Last Tuesday – My childhood home is in the process of being sold and this was to be my last visit to the property. I made my way upstairs to my old bedroom to take a final look around. My attentions fell on the large bookcase at the far end of the room, covered in Garbage Pail Kid cards (see picture below of top of book case). For those who are too young to remember their eighties heyday, Garbage Pail Kids were cards that could be peeled at the back to become stickers. Each card depicted a character with its name below. The cards came in packs of two to four, along with a stick of chewing gum. Deciding to remove some of the stickers for nostalgic value, I attempted to peel them off the bookcase. This proved impossible, as the aged stickers came off in strips. As I continued with this futile activity my mind wandered back to a Garbage Pail Kids related memory from school when I was about nine years old.
Garbage Pail Kids frenzy spread through schools faster than the nits and mine was no exception. My classmates and I spent most of our waking hours swapping, inspecting, discussing and lusting after the Garbage Pail Kids we did not yet possess; our young capitalist hearts yearning for material gain. We had become the yuppies our glorious leader Thatcher demanded us to be.
Our only prospect of salvation was to acquire the whole Garbage Pail Kids collection. The problem however was that some cards were so rare, as to be almost extinct. The most rare being Adam Bomb (see picture). A card so in demand that today examples have been priced as high as $4,250 on eBay.
Several of my classmates had the whole collection minus Adam Bomb, but only one of us had the complete set; in fact he had two sets. His name was Abu-Ghazaleh, a Kuwaiti, who in the first year at the school had wielded a particularly meagre collection of an earlier series of Garbage Pail Kids. The discovery of new oil fields in his homeland some months earlier however had led to a meteoric rise.
Every day, after lunch, Abu-Ghazaleh would unlock a security box in his desk and take out Adam Bomb, before parading him around the class room as if the card were a religious artefact. Consumed by a combination of awe and greed we would stare wide eyed at the card and even reach and touch the object of our desires.
One of our classmates, a diminutive boy by the name of Edgar craved this card even more than the rest of us and his piteous pining would continue throughout every day, as he followed Abu-Ghazaleh continuously, as if he were a hound.
Several months had passed when Abu-Ghazaleh finally relented and agreed to part with his spare Adam Bomb. But there was one condition. Edgar would be required to re-enact the poses of four Garbage Pail Kids of Abu-Ghazaleh’s choice and this was to take place in the busy central London street outside the school, one afternoon.
Several days later – we assembled outside in a large circle on the pavement, Edgar waiting apprehensively in the middle. Abu-Ghazaleh strode imperiously into the centre holding a Garbage Pail Kid card aloft. It was Amazin Grace (see picture).
Without further ado Edgar removed his clothes down to his underpants, scrambled up to the roof of a parked car and did the required body builder pose. Passersby stopped and stared at the spectacle. Some seconds later Abu-Ghazaleh, wiping tears of mirth from his cheeks ordered Edgar down, before reaching into his pocket and holding a second card aloft. It was Low Life Lola (see below).
Edgar immediately took a prone position on the edge of the curb, his tongue lolling out onto the pavement. Abu-Ghazaleh was laughing so hysterically that he was quite unable to display the remaining two cards.
Looking around I saw the head teacher pushing his way through the crowd of onlookers and grabbing the partially clothed Edgar by the neck and dragging him away. Edgar did not appear again for several days, as his concerned parents had sent him away to be evaluated by mental health services.
The following Monday in a ceremony after lunch Abu-Ghazaleh true to his word presented Edgar with Adam Bomb, tears welling in his eyes, as the class applauded.
Below is a selection of particularly unpleasant Garbage Pail Kids:
Thank you to all those who bought my book, Charles Middleworth. Click on the link below to read the first two chapters for free: