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A toy that had to go

Submitted by on Sunday, 1 June 2008 No Comment

Originally published April 3, 2007, thehive.modbee.com

I killed a toy tonight, just for the pure pleasure of seeing it die.

It wasn’t my first toyicide, but it’s the first I won’t be able to get out of on an insanity plea.

I don’t advocate senseless violence against toys. As a character witness, I’ll call the drums that two (former) friends bought Big Guy for Christmas. I tolerate the drums, because they have some redeeming value, no matter how high they push my Tylenol tab.

Not so Ready Freddie,  a “learning robot” with a chirpy voice, maniacal plastic grin, touchpad belly and cell phone.

“Hi! I’m Ready Freddy! Do you want to (pause as toy brain processes) tie my shoe?”

No, but I would love to tear you limb from plastic limb.

He came to our home a hand-me-down from a parent no doubt eager to rid herself of the problem but lacking the guts to put Freddie out of my misery. His vile nature was quickly apparent.

For one, he was so touchy that people walking a block away could set off an electronic outburst. I can’t count the times I nearly jumped out of my skin when Big Guy’s toy box shifted during the night and something bumped Freddie, triggering a tirade.

For another, his batteries never had the decency to die. Instead, they’d slowly wear down, leaving me to suffer through weeks of ever-slowing electronic drawl. Once, and only once in a year and a half, did I manage to get him to shut down completely.  I was this close to “good riddance   when someone was kind enough to put in fresh batteries one day while I was at work, before I’d had the chance to send Freddie curb-ward.

About a month later, I did the deed. Snuck him out to the garbage can at night and buried him there. He’s probably a mile or so underground now, still squawking.

Today’s victim, though, started out as such a nice toy. Two toys, actually – a set of remote-control monster trucks, a birthday gift last year to Big Guy. It worked perfectly in the beginning – one for each kid. The remotes were tethered to the cars, so there was no “losing the control” issue. Big Guy loved to race them, and Little Guy spent many hours trying to figure out the remote.

But a few months back, the Ford disappeared. I thought the Chevy was gone, too, until Big Guy found it in the bottom of his closet Sunday. He brought it out, and the death match started.

This was no garden-variety covetousness — this was red-eyed rage and obsession. And there was no stopping it. The timer trick didn’t work – the odd kid out would squawk during the entire five minutes the other had it, and both squawked at the changeover. If one caught the other putting it down, they’d both scratch and crawl to get it. When they came to blows over it this afternoon, I knew the end was near.

Miraculously, they left it lying in the kitchen when they went to bed. I was a little sad, remembering all the fun they’d had with the little truck. But then I flashed back to the day’s body blows and knew what I had to do.

As I ripped the remote from the truck, I have to admit, it felt kind of good.

Copyright 2007 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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