Plaything of the damned

Every parent has that one toy in the house that they’d put a mob hit on.

For me, it’s called Alphabet Pal. And it’s purple. And chirpy. And a caterpillar. And vile.

For one, it tries to wake up the kids, even when we don’t know it’s on. And it’s been doing this for years. Since 2007. Why do I let it live with me? I’m not really sure.

But every once in a while, it senses a human walking near it and shrieks, “HI! I’M ALPHABET PAL! WANT TO PUNCH ME IN THE FACE?” Well, no, it doesn’t really say that, but that doesn’t mean I really refrain from doing that, either.

The irony — or rather lack of irony — is that we received this gift on The Elder’s first birthday with a note from my father-in-law, instructing The Proto-Elder, “Drive your dad nuts with this.”

But, in fact, it drives us both over the edge. And the batteries just don’t run out.

Someday, both kids will be done with it, and we’ll throw it away. Or recycle it. Or something. We’ll probably never be rid of it, since interpreting our local rules for throwing molded plastic detritus out requires at least a master’s degree in waste management.

So the mob hit may be our only recourse, in the end.—Jillian O’Connor

What toy would you most like to kill?

Regard the vacant stare.

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