One Thing Have I Desired: a Super Soaker 50

This post is dedicated to Corey, Christi, Katie, and Trena who had to endure this story more times than is probably legal under the conditions of the Geneva Convention.

“We’re going to take a field trip to Mount Trashmore!”
If you didn’t grow up in Virginia Beach, you have no clue why that statement would actually cause a 4th grader to be excited and not ready to vomit. Mount Trashmore was a landfill that was turned into a park and, at around 60 feet above sea level, is the highest point in the Tidewater area.

“We’re going to have a picnic…”
I have since learned this is just a teacher’s way of making brown-bagging lunch sound exciting.

“…and I’m making cupcakes for everyone…”
Imagine someone announcing he was giving free gas to a crowd of people with SUVs and you’ll roughly understand how we reacted.

“…and we’re going to end the day with a water gun fight!”
Now imagine someone announcing he was giving free SUVs to a crowd of people with gas.

And then it happened. In the middle of my euphoria about the water gun fight I realized the flaw in my plans for the perfect field trip—I didn’t have a water gun.

“Sure, we’ll go to the Dollar Tree and get you the best water gun we can find…maybe even two.”
Now if you were nine in 1991, you completely understand why that statement from my dad was completely unacceptable. Everyone who was anyone had the latest water cannon from Larami, the Super Soaker 50. It made other water guns look like the mere toys they were and may have been the perfect weapon of mass hydration: pump-action pressurized reservoir that held 25 fluid ounces of H2O and promised to launch that liquid mayhem onto your adversaries up to fifty feet away! It was advanced technology invented by a literal rocket scientist. That was the water gun I was going to get.

“Thirty bucks?!”
If your dad was anything like my dad, you probably heard him say that in the water gun aisle at Toys-R-Us, too.

“This one looks interesting…”
The water gun he held wasn’t green and yellow, it was orange and white. It didn’t hold 25 fluid ounces, it held 15. The box didn’t promise that it could shoot up to 50 feet, it only promised 30. It wasn’t the Super Soaker 50, it was the Super Soaker 30.

“…with this one you really would have the advantage…”
I was only nine, but I was already aware of the old put-a-good-spin-on-an-unpopular-move-to-make-the-people-happy-about-it psychology garbage.

“…that Super Soaker 50 would probably be pretty heavy with it holding 25 fluid ounces of water and all. This one is much lighter. In water gun fights, mobility is the key and you’ll be faster with a lighter gun.”
I wasn’t so much sold on the strategy, but I was sold on the fact that the water gun being sold to me had Super Soaker written across it’s tank and not Aqua Drencher.

and the water gun war was on. I was fast–much faster than my classmates who were burdened by the weight of those extra ten fluid ounces. Not quite as fast as the ones with the Aqua Drenchers, but still, I was swift. I locked onto my target (one of the kids whose parents had been dogmatic about the Dollar Tree) while pumping as fast as my underdeveloped nine-year old arms could to power my weapon. I slowly squeezed the trigger with expectations of my rival experiencing the pain of pressurized dihydrogen monoxide and…and…and…for the second time in this story I made a startling water gun-related discovery: the orange nozzle had broken off of my Super Soaker 30.

To cut back on the length of this unbelievably long retelling of a haunting childhood memory, I’ll sum it up this way: The only way I ever drenched anyone with that Super Soaker 30 was by filling the yellow bottle with fifteen ounces of liquid and dumping it on his head.

That water gun was a major disappointment because of the intense desire that I had for it. Unfortunately, I’m not always sure that I am doing a better job of choosing what will bring me happiness than I did as a 4th grade kid who was worried about looking cool in front of my friends and having the same brand toy that I saw on TV. In fact, “looking cool in front of my friends and having the same brand toy that I saw on TV” describes a lot of what I tend to worry about. I really wish that my desires could be more focused on eternity like David’s when he said

One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple. -Psalm 27:4

  • What toy did you absolutely have to have as a kid?
  • Have you ever wanted something so badly and then were unbelievably disappointed when you finally got it?
  • How do you correct misplaced desires?

About Jeff Postlewaite

high school principal since '07, father since '04, teacher since '03, husband since '03, sound tech since '96, UVA fan since '92, gadget junkie since '89, Christian since '88, Giants fan since '84, golfer since '83, brother since '83, human since '81

Posted on August 29, 2011, in Biblical Thought and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. My parents didn’t want to spend the money either, so I was the only kid in my neighborhood stuck with a super soaker 30 instead of the 50, or shortly later the 100. The rest of the kids didn’t even believe that this orange piece of garbage was even a super soaker. I would get ridiculed while being blasted from 50ft away as I ran, since it was useless to try to even hit them.

    I stumbled on this post, after googling “Super Soaker 30” and doing an image search, because I wasn’t even sure if it really was a super soaker or not 20 years after the fact. This post definitely brought back some memories. Thanks.

  2. Andrew,
    I’m glad to know I’m not the only one. I don’t think we are alone either because about a half dozen people hit this post each week by searching for pictures of a Super Soaker 30. Maybe we should start a support group or something.

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