It started, as it so often does for me, with a podcast.
I was aware of Funko's pop vinyl figures and sort of liked the whole concept. I had a feeling I would get one the day the right one appeared, but I was unsure which exactly that could be.
Then, there was this podcast episode where the first ten or so minutes were spent praising how cute the Groot bobble-head was, and, as some kind of added spice, noticed how hard they were to find. I am not sure which podcast it was, but Guy English was in it and promised to order Groot for several other participants. (Of which I think Georgia Dow was one.) This planted a seed which became a plant and burst into full bloom when I saw Guardians of the galaxy myself. I was sure: I wanted a Groot.
Sure enough, they were still pretty sold out, but I ordered one anyway and was happily surprised when it became available for pickup in the store almost three weeks later.
The second figure followed the same month and was quite natural: the potted-plant version of Groot.
There, it could have ended. But it was not the end, just a break for more than a year. When I got my white Playstation 4 one of the very first thoughts I had was that it would look great together with a stormtrooper from Star wars. So I got one, and at the same time a Cthulhu because it existed and just struck a chord. Cthulhu guards my Mac mini, kept contained by a glass dome, while the stormtrooper looks as great as I had hoped next to the Playstation.
Then, there was the awesome oversized alien queen from Aliens, which came along with a Ripley.
Once I had a stormtrooper, picking up Darth Vader when I ran across him could not go wrong.
Second last, so far, was this Chesire cat.
Come on, just look at it. How could I not?
Last, and quite the opposite of least, I now have a third Groot.
The cashier just smiled when I saw what I was buying.
I am Groot.
On my way home, a friend asked me what the thing is with these figures. I answered that I have no idea why they are big with other people. For me, it is simple: the ones I have spark joy. I do not wish to fill every shelf with them, but when I come across one which makes me smile, I will probably keep picking them up.
Part of me is, I think, living in the past. A past where vinyl figures like this were something you possibly saw in the background of cool kids' rooms in american movies, and definitely not something you could find and buy for yourself.
I like that part, it is so fun to make it happy.