I’m not sure what caused me to pull the trigger on it, but as soon as it was finished I knew that it was the worst trade I would ever make. Even as I type these words, waves of sadness are splashing on my internal beach of despair. My head is shaking and my palms are becoming sweaty. No matter how long I ponder what happened, I still have found no good reason for doing it and even if I could come up with an acceptable reason there is no changing what happened. I just have to continue dealing with it the best way that I know how. After all, I have no one to blame but myself.
I traded Quick Kick for Lady Jaye. And I have never gotten over it.
Quick Kick and Lady Jaye are both fictional characters from the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero toy line, comic book, and animated television series. I realize that this may mean less than nothing to you, but when I was a kid the battle of G.I. Joe versus Cobra was of colossal significance. There were days when all of my energy was spent thinking up ways that Cobra could try to take over the world and then thinking up how Snake Eyes, Flint, and the rest could stop them. How long have I been a nerd? All of my life.
I would mention that I had a lot of G.I. Joe toys, but that would be a lie. I still have them. They are in several boxes in my basement. I have thought about selling them, but just can’t bring myself to do it. They were an integral part of my formative years. It would be like selling my memories. Of course, my memories would be hard to sell because of all the space being taken up by sitcom theme songs, but you get the point. It’s hard to sell your childhood no matter how dull it was.
We traded G.I. Joes like my kids trade Silly Bandz, but with less reckless abandon. I had a few kids I traded with, but none were as persuasive as MR (I’m using his initials to protect his identity–from what I’m not sure). MR had what we used to call a “honkin butt-load” of G.I. Joe toys. He certainly had more than me and he had a better place to display his collection that I did. He had more of the weapons and vehicles. He had some of the special edition toys. But he didn’t have Quick Kick. Every time we traded, he would ask about Quick Kick and I would say that he wasn’t available.
And then one day when he asked about trading for Quick Kick, I faltered. Instead of saying no, I said “maybe.” The problem was that I lacked diversity among my G.I. Joe toys. I had no women and this had started to bother me. A good G.I. Joe collection had to have some females, otherwise it could not be called good.
MR jumped at his chance. “What do you want for him?” I told him my predicament and he showed me his Lady Jaye. (I’m glad that this is about G.I. Joe’s because otherwise that last sentence would be awfully sketchy.) Out of all of the female G.I. Joe’s, Lady Jaye was my favorite. A cover operations specialist, she was Flint’s main squeeze and their back-and-forth helped bring levity to the show. I liked her a lot.
But I was unsure and when I became unsure about something back then I would sweat. Profusely. And my heart rate would rise. And I would get light-headed. In that moment, I made the decision. I traded Quick Kick for Lady Jaye. And I have been quick-kicking myself ever since.
What a stupid trade! Quick Kick was the more desirable of the two and if I was a better negotiator I could have gotten at least two more of his less favorite “men” in the process. Maybe Dr. Mindbender or Chuckles. But no–all I got was Lady Jaye. The pain of the transaction still haunts me.
I hate making a bad trade, but that seems to be the only kind I ever make. In fact, I can only think of one good trade that I have made in my life. But that one good trade is so good that it makes the bad ones fade far into the background whenever I think about it.
At the age of eleven I traded a life without Jesus for a life with Him.
Without Jesus I was hopeless; with Jesus there is always hope. Without Jesus I had no way to God; with Jesus that relationship continues to blossom. Without Jesus I was doomed; with Jesus there is no condemnation.
I have regretted the Quick Kick for Lady Jaye trade ever since I made it. I have never regretted trading in my old life for the new one I am now living. It’s been hard at times. There have been times of great sadness.
But it has always been good and it always will be.
(Have you ever made a bad trade? How did you get over it? Let me know!)