Today’s hot gifts, tomorrow’s rummage sale

(MR. POTATO HEAD and TICKLE ME ELMO are sitting in a sports bar off Herald Square, getting drunk.)

Tickle Me Elmo (Fisher Price/Getty Images) ELMO: You smart! You said Elmo would be unhappy, and Elmo is unhappy.

HEAD: Of course I’m smart. I’m smarter than you, which is admittedly a low bar, and I am also much older than you. (Head takes a long, noisy slurp from his glass.) When I tell you that you’re headed for a fall, you should believe me.

ELMO: Elmo does believe you! Elmo take big fall. Elmo hit bottom big time!

HEAD: Don’t take it too hard. I’ve seen it happen before, plenty.

ELMO (despondently): Elmo doesn’t understand. Doesn’t anybody like Elmo anymore?

HEAD: They’d like you if they knew you, kid, but you’ve fallen off the toy radar. Frankly, I’m surprised you were such a hit in the first place. What’s that thing you do? You get tickled?

ELMO: Elmo laughs! Elmo laughs and laughs and laughs.

HEAD: You’re not laughing now.

ELMO: No. Elmo not laugh now. Elmo never laugh now.

Mr. Potato Head. (Tom Reed / AP) HEAD: Same thing happened to me, you know. Same exact thing. I was the holiday gift that people were desperate for, once. Except back then we were called Christmas gifts, not holiday gifts, and shopping wasn’t the mob scene you see these days. The worst that ever happened was that people got disappointed. If they couldn’t get a toy in time for Christmas, they learned to live with it. Or without it.

ELMO: That what Elmo don’t understand. People loved Elmo. People get hurt for Elmo. People bleed for Elmo because so many people want to tickle Elmo and hear Elmo laugh.

HEAD: You’re proud of that? I think it’s disgusting. Makes me want to tear my eyes and ears off.

ELMO: Everything OK! Some mommies and daddies go to hospital, is all. Nobody die.

HEAD: Hey, Bartender! You want to put a head on this, please? (To Elmo:) You know what’s funny? I’ll tell you what’s funny. The cuter the toy, the uglier the mob that wants it. I was never cute, I know that. And it’s fine.

ELMO: But Elmo think Mr. Potato Head is beautiful!

HEAD: Stop it. I told you, I don’t need to be cute. I’m 60 years old, for crying in a bucket.

ELMO: Sixty-two, Elmo think.

HEAD: Fine, then 62. Say, while we’re talking about birthdays and families of origin, you might be interested to know that you’ve got brothers and sisters you never met. That you never even knew about.

Elmo: Elmo is an only child. Elmo all alone in life.

HEAD: Think so? Google “Tickle Me Tasmanian Devil” and see for yourself. As I was saying: It’s the cute ones that cause the riots. The Cabbage Patch Kids were like crack to the Black Friday crowd. Beanie Babies turned dads into thugs and moms into marauders. Zhu Zhu Pets and Furby were even worse.

ELMO: Elmo love Furby!

HEAD: Figures. Listen, kid, take my word for it. Plush toys, cute toys, they were a fad. They’ve had their day, just like I had mine. From here on out, it’s going to be all computers, all the time. Everybody gets a PlayStation, and nobody gets hurt. But the worst part of all is that whatever you are, you’re on your way out. This year’s hot toy is next year’s junk.

(From outside, the sound of an approaching parade starts up.)

ELMO: Mr. Potato Head! Mr. Potato Head! Elmo can hear the parade! Elmo has to go!

HEAD: Parade? Oh, yeah. Macy’s. About as entertaining as a game of Pong.

ELMO: Elmo go now!

HEAD: OK, kid, run along.

(ELMO leaves. HEAD stares into his drink.)

HEAD: I wonder how I could get my hands on a Pet Rock.

The Elmo balloon makes it’s way down J.F.K. Boulevard during the 93rd annual Thanksgiving day parade, Nov. 22, 2012, in Philadelphia. (Joseph Kaczmarek / AP)
  • Jane

    sigh……. Mr. Potato Head is in pieces, in a box in the basement; Tickle Me Elmo, nearby, batteries long since removed. The 32 and 29 year old ex owners have not been by to reclaim them.

  • John

    Potato head has a lot more staying power than Elmo. You can actually play with the potato. After you poke Elmo in the gut a few times, he pretty much loses all appeal. (Actually, well before then).

    Jane- hang onto those just in case. My kids love my old toys when they visit Grandma’s house.

  • tboom

    The toy I just had to have: Mr. Machine.