Every time the word “Commodore” appears on my local Craigslist, I receive an email alert. Sometimes the alerts link to people selling cars or boats, but most of the time, it’s the computer. I received one such alert last Friday night, informing me about a computer for sale at a garage sale. I need another Commodore 64 like I need a hole in the head, and the one pictured in the ad looked pretty sad (incomplete and with a few mismatched parts), but where there’s smoke, as they say, there’s often fire.
I didn’t make it down to the garage sale until 10 a.m., Sunday morning. When Susan and I arrived, we were greeted by a colorful character who goes by the name Orange Rex. “I’ve worn orange every day for the past twenty years,” he informed the two of us as we began to poke around the interesting items in the man’s front yard. Susan found a box of what appeared to be teaching supplies, and asked the somewhat eccentric man if he was a professor at the nearby college.
“Actually, I’m a fire breather,” Orange Rex replied. A quick Google search confirmed this fact.
The items at Orange Rex’s garage sale seemed to be split — half of them were items targeted toward college students returning to school for the fall semester, while other items were more interesting. On one side of the garage sale sat a table and chairs, some pots and pans, silverware, and other household goods. On the other side sat a few Atari 2600 cartridges, some vintage electronics, vinyl albums, books on UFOs, and all kinds of interesting things.
As Susan continued to dig around, Rex and I talked about Tiny Houses, 3D Printing, journalism, and Rubik’s Cubes. Eventually Susan asked about the Commodore (it had sold at 4:45 a.m. Saturday morning), but as the conversation turned toward vintage video games, I soon found myself in Rex’s living room, admiring his very minty collection of boxed Atari 2600 games.
At some point while I was inside, Susan found a small plastic C-3P0 and thought that I might want it. I did, but not for the reason she thought. I left the garage sale with a couple of puzzles, a book about Rubik’s Cubes, a book about UFOs and mind control, and a plastic C-3P0 from McDonald’s 2001 Clone Wars Happy Meal collection.
“Variety is the spice of life,” Susan always says after we meet someone interesting, and Orange Rex is definitely an interesting fellow. I look forward to continuing our conversations online. Maybe someday he’ll teach me how to breathe fire in return.
The C-3P0 figure is now sitting on a shelf when you enter my Star Wars room. As far as C-3P0 toys go, it’s dreadful; caramel colored instead of chrome, with weird kung-fu hands and poor posture. I didn’t buy him for any of those reasons, of course. I bought him because each time I come upstairs, I want to look at him and remember that variety is the spice of life.