Earlier this week I wrote about what I would buy if one of my books sold spectacularly well and I found myself with some cash to throw away on things other than the mortgage, taxes, and the dogs' vet bills. At the time the only thing I could think of to get myself was this crazy wonderful monkey lamp.
But the monkey lamp--fabulous as it is--costs only $995. Also, as my friend Robert pointed out, it's boringly practical. It was suggested by several people that I should try to think of something completely useless but nevertheless absolutely essential to my happiness.
Well, I have. Two things, in fact, although really they're variations on the same theme. Behold the Tarantula movie one-sheet. What? You don't know about Tarantula? You poor thing. It's only the greatest movie ever, is all. Although I might be the teensiest bit biased, seeing as how I have seven tarantulas living with me and they insist on watching it as often as possible.
Still, it really is a must-see. Sadly, the only place you can find it is on the Classic Sci-Fi Ultimate Collection Volumes 1 & 2 CD box set. That will set you back $41.99, but keep in mind that you get not only Tarantula but also The Mole People, The Incredible Shrinking Man, The Monolith Monsters, Monster on the Campus, Dr. Cyclops, Cult of the Cobra, The Land Unknown, The Deadly Mantis and The Leech Woman. Seriously, does it get any better than that?
You can get a print of the Tarantula poster for under $20. But I don't want a print. I want the real thing--one of the posters that hung in a lobby in 1955. And those ain't cheap. The good folks at CineMasterpieces movie collectibles have one right now listed for $3295. No, I didn't misplace the decimal point. It's $3295. But it's already linen backed and ready for framing, so it's practically a steal. Add that to my tab along with the monkey lamp and we're up to $4290 for everything I want so far.
The other poster I want is for Creature from the Black Lagoon. The Creature has always been my favorite movie monster. When I was a kid I waited all week for the Saturday afternoon monster movie show on Channel 9. It was called Eivom (it was years before I realized it was movie backwards), and it was my introduction to the world or horror.
Many of the movies I saw on Eivom have stuck with me. Not just the classics like Dracula and The Wolf Man, but lesser-known films like Gargoyles (which made me cry) and Baron Blood (which scared the wee out of me). Sure, they were often clumsy and the monsters sometimes looked like guys in gorilla costumes, but the stories were great.
For a long time Godzilla was my man, what with all the yelling and fire-breathing and Tokyo-stomping. But once I discovered the Creature, there was no one else. He was unlike any movie monster I'd seen before. I loved that he lived underwater. I loved his gills and webbed hands and fishlike mouth and watching him swim. I wanted him to get the girl, and was always mad when he didn't, no matter how many times I watched the movie.
Apparently a lot of other people like the Creature too, because his movie poster is one of the most sought after in the collecting world. One in great shape, mounted on linen, sold for $21,995 at CineMasters. That's a lot to spend on something to hang on your wall. But I would totally do it. You know, if I had the money.
And that's the point of this exercise, right, to dream? Forget practical stuff like paying off the house, or opening an IRA, or even donating. This is about what I would do if I could do something totally and utterly for fun. So now I have the monkey lamp and two movie posters, for a grand total of $26285. That's still way less than, say, a Jaguar, or even a motorcycle. Not terribly impressive, really.
Imagine me being interviewed by Barbara Walters.
Barbara: "What was the first thing you bought when your novel became a bestseller?"
Me: "That would be the monkey lamp."
Barbara: "The monkey lamp?"
Me: "And the Tarantula and Creature from the Black Lagoon one-sheets."
Barbara: "You're joking."
Me: "No, I'm not."
Barbara: "I knew I should have interviewed Miley Cyrus."
I'll try to think of some more stuff.