When you're a kid, everything is better. Lights flash brighter, colors illuminate with more vigor, sounds carry more of an impact, movies capture the imagination despite lack of story, talent, or commonsense. You're so young that you have not had many experiences, so when you see Mac and Me at age five, it seems like a legit movie.
I did not know that I would enjoy Mac and Me for an entirely set of different reasons when I re-visited it 20 years later. I was tricked, bamboozled, I hadn't even realized that it was a long promotional ad by McDonalds (MAC and Me, get it?) It's because I was a moron, and McDonalds took advantage of my innocence.
But whether or not the bliss of ignorance is actually a worse fate than the terror of the truth is up for debate, what's not up for debate is that kids are dumb and easily fooled. And sometimes I still miss it.
When I was a kid, there was nothing better than a trip to Toys 'R Us and that's no exaggeration. Every single aisle was filled with some sort of wonderment, but a walk down the action figures section was completely my cup of tea party. Package after package, box after box, I wanted it all. Of course, you could only have a little and these trips were few and far between. An infrequent trip to a store exclusively geared towards kids, not exactly the same to adults as what Disneyland is. There's still plenty of enjoyment to be had at Disneyland for adults; I just went two months ago and it was amazing.
But have you been to Toys 'R Us as an adult? I bought my niece and nephew some stuff there last year and holy shit what a boring heckhole. The only thing left for me was the games aisle, and I don't even play board games that often. On it's surface, Toys 'R Us can at one time seem so amazing and at another time be a pit of despair -- take my money, I knew I gave that shit up when I had kids.
And then another way to look at it would be to see that even as kids, we could soon become disenchanted.
You get one toy and you better make it a good one. You choose the one with the box that had the kid riding a spaceship to Mars, and his dog is the passenger and he's talking now and you can shoot laser beams into the stars and blow them up. It's all detailed right there on the damn box! Then you get home and you open your one box from your one trip this year to Toys 'R Us and find out that it requires batteries that weren't included. You ask Mom if you have batteries and she says "No."
"Can we go get some?"
You wait four days until the batteries arrive and finally now you can play with your toy. It requires three hours of assembly. Finally when you're done you realize that you can't fit in this, let alone your dog. It's not going into space, it can barely make it out of the driveway. Those aren't laser beams, they're just little red lights. Two days later those little red lights have burnt out and the left side of it has fallen off. Your dog Woofers doesn't even want to play with you anymore and he's run away. Your parents want to have a an important talk with you and they insist "it's not your fault." You're taken to a boarding school now and it's run by a mean old woman that you swear was the head witch in the movie Witches. One moment you're looking at a beautiful new toy in a shiny, colorful box and you can see how amazing your future with this toy is going to be, and the next you're eating gruel, just as long as you've done your 15 hours of labor for Mrs. Weatherbottom.
Let's talk about the Tennessee Titans.
Here's five reasons that Seattle beats up the shiny toy:
1. Jake Locker - Now with Detachable Rocket Arms!
I remember when Locker had been dubbed as the savior of the Seahawks, when he still had at least a year left in school. That didn't happen, but only because of like 100 reasons that it didn't happen.
You could criticize Jake Locker for his injury history, you could criticize Locker for his poor play, but either way, we win! Locker suffered a few injuries in college, he missed five games last year with a torn shoulder, he plays rough and early comparisons to "a right-handed Steve Young" seem apt as long as we're talking about the fact that Young's style of play got him fucked up too, sometimes.
But rather than focus on what might happen, like Jake Locker might be wearing a helmet full-time by Week 6, let's focus on what we know: The game play. We know that hasn't been good.
Exciting at times, the results aren't pretty. The last time that Locker threw more touchdowns than interceptions in a game was Week 11 against the Dolphins, his first game back from injury. Over his final six games, he threw four touchdowns and nine interceptions. Tough schedule? He played the Jaguars twice during that time, the league's 29th ranked scoring defense, and the Colts, Football Outsiders lowest-ranked defense. Against the Packers, he was 13-of-30 for 140 yards, 4.67 yards per attempt, 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions.
Overall on the season, after being slowly brought along as a rookie and making no starts in 2011, Locker started eleven games (really, ten, because he only attempted two passes in the game he was hurt) and completed 56.4% of his passes for 2,176 yards, 10 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 6.9 yards per attempt, 41 carries for 291 yards and one touchdown.
Locker might be good some day. He can certainly make some "wow" plays with his arm or his legs. Steve Young himself sucked with the Bucs and needed time to grow into becoming a Hall of Fame quarterback. But we're not talking about "might's" right now because you still have one case of a guy like Locker that hasn't figured it out yet and then you've got a case like Russell Wilson.
And Wilson is over five months younger than Locker.
2. Chris Johnson - Batteries May or May Not Be Included, He's Not Responsible For These Batteries, You Figure It Out.
I'm writing my annual series of previewing every team in the NFL for fantasy purposes, and here's one point that I'll be driving home very hard: Running backs often peak early.
Johnson dropped his 2,006-yard season back in 2009. He followed that up with a very-respectable 1,364 yard season. If he had rushed for 1,100 yards in 2009, then 2010 would be perceived as a step up. But it was a loss of 1.3 yards per carry and 40 yards per game.
And that was the year before he sucked all of the sucks.
Johnson failed to reach 3.0 yards per carry in seven of 16 games in 2011, ruining fantasy hopes everywhere. Over 32-percent of his total yards that year came between Week 11-12 against the Buccaneers and Bills. And again, with perspective, Johnson "rebounded" to 1,243 yards and 4.50 yards per carry last year, but there's plenty of argument that he still kinda sucked relative to what you would expect from one of the highest-paid backs in the league.
He opened the year with 11 carries for four yards against the Patriots. He had 45 yards through three games. Football Outsiders actually didn't even rank Johnson in the top 32 of all running backs in the NFL in terms of DYAR, where Johnson finished with -30.
Johnson is shiny, fast, and explosive... sometimes. But if he sucks against the Seahawks, it wouldn't be the first or even the twelfth time.
3. Chance WAR-Mack from Alabamco - He's Big, He's Mean, He's... a Guard!
When you played with your action figures as a kid or yesterday, every action figure had it's own role in whatever missions you went on. They didn't all go together, either. Ghostbusters figures fought with G.I. Joe's. Darkwing Ducks toys fought against Food Fighters. And then every now and then you might mix in a Boglin.
Boglins have size, they're ugly, they're squishy, but they don't do much else. A Boglin would be there as a force, but he wouldn't be the hero. He'd be the bad guy that is defeated by He-Man, but then turned into an ugly good guy that fights alongside He-Man and your McDonald's Happy Meal french fry box toy that transforms.
But not the hero.
The Titans were bad last year. They gave up the most points in the NFL. With their first pick, they took a guard. Even if he's the best guard in the NFL, he's still just a guard. A Boglin guard.
4. Titan's Missile Defense - Pew! Pew!
The most points in the league. They gave up 51 to the Bears and 55 to the Packers.
Derrick Morgan led the team with 6.5 sacks. They don't have one star on defense. I don't want to get caught up in "star" power but you do need to have elite players. The last time the Titans were good, 2008, they sent Albert Haynesworth, Cortland Finnegan, and Chris Hope to the Pro Bowl.
If they have players like that now, we haven't seen it yet.
(Zach Brown had a pretty good rookie year at linebacker. Jason McCourty has shown some goodness. There are players with potential, but that's mostly all it is right now.)
5. Don't Forget To Tell Mom To Get The Cool CenturyLink Accessory Stadium!
One of the coolest things about getting toys as a kid, or shopping for toys, is that while you always would focus on the action figures themselves, nothing compared to those rare instances that you also got one of their really cool accessories -- especially a house, fortress, or official WWF Wrestling Ring.
I remember having a WWF ring and the Ghostbusters Fire House but shit like this was way more expensive than the individual toys.
I loved all of my toys, but anytime you got a house, a fortress, or a car to actually play around with and actually create a universe with, it made all of your other toys that much better. The fortress made the toys better. The fortress.
We've got the coolest accessory in the NFL.
And that's why we're now 6-0.