By Lenore Skenazy
With the holiday season upon us and tots with their eyes all gosh-darn aglow, it is time to buy toys. This year, some are moving faster than others.
And then there are the ones not moving at all:
Arm-Os: Just like Legos, except shaped like arms. Kind of hard to snap together—and disturbing once you do.
Grown-Up Mutant Ninja Turtles: Still living in a sewer, but now plagued by back problems, wheezing and “shell bunions.” (Don’t ask!)
Coolidge Logs: Modernized Lincoln Logs. But not that modernized.
Spider Farm: Just like an ant farm, but with eight legs.
Bryan Cranston Chemistry Set: “Hey, kids. Clean up that meth you made!”
Tickle Me and I’ll See You In Court, Elmo: A chastened Elmo neither tickles nor accepts tickling. He always has another adult Muppet present and wears a body camera.
Mr. Pot-Head and his wife, Mrs. Pot-Head: Put eyes all over them! Add an upside-down mustache, and how about a hat for a nose? Sooooo funny! Oh my God, like, seriously, that is the funniest thing ever, ever, ever.
Easy Break Oven: Half the price of the Hasbro models.
Barbie’s Over-Mortgaged Dream House: Of course, Barbie’s got a job! She’s got three: Astronaut, pop singer, veterinarian. And she’s still under water. (Ken is AWOL with some Bratz doll.)
Cabbage Patch Cabbage: Better than the old Cabbage Patch Kids, because you can boil these or serve stuffed with ground meat and rice.
Skinky: Wrap these long metal coils around a friend’s wrists. Voila! Homemade handcuffs. Have fun!
Trumby: Bombastic, ginger-haired rubber figurine that will not let any toys from Syria into the playpen.
Ouija Bored: Slightly testy tool for communicating with the dead, often spelling out, “He’s fine. Quit asking.” Or, “She’s busy … for eternity.”
Power-Hungry Rangers: These Rangers roam the Interstate issuing exorbitant traffic tickets for cracked brake lights and failing to signal a lane change.
Payola Crayons: Crayons that will draw anything for you, for a price.
Chutes and Bladders: Get to the bathroom at the top of the board as fast as you can! Hurry!
Bernie Babies: Bernie Babies don’t smile much, but they are earnest, they are angry, and they come with a plush copy of Das Kapital. Bernies are not available for sale—“Unlike our government!” as the Bernie motto goes.
Stomp Drones: One, two, three—stomp! Congratulations, you’ve launched your own personal attack drone. Watch it sail beyond your neighborhood, over the ocean and into the Middle East where who-knows-what mischief it may cause? Time to get out your Nerf Grenade Launcher!
Rubik’s Cubicle: Twist this super-sized toy into a cramped and lonely workspace devoid of hope and cheer. Add a family photo! (But it won’t do any good.)
Barrel of Monks: Now quite as much fun as its predecessor, and a very quiet toy.
Mobbed-Up Chatty Cathy: Cathy isn’t so chatty anymore. In fact, she didn’t see nothin’ and she’s not sayin’ nothin’.
See ’n’ Swear: Pull the string and see someone steal dad’s parking space! What does daddy say now?
Lenore Skenazy is a keynote speaker and author and founder of the book and blog Free-Range Kids.