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‘Learning laptop’ doesn’t teach the guys much

Submitted by on Monday, 29 September 2008 No Comment
Little Guy enjoys a rare quiet moment with the latest electronic nuisance.

Little Guy enjoys a rare quiet moment with the latest electronic nuisance.

America’s Least Wanted

The suspect: Vtech Learning Laptop

Description: Orange enough to be nauseate to a University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Offense: General uselessness and inciting riots. Violating 10th Amendment mom’s rights provisions that make it clear humans possess education powers to the exclusion of machines.

Welcome to the latest installment of “the toy that has to go.”

Admittedly, it’s not nearly as obnoxious as the police car from hell. I’m pleased to report that that toy lasted less than a month before the guys smashed it to smithereens. The sound still worked, though — the siren wailed all the way to the garbage can. I was afraid the guys would wake up and perform a rescue mission.

My conspiracy theory is becoming far stronger than a theory, though. The laptop, you see, came from the same person kind enough to send Ready Freddie, the “learning robot,” to tear asunder our happy home a few years ago. It’s not paranoia if they really are out to get you.

Ready Freddie and the computer have a lot in common. Both are designed to make parents feel good about overspending for a computer chip encased in colorful plastic, because it’s a “learning toy.”

Big Guy learned a lot from Ready Freddie, all right. He learned how to run screaming into my room in the wee hours after a midnight shift in the toy box set off Ready Freddie’s electronic chirp. His electronic pal never succeeded in teaching him to snap his pants or identify numbers, though. Actually humans helped with those accomplishment.

Both guys have learned a lot from the laptop in one short day.

They’ve learned that all rules of civilized conduct fly out the window when a brightly colored, noisy toy walks through the door. They’ve learned to grab, push, pull and shove because the concept of taking turns is forgotten in the face of a novel plaything.

They’ve also learned that the laptop really isn’t much fun. They’ll tap intently at the keyboard for five minutes max, Little Guy “doing his work” and Big Guy running an airline and checking for ticket availability, before boredom sets in.

But the second someone sets it down, the other immediately wants it.

I’m thinking of digging out my college copy of “Leviathan” tomorrow. Maybe a little reading about life that’s “nasty, brutal and short” would be just the human-induced education needed to counteract the machine.

At least the laptop’s volume is a few decibels lower than the car. Or maybe I can’t hear it over the guys’ caterwauling.

There was an encouraging sign before bedtime, when the laptop wouldn’t power up. Maybe its last hard thump on the ceramic tile did it in — I swear I didn’t do it.

Or maybe I lucked out, despite all the evil toy deeds that keep coming my way.

Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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