Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

…and Stop Stealing Our Toys

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If you’ve seen two of our old Fisher-Price records, please let us know.

You know which ones I mean: the old red, white and yellow wind-up plastic record player that came with six records, each one with a song on each side: Clair de Lune, Jack and Jill, Edelweiss, London Bridge, Humpty Dumpty, etc. The records are in different colors, and get stowed in the side of the unit that has the carrying handle. We seem to be missing the dark blue and one other. Don’t ask me what songs are on them, ’cause I can’t bloody well check right now, can I?

Somehow the things disappeared over the last few months. We’ve cleaned most of the house several times since then – yes, it was traumatic and completely out of character – and nary a sign of them. By itself, such a phenomenon would be merely disturbing; but in the greater context of recent personal effects disappearing, it has become alarming, bordering on crisis.

We bought these great dress shoes for our daughter this summer: brown Mary Jane type, only not patent leather, and with a tasteful little flower in one spot. Gone. Both shoes. She wore them once, I think. It’s possible my brother and his family accidentally took them back to St. Louis a month and a half ago, but what’s more likely is that our darling toddler decided they belonged in the kitchen garbage.

The kitchen garbage, you see, features a spring-mounted panel in its lid, and it can be great fun for a toddler to watch various items disappear into the can’s open-and-shut maw. The great fun is all well and good when we’re talking fallen pasta, bread and other detritus that sits around on the kitchen and dining room floors until someone deigns to sweep them up, but occasionally we must prevent more serious items from going the way of the chicken bones. While the lid keeps the smell in, it also obscures the valuable items that then get buried under further layers of wrappers, foil, plate scrapings, peels, crumbs, egg shells, empty bottles, squashed bugs, skulls of enemies, etc. When we then take the bag out and haul it to the dumpster, no one really wants to sift through the contents to make sure we’re not going to regret the trip.

We suspect this is also what happened to a boot several years ago, as well as these great cookie and chocolate refrigerator magnets. We have only one left now; the whole set of four used to adorn my parents’ fridge back in New York: an Oreo-type cookie, another chocolate-filled sandwich cookie, a Swiss roll and a sectioned bar of chocolate – all real-looking enough for people to do a double take and children to grab and bite. I suppose it’s possible at least one of them got stuck under the fridge and is biding its time, mocking us until such time as we decide to upend the damn thing and have a look, but is that something you do in your spare time? I’m too busy guarding the garbage can anyway.

In fact we gave up keeping magnets on the fridge earlier this year – sometime in April, as I recall. It simply makes no sense to keep them there when they get taken off, kicked around, ripped apart, disposed of or otherwise mistreated. Instead, they live in the big drawer with the big plastic bowl and play the role of soup whenever the little ones get permission to “cook”.

We have quite a collection of fridge magnets, some of them, I’m sure, quite valuable as specimens in an anthropological study. Very few of them did we actually obtain by choice; mostly they appeared in envelopes or stuck to our gate in someone’s idea of advertising: plumbers, electricians, handy men, pizza joints, charities with comically misspelled slogans, etc. The only remotely relevant one is a religious group that decided to provide, in addition to its name and contact info, a prayer for finding missing objects. Well, we’ve tried everything else…

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Written by Thag

December 11, 2010 at 8:45 pm

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