stars.   So I began to think about that.

In sixty years, our taste in toys has shifted from one we "watched" to one we "interact" with.
That sounds like an improvement until you think about it another way.  My 4" long, baking powder-powered submarine sailed in my mind and there I interacted with it.  In fact, I did far more than interact with it.  On board my submarine I was sometimes the Chief Sonar Operator and at other times, I was the Captain.  We won battles, we had close calls, mechanical failures, personal problems...I did everything on board my 4" long baking powder-powered submarine.  I didn't need a swimming pool, just a small container, and my infinite imagination.  Frankly, I still prefer the smaller submarine, and the infinite sea of my mind.  How about you?

PS - Great, now I'm an hour closer to the arrival of my new submarine.