May 18, 2011

Copley & Dickson, Imaginary Detectives

Sally is Mia's imaginary friend. Or, more accurately, her imaginary daughter. She has several imaginary kids. We've lost count. Sally visited the other night - home from college, apparently - and announced that she was getting married. Of course, being the proud imaginary parent (or grandparent) to an indeterminate number of imaginary children (or grandchildren), I asked Mia all about Sally's fiancee.

Me: What does he do for a living?
Mia: He's a teacher.
Me: Oh, that's nice. And where does he live?
Mia: With Sally, of course. At college. In Detroit.
Me: Are he and Sally considering children?
Mia: Dad, Sally is my imaginary friend. I don't know if they're having kids. I just like having imaginary friends because it's fun. Stop asking so many questions.
Me: Oh. Okay. Imaginary friends are cool. Sorry for asking questions.
Mia: Didn't you ever have any imaginary friends?
Me: No, I didn't have imaginary friends. But I did have an imaginary detective agency...

...I was John Copley and my friend Brent was John Dickson. Together, we were Copley & Dickson, like some lame, gumshoe version of the Wonder Twins. We had badges, carried briefcases, enjoyed riding our bikes to office supply stores and kept the citizens of our fair city safe from crime. Our corporate headquarters was a building a hundred stories tall with a vast underground complex that held a subterranean train system which carried us to and from our suburban mansion. We were hip, suburban men who apparently lived together. And occasionally, we'd team up with Charlie's Angels and to bring down a perp. We had business cards, Dickson's were blue, mine were silver. We started a band that sounded remarkably like The Who though we only had imaginary instruments so we smashed fake instruments to bits at the end of our set. Crowds went nuts. Mostly, though, we sat in a poorly ventilated closet on the second floor of my childhood home and dreamed up cases and novel ways of solving them.

Did you have any imaginary friends? What was your go-to imaginary game? I bet it didn't involve carrying a briefcase at age 10.

Posted by Chris at May 18, 2011 7:12 AM

I don't think I had any imaginary friends growing up, but I had a highly active (over-active if you were to ask my mom) imagination.

I loved playing pioneer in the woods behind our house. Fallen down trees became the remains of log cabins. There were snapping turtles and big poisonous snakes in the streams and ponds back there. I wanted to be Laura Ingalls.

Posted by: Elizabeth at May 18, 2011 7:46 AM

When I was 5 Ihad an imaginary pet white lion. Hello mom and dad, maybe you should have let me keep that kitten?

Our imaginary game was always Charlies Angels. While my friends fought over who would be Farah and Jacklyn, I always wanted to be Kate Jackson's Sabrina, because she had the coolest name and was the smart one :)

I had another friend whose parents owned a ar and we were allowed to play in the empty apartment above it. We always played Electra Woman and Dyna Girl- anyone remember that show? Dierdre Evans in her pre-DOOL was one of those weird Sid and Marty Kroft 70's shows...

Posted by: Lisa at May 18, 2011 7:55 AM

My imaginary friend's name was Phillip. He sat next to me in school all the time. And if you sat on him, I got pissed. Though... this is when a bunch of kids in my dance studio were in 6th-7th grade, and we all decided it would be "cool" to have imaginary friends. ... Yeah.

Other than that? My best friend and I use to play house while riding our bikes. We had a strip of sidewalk about 5 houses long we were allowed to ride up and down, and we would pick trees that would be our house. We would jump on our bikes and ride around, then take a nap in our house. Or we would knock on each others "doors." We stopped that when a homeless guy walked down our street and started talking to us about sleeping under trees...

Posted by: Kim at May 18, 2011 8:12 AM

According to my mother I had a whole fleet of imaginary friends when I was 2-3 years old. They all had names and I would happily list them on demand along with each one's current adventures.

My mom slammed the car door on one of them (who was slow climbing in that day apparently) and I sobbed as if my heart would break.

Yeah...good times. :-)

Posted by: leslie at May 18, 2011 8:26 AM

My imaginary friend lived on a hidden valley ranch in Montana. I can't recall how it got started except that Montana was far, far away from Ohio and that suited me just fine at the time. As you can imagine, my imaginary friend and all of his ranch hands ate a LOT of salads with delicious dressings.

Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' at May 18, 2011 9:31 AM

I liked playing house. And yes, there was a briefcase involved. A plastic one, which I loved.

Posted by: Brad at May 18, 2011 9:34 AM

Weirdly, this post reminded me of a game I used to play when I was a kid. I was the kid on our small crescent that usually was ganged up on by the other kids, and so I spent a lot of time shunned and entertaining myself. You made me think of a game I created wherein I had a fake gun (I think it was actually a metal clip used to hold plastic table cloths to plastic outdoor lawn furniture), and the goal was to circumnavigate our crescent without being seen. The idea was that if I saw anyone, I could shoot them, and then they were 'dead' and it didn't matter if they saw me. If, however, I ever caught someone looking at me before I could shoot them, I was the one eliminated and I lost the game. Strange memory. If I recall correctly, I used names for places and things pilfered from that Gatchaman import "Battle Of The Planets". I called our crescent "Spectra" and used a 'pistol'. The other kids thought I was nuts when I told them... I guess I brought my ostricization on myself.

Posted by: Martin at May 18, 2011 10:06 AM

That is just ADORABLE, all of it. My imaginary friends were Cathy and Timmy. We'd drive around town together going shopping (I loved to pretend I had a car), and sometimes we'd have discussions about books.

Posted by: Fraulein N at May 18, 2011 11:18 AM

Cindy from the Brady Bunch was my imaginary friend. She lived out on our swingset and I would spend hours every evening on the swing talking to her. She either got sold with the swingset or went away when the show fell out of rotation on the three channels our family had on the TV.

Posted by: Procrastamom at May 18, 2011 1:16 PM

I used to have a whole gang of imaginary friends that I visited in the bathroom of the VFW - my grandparents took us to the Friday night Fish Fry quite often and I was usually the only kid there. I don't recall too many details about my friends but I believe it started with two large dogs (think St. Bernards) who eventually had a litter of puppies. I had names for all of them and even documented them at one point along with hand drawn pictures.

Posted by: Mary at May 18, 2011 1:55 PM

Though I did not have any imaginary friends I found myself aboard the Millennium Falcon more often than not pretending I had two buns on each side of my head. We used to build the ship in the garage out of bar-stools and blankets and we had a radio up front near the steering wheel. It was a radio/tape deck and if a cool song came on we would record it. 1982......Now I feel very old and very uncool

Posted by: Shannon at May 18, 2011 5:55 PM

My twin and I used to share an imaginery friend called Sandy who would be the third wheel in all our games.

Posted by: Aurelia at May 19, 2011 5:45 AM

I really didn't have any imaginary friends but, and I am really dating myself here, used to pretend I was a backup singer for Tony Orlando. That's right....I wanted to be a member of Dawn. I would sing along with this record and make up my own choreography.

Okay, now I need to go sit in a corner and rock.......

Posted by: kali at May 19, 2011 10:14 AM