How Much Would You Pay For A Tuxedo-Wearing Robot Gorilla & His Friends?

Okay, so the guy in this forthcoming documentary is not the guy I know who maxed out his credit card buying a set of Rock-afire Explosion robots from a Showbiz Pizza in Orlando, FL. I just want to clarify that before everyone starts deluging me with questions.

No, the guy I know who maxed out his credit card buying a set of Rock-afire Explosion robots from a Showbiz Pizza in Orlando, FL, is the same guy I know who has a buttload of Mr. T dolls and likes to show them off from time to time. His name is Greg Rivera and, as you can tell, he’s lead a pretty interesting life so far.

To the best of my knowledge/recollection, the Greg Rivera Rock-afire Robot story goes something like this: one day in the late nineties, Greg was trolling eBay searching for more ridiculous toys to add to his vast collection when he came upon an auction for a complete set of the singing, dancing, anthropomorphic animal robots (known collectively as the Rock-afire Explosion) from the Showbiz Pizza in Orlando, FL, where he and I lived. Incidentally, this was the same Showbiz Pizza where part of Parenthood, the Steve Martin movie, was filmed. Anyway, Greg jokingly placed a bid, assuming some hardcore Rock-afire fan would quickly outbid him.

He was wrong. Greg won the auction, which closed just above $5,000. Understandably freaked, I believe Greg applied for a new credit card and used it to make this singular purchase, immediately maxing it out. Suddenly his apartment was crowded with a tuxedo-wearing, keyboard-playing gorilla and his rockin’ animatronic pals. It should be noted the party auctioning these fine pieces of American ingenuity off was the inventor of the Rock-afire Explosion himself. Greg had to go down to the fella’s warehouse to pick his robots up, which was full of the requisite frightening-as-hell cyber-skeletons and copious amounts of fake fur/foam rubber.

After a week or two (or three, maybe—the time frame on this story has never been clear to me), the novelty of owning the Rock-afire Explosion completely wore off. These stupid robots were taking up too much room, Greg thought, so back on eBay they went. My buddy was able to make his money back, which was great. The downside was some kid in Texas bought the fuckin’ things, so Greg had to rent a U-Haul and drive the shits all the way to Houston or El Paso or where ever. The buyer turned out to literally be a kid, too—a teenager who lived with his parents and really had no room either for this expensive pieces of crap. At least they weren’t Greg’s problem anymore.

So what does this story teach us? Don’t bid on eBay unless you really mean it, Orlando is home to a genius other than Wayne Brady, and I keep awesome company. All important lessons.

P.S. – if you think this story is insane, wait until I tell you about the time I drove a minivan full of Mr. T dolls up the Eastern Seaboard with Greg. I almost died like twelve times.

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