People say I own a lot of stupid things. Junk, they call it, although to me what's a record collection without "The Ethel Merman Disco Album" or "Zingers From The Hollywood Squares"? Many choose to mock my PEZ collection, while other s wonder loudly and impolitely how I wound up with my very own copy of the film UHF. "Are all your chemicals in balance? Is there a synapse that's not firing properly in your brain?", their condescending half-smiles and arched eyebrows seem t o ask.
[Picture Loving Skull]

But perhaps the most useless thing I happen to own is actually the most enduring of all. It's the one item no one should dare criticize, lest they want to be tossed out on the curb. I don't know what drew me to Him in the first place: was it the $5. 99 price tag, marked down from $25.99? The endearingly misspelled tag line on the box urging you to "cross his path, hear his laugh...catch his eerie rath [sic]"?? Or was it my persistent friend Matt, who, upon finding himself penniless, nagge d me for over twenty minutes to take the damn thing home??? Yes, it was probably all of these things which made me finally fall for "Vincent, The Living Skull", the smiling, shiny plastic human head which adorns my mantelpiece even to this day.

Vincent is my watchdog, my Guardian Angel, my friend and confidant. He knows when you are sleeping, and he knows when you're awake, as evidenced by the loud cackle which emits from his body (sorry, his cranium) when you trip the light sensor hidden at t he tip of his hollow nose. Even without the 9 volt battery, Vincent lights up my living room with an incandescent grin. He glows in the dark, after all.

Why his creators chose the name Vincent, I'm not sure: was it meant to invoke Vincent Price? Vincent Gardenia? Vincent Van Gogh? No, thankfully, this Vincent has both his ears on straight, and rarely does he ask to be called "The Abominable Dr. Phibes." But what's with the laugh? What's so side-splittingly funny about a skull? It isn't scary; it's absurd. (The laugh is accompanied by flashing red lights in his eye sockets...believe me, this Vincent is one full service party skull). Onc e, in college, we had him as a "featured guest" on our radio show. The interview consisted of us asking Vincent serious questions, then waving our hands in front of his sensor to make him go "HOO HA HA HA HA HA HOO HA HA" over and ove r again. Brilliant, really. I'm proud to say it almost got us fired from the station.

Yes, Vincent is a true prize, a swell bargain at $5.99, and I'm proud to say I've never seen him in anyone else's home. He's beyond mere camp or cheese--his appeal is at once ethereal and inexplicable. For once, Spencer's Gifts had an item actually wor th buying. But don't try to find him amidst the slew of farting puppy dogs and baseball hats with beercan holsters. I've never seen a Living Skull before or since that fateful October day in Poughkeepsie, 1989. The jolly angel of death is mine, all min e.
God bless ya, Vinnie.

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[Ooze #5 Summer '95]

Ooze Magazine
The Journal of SSubstance, Wit,and Dangerous Masturbatory Habits