The more things change. . .

The Compass - - Editorial - Harold Wal­ters Harold Wal­ters lives Hap­pily Ever Af­ter in Dunville, in the only Canadian prov­ince with its own time zone. How cool is that? Reach him at gh­wal­

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

What goes around, comes around.

Don’t chuck your wide neck­tie with the hula girl painted on it be­cause it will come back in style.

“Harry, my around and around honey,” says Dear­est Duck, “you don’t have a wide tie with a hula girl.”

“My Duck,” say I. “There’s a rack of wide and wrin­kled ties at the back of the bed­room closet, tucked in be­hind the dusty gar­ment bag hold­ing my Sun­day suit…”

“Which you haven’t worn in decades,” says Dear­est Duck. “Nev­er­the­less...,” say I.

B’ys, Dear­est Duck is cor­rect in say­ing I don’t have a hula girl tie. I once saw a real hula girl though, when we were in the Sand­wich Is­lands for Daddy’s Boy’s wed­ding. And I would’ve bought a hand­painted sou­venir tie, hula girl all a’jig­gle, if Dear­est Duck hadn’t slapped my wal­let hand.

“Harry, do you truly in­tend to talk about wide ties and hula girls?”

“I don’t, my Duck. Mostly I want to talk about View-Mas­ters.”

“View-Mas­ters?” says Dear­est Duck. “Toys, not ties?”

You see why Dear­est Duck ought not at­tempt hu­mour, eh b’ys?

Even be­fore Con­fed­er­a­tion pupped, Mat­tel had mar­keted the View-Mas­ter, ar­guably, its great­est toy.

Not true.

The View-Mas­ter was not a toy. It was a mar­velous stereo­scopic de­vice [!] that al­lowed … well, view­ers to ex­pe­ri­ence vir­tual re­al­ity…

… espe­cially Roy Rogers and Gene Autry — guns blaz­ing — in re­al­is­tic 3D for­mat two inches in front of their eye­balls.

View-Mas­ter reels — film chips em­bed­ded in plas­tic — handy the size of CDs, were in­serted ver­ti­cally into the View-Mas­ter’s face and the de­vice was held like binoc­u­lars. Crank­ing a wee lever on the side shifted the scenes.

Of course, Mat­tel would not mar­ket a prod­uct that was just a toy. Cer­tainly not.

As well as be­ing a toy of the finest cal­iber, the View-Mas­ter was also an ed­u­ca­tional de­vice.

Young­sters and adults could travel the world via View-Mas­ter reels. There was more to see through the View-Mas­ter panes than rootin’-tootin’ cow­boy he­roes.

When I was a bay-boy, although I had a brand new Christ­mas View Mas­ter and a cou­ple of cow­boy reels, an old feller up the road had a View-Mas­ter nearly as old as Sir Chucky Wheat­stone’s pro­to­type stere­op­ti­con (1838). And he had two boot-boxes stogged with vin­tage [?] View-Mas­ter reels.

Some­times, if I lugged in his wood and filled his wood­box, I earned the priv­i­lege to use the View-Mas­ter with the old feller hover­ing to smack me if I mis­treated his trea­sures.

“Mind you don’t get fin­ger­prints on them reels,” he said each time I made a se­lec­tion.

I minded.

Hold on a sec­ond, b’ys, while I shut my eyes and re­flect…

… yes, there’re the pyra­mids and images of street-sweep­ers brush­ing wa­ter off Paris street at dawn …

… and — sssh, don’t tell Dear­est Duck — vivid 3D Hawai­ian images of sway­ing hula girls so real and vis­i­bly un­du­lat­ing that they’re the stuff of bay-boy fan­tasies.

“Harry, you day-dream­ing again?”

“In­deed, my Duck. In­deed.” Last week, Pop’s East Coast Girls rushed my Lay-Z-Boy, so ex­cited they nearly up­sot my Ten­sion Tamer.

“Pop, look,” they said, wav­ing swim-gog­gles within clunk­ing dis­tance of my spec­ta­cles. “Go­ing swim­ming?” said I. “What?”

“Gog­gles,” said I, steading my mug.

“Pop, these are VR View­ers.” Looked like fan­ci­fied swim gog­gles to me.

Pop’s girls pro­ceed to ed­u­cate. They demon­strated how the gog­gles opened and al­lowed them to clip an iPhone into the face­plate. They strapped the ap­pa­ra­tus to my nog­gin and snugged it against my face, be­ing sur­pris­ingly care­ful of my glasses.

“Watch what hap­pens when this but­ton is pushed.”

I as­sume one of the girls pushed the but­ton a sec­ond be­fore Tyran­nosaurus Rex nearly yomped my head off.

“Some real, eh Pop?”

Some real. And not just a toy. Also an ed­u­ca­tional de­vice.

Pop’s girls ac­ti­vated an app chock-a-block with in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing pen­guin mi­gra­tion.

“Like a View-Mas­ter,” I said when the girls freed me. “What?”

And you know what, b’ys? Mat­tel is mark­ing a brand new View-Mas­ter; its ver­sion of the VR Viewer.

And you know what else? I watched Mat­tel’s pro­mo­tional video and couldn’t be­lieve my eyes. There was a scene from the Sand­wich Is­lands fea­tur­ing a whole slew of lei-swing­ing … “Harry!”

Thank you for read­ing.

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