Wasted on the Youth Guest Blog: The Thermals' Hutch Harris on Wax Packs | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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Wasted on the Youth Guest Blog: The Thermals’ Hutch Harris on Wax Packs

Aug 17, 2010
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(Under the Radar's Summer 2010 Issue is a special issue named the Wasted on the Youth Issue that features musicians and actors talking about their childhood memories and things they loved when they were kids. We're also posting web-exclusive essays that were not printed in the issue, including this one by The Thermals' Hutch Harris.)

One of my first indulgences/addictions as a child was collecting, trading, and racing wax pack trading cards, the kind made by Topps or Fleer. I started out on Pac-Man cards.  These were amazingeach card was a game of Pac-Man you played by scratching off a silver film with a coin. It was basically like a lottery ticket, except you never won shit.  So, really close to a lottery ticket. I already feel a thousand years old writing this fucking thing.  Seriously, "scratching off a silver film with a coin...." What came next? Reading the bible by candlelight in a log cabin with no running water?

I flirted briefly with baseball cards until I realized that baseball (and sports in general) was way too gay/straight for me. I veered toward the artsfilm, television, music. Any movie marketed to kids/young adults had a wax pack tie-inmovies like Harry and the Hendersons, Howard the Duck, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Even good movies like The Dark Crystal and (Tim Burton's) Batman had their own trading cards! Garbage Pail Kids were huge of course for years. I think I hung on for six to seven series until I was either too disgusted to deal or not disgusted enough to be interested.

I now scour eBay every so often hunting down full, unopened boxes of wax packs. It's amazing how many film/TV shows/wars/etc. had trading cardsGrowing Pains, Rambo, ALF, Operation Desert Storm, Dallas Cowboys Cheerleadersthe list is endless! To this day, there's nothing as satisfying to me as cracking open a classic wax pack and enjoying the magic of staring at small stills with shitty quotes while chewing on some delicious and not at all stale 20-30-year-old chewing gum.

(Hutch Harris is a founding member of The Thermals. The band's new album, the Chris Walla-produced Personal Life, is due out on Kill Rock Stars on September 7th.)



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August 18th 2010

I recently picked up two unopened boxes of Batman Returns wax packs for $5 at a thrift store. I also remember the pac-man cards. Good times.