Friday, September 19, 2008

j.j. armes

let's go back to the 1970s
back to el paso
where the arab american community
was living large
kinda like the sopranos
in west texas
but with dolmas instead of pasta
baklava instead of cannoli
the men had dark bushy sideburns
and unibrows
and gold chains
with tufts of chest hair pouring out
over silk disco shirts
plaid pants
heavy accents
white belts
leisure suits
velour track suits
and jaguars
working capitalism to the fullest
all born in the "old country"
trying to raise their own families in america
(well el paso was almost america)

my dad seemed to be in the epicenter of this bizarre community
of middle eastern ex-patriots
he was very popular
and well-respected
they all seemed to look up to him somehow
he was like the "quarterback"
of the high school football team
though i'm not sure why
fayez could be overly blunt
and abrasive at times
but then again
they all could
he was an accountant
maybe it had to do with saving them all loads of money
on their taxes?
i don't know
i was too young to understand
too caught up in my own kid trip
to pay close attention to the circus tent
pitched over my dad's life
he never seemed like a social person to me
but now that i look back
he had tons of friends and clients
jay j. armes was one of his most well-known
and eccentric friends
armes was a private investigator who'd lost both of his arms
in an accident involving "explosive railroad signaling devices"
when he was only twelve years old
his 15 minutes of fame came in 1972 with a case
involving the return of marlon brando's son
after he was kidnapped
the most bizarre thing about j.j. armes
was that he
in fact
had 2 prosthetic arms
described like this in his very own press release
"Amazingly, Jay can now do more with the fantastic steel claws that have replaced his hands than people with their own hands can do. He can reach into fire, smash through doors, fire bullets with unerring accuracy, cut through metal, fly utilizing a jet pack, scuba dive, pilot a jet -- and he is the master of the deadliest karate chop. No wonder Jay J. Armes is the most famous, most sought after investigator in the world."

when i was a kid though
it wasn't the fake arms that impressed me about jay j.
it was that he had his very own zoo
with a pet tiger and cheetah

in 1976 Kenner produced the short-lived j.j. armes
action figure line
a little mini jay was sold in a window box
10-inches tall
dressed in pants
a sweater and a vest marked "jj"
with black boots too
jay's molded hair helmet covered the upper part of his ears
just like all the dudes did in '76
the best part though
was that instead of hands
the j.j. armes action figure had clever accessories
stored in a red briefcase
for use instead of real hands
they were:
2 suction cups for climbing walls
a magnet for hanging onto steel structures
a machete to cut his way out of tough situations
a pair of "fake" hands for undercover roles
a hook that converts to a pistol
a pair of spring loaded hooks
oh how i wanted my very own j.j. armes action figure...

i never got one

now enjoy this nice video about jj


Anonymous Anonymous said...

My mom bought that doll for my cousin Kevin! How weird that you knew the real guy. Mom was sort of fascinated by him, I think.



9:09 PM  
Blogger it's snowing in my heart said...

wow - i never met anyone who had the armes action figure. your cousin was one lucky boy...

9:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got to tell you...that is some weird story my friend!

Hope you and J are well. Let's get together prior to M's departure to Italy.


6:21 PM  

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