What do you remember about your childhood playtime? Do you remember sitting in front of a video game for hours at a time? Do you remember having a bike with twenty different speeds? Do you remember getting new toys for your birthday, Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, the first day of school, the last day of school, when your tooth fell out, when your friend had a birthday, because someone picked on you at school, because you got an F, because you got an A, when you went on vacation, when Walmart had a sale, and whenever you went shopping with your parents?
We didn’t have video games, my bike was a no-speeder, and we got toys three times a year—birthday, Christmas and maybe Easter. And I’m now so old that I have to tell people how superior my childhood was to the childhoods of today. It’s my right.
One day, in the late 1960’s, while I was playing outside in my yard (for the younger crowd, playing outside is kind of like a reality show video game,) I found a treasure. Camouflaged by bright green grass, was a little green plastic figure about one and a half inches high. The words “Rat Fink” were emblazoned across his tiny chest. He had sharp pointy ears and a long tail. I couldn’t believe my fortune. I played with him for days, then kept him in a little gold box that I fondly called my “treasure box” until I was an adult. Although I didn’t really know who or what Rat Fink was, I remember when kids got mad at each other, they would exclaim, “You rat fink!”
Flash forward to 1997. I moved to a small town in Utah. After living there a few years, I began to notice something odd. Our town would hang Rat Fink banners all along Main Street for a few days during the summer. I would question some people I knew, but no one seemed to know why the town would hang Rat Fink banners. I got nostalgic for my childhood toy, because the rat on the banners was “my” Rat Fink.
In 2008, I was reading our local newspaper and was astounded to find that Ed Roth, aka “Big Daddy,” the creator of my beloved Rat Fink, had been a citizen of my town at the time of his death in 2001. His widow holds a Rat Fink convention every year, which draws counterculture artists from all over the country, hence the banners. The artists convene at his widow’s home to reminisce about Big Daddy, to re-create his artistic style, to pin stripe some hot rods, and to rev their engines up and down Main Street. That was the first year I went to the Big Daddy/Rat Fink museum on his widow’s property. Although I it’s not my favorite style of art, I still appreciate Ed Roth's talent and legacy.
While in the Rat Fink store that year, I saw something that nearly made me cry. Hanging on a rack of key chains, was a little green Rat Fink figurine, almost identical to the one from my childhood. Little RF is on my key chain today.
Weston, his friend E-Gore, and I went to the museum again this year. It wasn’t far—I can almost touch the museum from my back yard as only one property separates us. I can hardly believe that a museum of its size, as well as visiting hot rods and artists, fit on her property. For a few days in June, there is a constant parade of show cars driving up and down my dead-end street. I can do my gardening to live rock music. And for those few days, I am transported back to the late 60’s.
The pictures I took don’t do justice to the magnificence of the place.
E-Gore and Weston, hanging out in the museum
Yeah! Rat Fink!
Ev-er-y-thing is Rat Fink around here.
The Rat Fink store is to boys as the Twilight store is to girls.
They got matching Outlaw t-shirts.
I could have nightmares.
Move, little Rat Fink, so you don't get run over!
The Potty Car. Don't ask me what it runs on.
They'll draw on anything. Seriously.
This convention center is in her backyard.
Don't you fink he looks scary?
"My" Rat Fink is much cuter.
Mrs. Big Daddy's back yard. I'll take this one.
A true "green" car.
A fuel tank maybe?
Watch out for men with paint brushes.
And now, what you've all been waiting for---the giveaway!
Yes, one lucky Foreign Quang reader will win a set of three
Rat Fink keychains!
These adorable little Rat Finks come in lavender, hot pink, and jade green.
You will have the honor of knowing that I too am carrying around a green one. We'll be twinners!
What do you have to do to win?
Just leave a comment here and you will be automatically entered to win.One entry per person.
(Unless you are a spammer, then I purposely won't choose you. No Rat Fink for you, no siree.)
Winner will be chosen by random.org on Monday, June 13, 2011 at 8:00 A.M. Please make sure you leave an email address or have one visible in your profile so I can contact you for
May the Fink be with you!
[Sorry, the giveaway is open to U.S. residents only]