The Fear Begins Earlier Each Year

It is about this time of year that I begin to have “the fear”. As we approach the holiday, and thusly the gift-buying/excessive consumerism season, I battle with the skin crawling horror that I will, sometime around December 26th, be buried under an avalanche of tiny little plastic things; tiny little plastic things which are “sold separately” but will be purchased for my children en-masse. Please, help me.

I know that it is difficult to tell children that they cannot have something that, at that particular millisecond in time, they truly and terribly want. Trust me; I do it at least three to four times per hour, fifteen hours a day, every day of the week. I have found, though, that if you wait it out, like a craving for a second slice of pie or a second bag of Doritos, it will pass. Do not buy them those little globules of plastic.

My fear was triggered a couple of days ago by the arrival of the Toys R Us Big Book of Tiny Little Things That Will Become Lost in Your Couch and Will Someday, When You Least Expect It, Puncture Your Buttocks Through The Couch Cushion With a Tiny Crown or Little Plastic Foot… or something like that, anyway. I browsed through the hallowed pages, after prying it from my sleeping child’s hand, and was amazed at the new assortment of little animals, people, animal-people and robots that number in the thousands, each of them with their own playsets, vehicles, swimming pools and primary care physicians. When did these things get so TINY? I remember having an assortment of action-figures and cars as a child and they just were not so microscopically SMALL! My G.I. Joe figures would look at some of these things and be all “Damn, that thing is small!” and then they would jump into some slightly futuristic jet and go fight COBRA, because that is what they did when I was a kid. That is all they would do. I’m not kidding. They would comment upon the size of things and then go fight a battle. Seriously, it was kinda weird.

The other issue is that I’m not sure that each faction of little toy people can play together. Can you combine Littlest Pet Shoppers (which are no longer the littlest, by the way) with the Zoobles with some Squinkies and some Widdle Biddle Poopikins? (Okay, I made that last one up. But if they come out with one hundred little Poopikins and the Poopikin Play Castle, I want my monies, yo.) I’m sure their accessories and playsets aren’t compatible, because that’s how toy companies roll, but maybe just a couple of google-eyed puppies could come over to play with the robot penguin and miniature giraffe? It could happen, right? Right?

You know what? The next raving lunatic you see on the street going on about Batman and how Rainbow Brite is breaking up the unions is not crazy; he just finished looking at the Toys R Us catalog with his kid. Now, the person pestering you to sign some petition… Yeah, they are crazy. That crap never changed anything.