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Friday, March 24, 2017



     I'd like to take this opportunity to remind you that my birthday is on Christmas, and there are only three more shopping days left (you can shop online and have my gift shipped next-day air). Hopefully Santa and his helpers have been working on my list. The elves have to be pretty highly-skilled labor these days, it's not like they can just nail together some wooden cars anymore. They probably had to re-train, learn some computer code, and bone up on some special skills like working with robotics and 3-D printers. Kids are more sophisticated now, and if they don't get a Hatchimal they are going to trash your house, and who knows what else they are capable of.

     If you just woke up from a coma and need to do some holiday shopping for your kids, you are in for a rude awakening, which is probably how you got out of the coma. Things are different now. I have in front of me a modern toy catalog, and it's adorable, and somewhat frightening.

     First of all, if your baby is just sitting in a corner drooling on the floor, it's wasting valuable time when it should be learning something. There are plenty of toys out there that will challenge your infant's mind and help get a jump on pre-K physics. A pipSquigz will let your youngster "interact with exciting textures and rattle sounds," possibly against its better judgment. A Wimzle offers a "cluster of spinning, sliding orbs." All this is going to make your kid a star in school, and leave the other loser toddlers toddling around in the dust.

     When I was a kid I was quite the Civil War buff, and all I wanted for Christmas was a big set of toy soldiers with cannons and horses, so I could re-enact some pivotal battles, substituting some of my teachers. I was learning in my own slow way. I learned that war could break out at any time, even in the den. But I was far behind in exciting textures and rattle sounds.

     Secondly, there are no more gender-specific toys. There is a pink dump truck, for instance, to encourage young girls to consider a lucrative career in manual labor. If your boy wants to groom and bathe a plastic pony, it's all good, as long as he's happy, and the pony is happy.

     Thirdly, you should consider that no matter what you buy for Christmas, your kid is going to put it in his mouth. You could buy him a new car, and your kid will try to eat it. So make sure your gift is not in poor taste.

     There are a lot of ideas that can backfire on you. Buy your little urchin a Pop Pop Piano or a Super Saxoflute, and give the gift of music! Who knows, he may become the next Kanye West! Are you sure that's what you really want? Is your kid the outdoorsy type? Get her a Dueling Stomp Rocket, and watch as she launches a rocket 200 feet into the air, or three feet into your face, whichever comes first.

     I do believe that most parents love their children, and don't want any harm to come to them, maybe a little. But secretly, in that dark place that parents hold close to themselves, the thought must occur to them to buy their kid a hoverboard, a Galaxy 7 and a fire extinguisher for Christmas.

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