We all have friends. Some have more than others. Some have friends you just get to relax and hang out with. Some of us have friends who are only friends when they need something. Then we have the friends who are bad influences......lets call those friends "Bob."
Less than a year ago, while minding my own business, Bob says "Hey man, you should buy a pinball machine." Which I replied "Yeah? Sounds cool.....it would be fun to have one. Find me one for $500 and I'm in!" We were always talking about things that nobody else cared about.....vinyl records, old motorcycles, BMX bikes, vintage stereo equipment, and now pinball machines. All of these things which I love, minus the BMX thing. I assume like me, a lot of the people on Pinside were born too late in history. Think of the things our parents and grandparents got to see invented; real music, cars with metal bumpers, non-cookie cutter motorcycles, phones with cords, the list goes on and on.
The search for a pinball bargain began. Bob sent me text after text with pins for sale. None in my price range.....which we all know was a little low for the pinball world we currently live in. I was amazed at the availability of pins in the big metro areas....problem is we live in ND. Not a lot of pins for sale in central ND! Minneapolis, Denver, Chicago.....had tons of them. Bob eventually found himself a deal on a 1986 Bally Motordome and a 1981 Bally Eightball deluxe and we road tripped out west to pick them up. We arrived at the address given to us. Now, over the years I've been to some pretty sketchy places to buy records, bikes and other crap, and each time I would text someone the address and a picture of the house/building in case I never return home. A few times I figured I was destined to be locked in some psycho's basement or thrown in some killers freezer. This place although, was a decent looking trailer house in an average trailer park. We were not overly concerned until the owner came out wearing pajama pants, flip flops and no shirt....at about 2:00 in the afternoon. The trailer was home to a long hair single dude, a humongous dog, an amazing flying V guitar collection and endless marijuana related items. He had about 8 pins shoved in his kitchen. The smell was painful. We paid the man, loaded the pins, and got the hell out of there. He never did offer us any weed which I thought was strange for a guy with so much weed stuff.....not a very 'weed like' thing to do....oh well. We laughed on the way home about the whole situation and agreed that we would be OK with dying over pins and vinyl!
After playing Motordome in Bobs garage, I was hooked. I needed one. I wanted one so bad I could taste it. He eventually did some horse trading with his Motordome and somehow ended up with a 1990 Williams Whirlwind. Good trade. The search for me continued. I was forced to raise my spending limit as my interest grew. I found myself wanting anything I could find in my price range. I was advised by Bob and other pin heads that I needed to be patient and the right one would come along, kinda like girlfriends in high school. Bob finally found me a candidate: a 1986 Williams High Speed. I drove 5 hours to buy a game I've never seen, played or even really knew anything about. Best. Decision. Ever.
I have a tendency to over do things. I go all in. Sometimes a little on the crazy side. I've since taken some super long journeys in the search of a good deal or a pin I just had to have. But, I'm OK with it. Some people fish and hunt....we all know what a waste of time and money that is! Anybody who plays or collects pinball machines will attest to the addictiveness of them. I thought my desire for vinyl records was bad....my desire for pins is worse. Maybe it's because they are harder to find or how different each game is from one another. Bob always says "That's a phat game" no matter what game he is talking about. You can always find something super cool and original with each game you play. I am up to only 7 machines, but have no real thought of stopping, even though I constantly say I am done buying them. It could be worse, I could collect beanie babies or stamps.