Definitely not the only Son he's had, but one of many Born out metal , ashes and big hair of the 80's.
No, I'm not saying Ol' Optimus Prime was some Sugar Daddy, laying his Oats upon the masses. This is about the many of us, who actually looked to the cartoon as more than weekday afternoon entertainment. Sure it was a blast running home from school throwing your sticky polyester catholic school uniform on the ottoman and hitting the tube armed with a bowl of Booberry.
No matter how silly the show was. You knew one thing. It was Serious to Optimus Prime.
Yes they were 22minute commercials, yes the writing was full of public service announcements.
But He meant every last word of it. He meant them, and I felt them.
He meant business when it came to Decepticons, and showed tolerance and compassion to his subordinates.
His deep graveling voice, was always assertive, but fearsome only his enemies. It was the father we all wished we had. I didn't have the worst family life out there, but it definitely wasn't the best. My father was a kind man, with a big heart, and a lot of dreams, but sadly he was also a weak man. He let Drugs control his life. There was a level of distrust that slowly ate away at the family. It was something I knew was not normal. Things like that had me longing for that sense of comradary displayed by the Elite autobots, and their leader.
Later on in life I would find myself in precarious situations,,. Times where I could've stolen, robbed, or sold drugs. Easy money , easy way outs. I would say to myself, I'm better than this. Learning that the right way almost never meant the easy way. During my retail days, I was considered a brown noser by my coworkers, and my superiors thought I was eyeballing their jobs.. No one ever understood, that there was never any ulterior motive other than me trying to do my best.
While I won't take away from the Ortiz spirit and spunk, alot of that drive is innate There's no denying the inspiration from a certain imaginary figure to keep it going.
A couple of years back I had the opportunity to meet Peter Cullin in person.
There was a convention called CyberCon run by my friend Tony Bacala, who basically said. GET DOWN HERE MAN, I GOT CULLEN!!.. So I grabbed Eric Blak, and off we went.
The Line to Cullen's Signing filled up quickly and the anticipation was building. Is this man, the embodiment of Prime? Is he just some actor going through the motions? What the hell am I doing here? I was feeling silly for a second then I remembered why I was there. I wanted to know, if the way I was living was truly a lie. A delusion I imposed on myself because I had no one else to imprint these values on me. Halfway to the stage I finally get a glimpse of Cullen, who is a rather small compared to his 30 story robot counter-part. He has a huge barrel chest where no doubt his amazing voice emanates from. As my turn slowly approached I noticed a group of kids ahead of me.
The mother could barely control them. When their turn came, they took every advantage they had to milk poor Cullen for all hes worth.
The rule was one signing per poster, per turn.. Sister here, had like 5 posters, and both kids were swinging around Cullen's neck like the gross sticky baboons they were. I watched Cullen's reactions intently .. Here was the moment where Ol' Peter will flip these kids off of him slam down his fountain Pen and yell . " Hooooww Daaare you.. I AM Optimus PRIME"... I was like the Emperor from Star Wars..
I sat there watching going ..' Yessssssss Peter... Shoooow me your Annnger.... '
Show me.. Mister Prime, that I am wrong, to have lived the way I have.. show me, that working smarter, at the sake of others, is always better than working harder.... Show.. me..
Well, He didn't ...
Cullen gave a quick glance over to the people running the convention, and the look they gave him was.." you are on your own Prime, were going back to Cybertron"... So with a big sigh, and a smile and a wink, he Took those pictures. Gave them big hugs, signed all their posters and toys, and kindly sent them on their way.
When It was my turn, I asked him a simple question. I said, "How does it feel? To have all of these people from so many generations, come here.... Just to hear your voice.." He looked up at me, cupped his hand towards his heart, and said " I am humbled by it every time."
It was a lovely sentiment. it was slightly reassuring, but he IS an actor. This real? who knows?
The next day there was a more specific meet and greet with Mr. Cullen.
the convention room was cleared out, and there was only the stage and a row of chairs.
Now I don't know if it was the fact that we were in a temple basement complete with designs of stain glass windows, or the way everyone stood up and repeated what Cullen said, but when he came on Stage, with one arm raised, and in a booming Voice , proclaimed. "Till All Are One" I immediately felt like I slipped into some underground Masonic Cult.
He proceeded to tell us how during the taping of the show, he never got fan mail, or even knew so many people listened to his voice they way they did. He told a heartwarming story of a sick child that never got to personally send him fan art. He explained who were his inspirations, and why he now sees how he has been able to inspire so many. During the Q and A portion someone stood up, and told their story, and how Optimus Prime, with the help of Cullen, inspired him to be on the straight and narrow. It was then that I realized, my story wasn't a unique one. I was so happy to know, my ethics, while still a bit more rigid than the more tolerable , and understanding Prime, was not as unique as I thought.
There is still more to learn from this man. As much as I love to compare myself to him, I still have a tough time with tolerance, and forgiveness. Forgiveness being the toughest trait to master.
I'm hoping it will come with stability and age.
Even to this day, he doesn't fail to Impress me. When Peter Cullen is Prime, he gives his all. From the movie screen, the talking toys, right down to the nintendo DS Screen, He puts in his heart and soul..
It wasn't until a recent interview when Everything I loved about Peter Cullen was further galvanized into my Spirit.
He clearly states he would not have done the role of the movie if they had changed any of Primes characteristic Traits. The Character mean way more to him, and his Fans, than a Paycheck.
I no longer have any doubts in who I am, and never will.
I hope I can leave my mark on the world like that with my MindChamber robot one day, but for now
I am content and Proud to say:
I AM, the Son of Optimus Prime.
and if Cullen should ever happen to grace this Blog, All I can say is.
Stay Strong Pops, cause we love ya.