Friday, July 1, 2011

Damn you, Fisher-Price

Last night my wife and I went out to dinner to celebrate our wedding anniversary. I mentioned earlier this week that the actual date fell on Monday, but my wife had the misfortune of picking up some kind of stomach bug last weekend and as of Monday evening still wasn’t feeling up for any kind of outing. But we did want to make the most of the hypothetical opportunities provided by my mother’s continued presence in our home before she leaves (early tomorrow morning), and we settled on Thursday as the best rescheduling option (mainly because Thursday is my wife’s day off, and when she works she rarely gets home before 9 p.m. and then too exhausted for anything approaching social gallivanting).

So we finally got a chance to check out for ourselves a local joint that came recommended from several people who have lived in our town far longer than our eighteen months (so far). It’s a Mexican restaurant, but also offers Spanish-style food, including both Spanish and Mexican influenced tapas. That (plus the obligatory presence of Mexican beer) made a pretty compelling case, and we ended up splitting half a dozen tapas dishes from both sides of the menu. The food was tasty but the kitchen was lamentably slow, although our waitress did explain that they were simultaneously preparing the catering for a large wedding, so at least it wasn’t entirely unacknowledged. (The waitress also brought us a second helping of the chips and salsa verde gratis while we waited, and that salsa verde was muy ridiculoso.)

I had honestly believed, in the days and weeks immediately following our exchange of vows, that there was a very good chance I would take my wife back to Hawaii to celebrate our fifth anniversary, and possibly every five-year interval thereafter (because Hawaii is awesome). Of course, if anyone had asked, I also would have said there was a very good chance my wife and I would have (at least!) two kids by the time we had been married five years, too. And the inherent contradiction in those two beliefs never really occurred to me. But needless to say we have both made peace with scaling things like adventurous travel way, way back for the time being. (But I’ve got my eye on 2016, oh yes I have.)

Speaking of the children, I was pretty proud of my wife and myself for largely confining our dinner conversation to subject matter other than our children. But of course reality intrudes as it must and my wife mentioned that we were running low on some things which needed replacing sooner rather than later and would be easiest found at the local Babies R Us. So once we had finished enjoying our meal we got in the car and drove across town to the store in question. In our town, the Babies R Us is actually a department that takes up maybe 30 to 40% of the floorspace of the Toys R Us. Much as I love windowshopping at Toys R Us I sincerely had no intention of doing so last night, and I thought I had a good strategy to ward against it. I dropped my wife off at the door and she went in while I parked the car. The Babies R Us is of course in the back corner of the store, so I hustled to catch up with her, thus preventing myself from lingering too long over the ninja and alien Legos displays. Once I helped my wife locate the supplies I led the way back to the checkout lanes, and I did so by cutting through some of the smaller aisles rather than following the major thoroughfare of the store, because that latter path goes right past the action figures and such aimed at adolescent boys (and the adolescent-minded like me).

I thought my bushwhacking approach was safer because it would only expose me to the toys for the pre-school set, which of course I find cut but I tend not to get all hypnotized by. Until I saw this on a shelf at my exact eye level:

Shoot, I should buy four or five and give them to children's hospitals and such, so that the merchandising numbers make a GL movie sequel more likely.
COME ON. I knew that Fisher-Price’s Imaginext line had made a Green Lantern toy, because I bought it for the little guy well in advance of his second birthday. I figured if daddy has a bunch of GL action figures, the little guy might as well have his own age-appropriate version as well. But now there’s a whole age-appropriate playset (including a couple of alien Green Lanterns and clearly yes I recognize them from the comics) for him, but no equivalent for me? I am not proud of this but I do admit it, I am more than a little envious of this development. And while my little guy likes playing with his Green Lantern sometimes, he’s nowhere near as enamored of it as he is of his Pixar Cars and Thomas and Friends and so on. Which means if I were to buy the Imaginext Deluxe Planet Oa and wrap it up and present it to my son on his third birthday, it would be stunningly transparent that I had really bought it for myself. (The little guy has already requested that we get him some Chuggington trains for his birthday, anyway.)

So yeah. Killing me, Fisher-Price. Killing. Me.

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