Rise of the Little Toys

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By DeeDee Corbitt Sauter

I hate little toys. The plastic death traps that can be procured at McDonald’s, earned at Chuck E. Cheese or acquired at birthday parties are the bane to my existence, the portent of doom for all mankind.

These loathsome, albeit colorful, pieces of trash have properties of life not yet fully acknowledged by scientists. They propagate. One single plastic car can morph into 4,000 if left unattended on the living room floor overnight. They pulse and push and roll under couches and chairs and jump beneath pillow cushions. They are able to move unassisted and enjoy scurrying under tender morning feet in an attempt to foil the day. Their actions are not defensive; instead they aggressively attempt to destroy people around them with their limited knowledge of human anatomy.

Entire science fiction movies, books and graphic novels are written describing life after computers—which we have endowed with artificial intelligence—have taken over and destroyed modern civilization, making it a dry barren wasteland where the few leftover humans hide, piteously, among the wilds because houses have mysteriously disappeared and we have apparently regressed intellectually and in terms of self-survival. It’s a logical storyline because we are actively trying to create machines that can help complete both mundane tasks and complicated algorithms. In the end, their emotionless logic far exceeds the weaknesses we possess.

No one ever talks about the little toys. They are silent, most don’t even need batteries, and they creep along under the radar until there comes a point when suddenly you notice there are more toys than floor space. No one acknowledges or appreciates the danger they pose. Shoved in corners and piled under beds, they silently multIply.

Most can’t see the insidious way they have started to rule individual households, seemingly not cooperating or
communicating with each other. But, when you step back and examine the big picture, it becomes frighteningly clear they are EVERYWHERE.

These toys are the perfect weapon. Children actually beg for them. Parents, grandparents and people who call themselves friends willingly give these trinkets to the hordes of kids who have actually been known to fight over them. It seems as if we are asking them to take over the world.

Like microbial germs, they are ubiquitous. Where man has been, they have carried the vile scourge of the little plastic toy with him like the rat wearing the plague-infested flea. There are rumors that they can be found on Mount Everest and even the International Space Station.

Where did they originate? No one knows. Some suspect it was a subversive plot initiated by some faraway, foreign land. If it was, they didn’t think this through very well because that just means they will be the first geographic area to lose ground. Literally and figuratively.

In reality, as consistently depicted in those Sci-Fi prophecies, it was probably an accident that was assumed inconsequential. But the ramifications of that one mistake will be our end.

My six-year-old son has an amazing imagination and can’t stop talking. This cacophonous combination sometimes makes you contemplate the end of time and how long its arrival will take.He often discusses vampires, dinosaurs and explosions as if these threats are imminent. He considers his mortality and those around him. His fears peak at night and his dreams are filled with the common monsters seen on TV and acted out on the playground. He also doesn’t see the real dangers lurking in his toy box.

As an adult and parent, I now have the answers about the end of time. Nostradamus and his enigmatic quatrains were not able to predict our ultimate demise. But, I, with my amazing mothering skills, can predict the cause for our inevitable end.

Mankind will not perish under the weight of a giant meteor crash, an alien invasion or even virulent biological warfare. Instead the tiny toys that you find annoying and simply a waste or money and resources will suddenly rise up, reveal their hidden talents and be our undoing.

Don’t believe me? Look around.

What do you see?

DeeDee Corbitt Sauter is a resident of Northern Virginia. Her column, “Tambourines and Elephants,” appears monthly in Prince William Living.


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