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Examiner
  • Jason Offutt: Toys and tots equal trouble

  • The Girl bounded into the living room. I think that’s the only way a kindergartener knows to enter a room.

    The main dangers when the Girl shows up are: 1) physical, mostly involving elbows and knees (I still haven’t bought that protective cup), and 2) mental, meaning whatever might come out of her mouth. We never know. Ever.

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  • The Girl bounded into the living room. I think that’s the only way a kindergartener knows to enter a room.
    The main dangers when the Girl shows up are: 1) physical, mostly involving elbows and knees (I still haven’t bought that protective cup), and 2) mental, meaning whatever might come out of her mouth. We never know. Ever. She’s less predictable than a squirrel dodging a moving car.
    The Girl bounced into her mother’s lap. Whew.
    “Will you buy me a CuddleUppet?” she asked, her voice rising near the end. She was awfully happy about the prospect of owning whatever this thing was, if it existed at all. Sometimes one of her personalities is a pink Chihuahua named Hippy Rose Wonderful, so we’re always guessing at what’s real and what’s in her head.
    “What’s a CuddleUppet?” my wife asked, and, the Girl told her. It’s a blanket with a stuffed animal head that doubles as a puppet.
    “That’s why they call it cuddle-uppet,” she said, like we couldn’t figure it out on our own. Well, actually I couldn’t.
    I’d seen one before, in the mess of flashy, colorful, jingle-filled commercials played during cartoons.
    When the American Association of Advertising Agencies formed in the early 1900s, one of their rules of conduct was don’t advertise directly to children, which possibly lasted all of two minutes.
    Children’s commercials that sometimes cause convulsions in adults are mesmerizing to people younger than 8 and advertise items children lose interest in after about a week.
    And the Girl wanted them all, like Stompeez, animal shaped slippers that’s ears flop when the child walks.
    “Didn’t you want something else?” my wife asked.
    “The Dream Lite,” the Girl said. Ah, yes, the Dream Lite. A stuffed animal that doubles as a nightlight.
    Toys have changed a lot over the decades. Sure, when I was a kid there were toy commercials, but since we only had cartoons on Saturday mornings and after school instead of 24 hours a day (for children with insomnia), the commercials were for toys that lasted longer than Stompeez, which are tossed into the trash the first time a child steps into whatever the dog just did. Those old toys weren’t, well, you know, crap.
    Like G.I. Joe. G.I. Joe was a cool toy, recently named the “toy of the century” by the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. For years Joe battled the Communists, Nazis and sometimes Klingons that inhabited our house. And, despite my older sisters’ insistence, his guns and Bowie knives were not accessories. Anything that can kill the enemy is a weapon. I quickly realized this also includes many of Barbie’s stiletto-heeled shoes. I respected her for that.
    Page 2 of 2 - “We’re not getting a CuddleUppet today,” my wife said, and continued quickly, before the Girl could get in a word. “Or a Stompeez, or a Dream Lite.”
    Then it came to me. If these toys find their way into the trash, why not turn trash into toys? I could reach into the garbage bin, cram whatever I find onto a stick, and maybe glue on some googly eyes.
    We can call it Trashy Pet. I can hear the jingle in my head.
    “It’s trashy,
    “it’s a pet,
    “it’s a Trashy Pet.”
    We’ll make millions.
    Follow Jason Offutt on Twitter @TheJasonOffutt.
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