Monday, June 20, 2011

The Tragic Tale of Mold-A-Rama Lincoln

Joe and I went up to the Sears--GAH! WILLIS!!--Tower on Saturday. This is his last weekend in Chicago before he moves to San Fran for the next four months, and he's never been up to the top of the Sears--WILLIS!--Tower. So we decided it would be a fun, quick touristy thing to do. We actually live only a few blocks away, so it was a fast walk. And it was really cool to be able to look at the place you live from up above. Turns out Target is shaped weirdly.

Since I've last been there, they've added these glass boxes that jut out on the west side of the building, so you can basically step out and be 5/6 suspended in mid-air. When I first heard about it, I swore to the high heavens that I would absolutely 100% never go.

Sigh. Here I am, giving in to the peer pressure.

Once we circled the top and went back down, we walked through a bunch of touristy things. Mugs, snowglobes, we walked past them all. But then! *Fanfare music* Photo booths, penny-flattening machines and two, COUNT EM, TWO Mold-A-Rama machines.

For those who do not know about the majesty that is Mold-A-Rama, here's the deal: they're these retro-looking things that make wax figurines. The only other place I can remember seeing them is at the zoo. Near the dolphins, you can get a dolphin. Bears, bears. Rhinos, rhinos. Etc etc, ditto ditto, and so on and so forth.

Here's an example of another one I found on Google.

Up in the top left they show you what the figurine would look like. Then there under the glass is the mechanism: two halves of the mold, which come together and fill with wax after you put the money in. After a minute, the mold is done, and a little arm comes down and pushes it down into the hole where you can get it, vending-machine style.

Well. I got pretty excited about this particular mold, a bright blue Abraham Lincoln with "The Land Of Lincoln" written underneath. It just sounded so kitch, I couldn't resist. Here's what he would look like.

Joe put in the $2 it costs, the two metal arms came together as they should, we heard the noise of the mold coming in, aaaaaannnnnd something weird happened.

Blue wax started dripping out the bottom.

Now, I have a pretty bad memory, but I've also made my way around a Mold-A-Rama before. And I couldn't remember ever seeing the wax come out the bottom of the mold. Confused but hopeful, we waited for the mold to open so we could see what would happen.

Abe was there, all right. But it looked like the mold had filled with twice the amount of wax, and it had plastered him to the bottom. The little arm came out and tried to shove him into the hole (ooer) but only got him slightly loose, thus moving him off his track but not far enough for him to drop.

I'm a true Illinoisian so I have to say, it's the first time I've ever been disappointed in Abraham Lincoln.

Refusing to give up hope, I sent Joe to get help as I stood guarding Honest Abe. I had to explain to quite a few tourists why it was broken and why I was keeping them from attempting to get their own.

Joe came back with some 20-something ticket vendor kind of guy. The guy scratched his head, shook the machine (genius thinking at its best with this one) and confirmed what I said, he'd have to call the Mold-A-Rama people and they'd refund us our $2.

NO! NO. This was simply not good enough. I was invested in my Abe now. I wanted my mold. At the very least, I wanted to see the machine squish my Abe and remelt it and see what happens, because I think melted wax is ever-entertaining. (I'm often called a pyro because I play with lit candles all the time, but it's not actually because I like fire. I fear fire, unless Tom Hanks is stranded on a deserted island and desperate to create it. [Oh my God, Wilson.][Oh my God did anyone else see Bridesmaids where Kristen Wiig is watching Castaway and it's only about 5 seconds long but it's the part where he realizes Wilson is gone and he's sobbing and screaming "I'M SORRY WILSON!" and Kristen Wiig is crying and I'M crying because I remember that part in the movie VIVIDLY and it is seriously more heartbreaking than when actual PEOPLE die in movies and you just want to cradle Dirty Tom Hanks in your arms, even though technically you are watching Bridesmaids and then you remember how every time you see that part in Love Actually where Liam Neeson watches Titanic, they play it for just long enough that you forget you're watching Love Actually and when they stop it you get really upset because you were kind of getting into the scene and you kind of just want to watch Titanic now?])

Whoah. Where am I?

Oh, right. So Lincoln is off-kilter and I wanted to know what would happen if we put in two more dollars. I'm not going to lie, I was really hoping for doubled up, conjoined twin Lincoln. So we asked the guy if we could do it and see what would happen. Of course this guy wasn't about to say no. He was two bakes past half-baked. He said he'd turn his back.

So we put in the money, and of course what happened was this:

The already formed figure was keeping the two sides of the mold from coming together, thus none of the wax stayed in the mold and it all started dripping everywhere. When it opened, it looked like this:

"NO! NO! OH MY GOD, LINCOLN!! WHAT HAVE I DONE? Joe, we need to go. No, we need to get out of here right now. Run. Leave the money, I WILL NOT STAND AROUND AND BE FORCED TO PAY FOR A BROKEN MOLD-A-RAMA MACHINE."

We left the Sears--SCREW IT. SEARS.--Tower with nothing more than a flattened penny and a shamed look.


Liketohike said...

Oh, nooooo! Lincoln! I am very impressed that you went out on the ledge. One of my students used the slowly-back-on technique, which worked quite well for him.

Dad said...

So now that Sears is moving out of town, will we eventually start calling it the "Whatchutalkin'bout Willis Tower? Nah...

When I grow up, I want to be the Mold-o-Rama repairman who drives around in the Mold-O-Ramamobile until he gets the desperate phone call which triggers him into action, traveling anywhere across the globe with his trusty little heatstick thingy which melts all the wax off the machine, and returns it to original mode, where it can once again satisfy all the little children of the world...

korinthia said...

Ha! I love this. We collect Mold-A-Ramas and got our Lincoln and Willis/Sears Tower figures this weekend. My son's Lincoln befell tragedy when his sister sat on it and snapped off his feet. But nothing like your crazy gloopy Lincoln! Thanks for making me laugh today.