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Journal of No. 118

December 9th, 2004

Revolting toys @ 02:00 pm

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So I was shopping for toys for underprivileged kids today. Ordinarily, I'd let the little fuckers live in squalor unrelieved by anything that might divert their minds into more amusing or rewarding avenues, but toys will get us in the door of Kevin's party, since he's trying to assemble a huge pile of toys for Toys for Tots. (Who knew that Toys for Tots was started in Los Angeles, and by the Marines, no less?)

Anyway, I tried to avert my eyes from the dolls as much as possible, but much like the Necronomicon psychically inspires one to peek at the revelations within, my eyes were inexorably drawn toward the universe of Polly Pocket. "From mall-shopping to party-hopping!" barked the box, which contained a plastic Polly with a painted-on swimsuit and a rack of fashionable clothing and accessories. It was surrounded by other boxes of Polly Pocket crap. There was just something subtly horrible about all of it, from the Glamour Lounge to the Par-Tay Bus. Or maybe not so subtly.

Awful in an entirely different way was the Toy Barcode Scanner. Now as far as 'occupational' toys go, I can dig little dumptrucks and workbenches and I can almost see the interest in having toy cash registers - you play with money and numbers. But must we train our younguns to enjoy scanning barcodes? I mean, you see some little tyke using a plastic stethoscope on the family dog, and you can coo somthing inane like, "I bet she's gonna grow up to be a doctor." But how could you bring yourself to say, "The way she scans those barcodes, she'll be a WalMart trainee as soon as she can get a work-permit."

I had to pass by the cheapo microscope, even though that's precisely one of the ideas I had in mind. It had no instructions, which is pretty bad. Nor did it have any nifty samples to work on; how hard can it have been to tear the wings off a butterfly and stick them in the box? But the fatal flaw was the inclusion of a prominently displayed steel scalpel. My own eyes lit up when I saw it, so I hate to think of the mayhem that might result if it were in the hands of a child.
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Date:December 9th, 2004 04:14 pm (UTC)

So what DID you get?

I told Kevin that since you did the shopping, we would probably be enriching the lives of small deprived children with plush Chthulhus or something.

On the barcode scanner, being grownup means having a job, like Mommy or Daddy, and there're plenty of kids whose parents scan barcodes. In fact, society needs a lot of people to scan barcodes, and not everyone can be a doctor or a fireman or something glamorous. Pragmatically, the kids are just preparing themselves for the drab grey life a lot of them will actually lead--give the kid a toy barcode scanner, and he's never going to be disappointed by where he ends up in life. At least it indicates an aspiration to work--worse would be the toy welfare office, the toy foodstamps, or the homeless panhandler doll. To tell the truth, I'm not real thrilled with the toy babies, either. The last thing poverty-stricken little kids should want is to pop out a tyke of their own and perpetuate the cycle.
Date:December 10th, 2004 10:21 am (UTC)

Re: So what DID you get?

The best way to keep kids from playing with toy babies is to tell them where real babies come from. One reading of "Where Did I Come From" ended my baby-doll infatuation immediately - partly because of the horrific physical aspects of pregnancy, but mostly because the process involved boys. -K-

Journal of No. 118