Wiseguy and I are happy grandparents (who refuse to grow up). We are lucky grandparents to five beautiful grandchildren. None of them are into the double digit birthdays yet, so shopping for birthdays and Christmas can oftentimes be done in advance. When I extricate myself from my humble home to go on a shopping spree, I will oftentimes pick up “future” gifts for the grandkids. If I am in the midst of a clearance sale extravaganza I become quite a neanderthal; hunting and fishing for the best deals. It was with grandchildren in mind that I purchased an interesting little toy that has left me with an indelible memory forever.
On this particular trek to the store, I ventured into the children’s area and found a toy on clearance called the Penguin Popper. It looked kind of fun. In my head I was already debating who would be the lucky recipient of this unique gift. The eldest (a girl of 8 years) is more into the “tweening” phase of her life and is more likely to appreciate articles of clothing for her “American Girl” doll (or clothing for herself). Then next in line would the 4 year olds; one boy, one girl. Now, if I gave it to the boy, who is into wrestling and fake fighting, I could see his excitement with the toy turning into devastation as one of the other kids would lose an eye. How about the 4 year old girl? Well, she does have great tomboy moments. I could see her getting a kick out of it. Then I thought, well her cousin (the 4 year old boy) would probably wish he had it (even though someone would lose and eye) and there would be sadness and loss of joy so I couldn’t bring myself to create that kind of drama in our lives. So…no to both 4 year olds. The last two were way too young for it. A two year old and a one year old. The toy’s packaging stated this as well: Ages 4 +. Hmmmm, what to do. I expanded my search.
I thought about my niece’s kids. Little dude of 8 months was waaaaay too young. How about his big sister? She would love something like this! She is 3 1/2 years old. Almost 4. And she laughs hysterically when people get…injured. Hmmm, like a mini ball in the eye from 20 paces would be hilarious. My competent adult brain finally decided that this actually wasn’t such a great kid’s toy to introduce into our family. I did the only plausible thing.
No I didn’t return it! Remember the adults who refuse to grow up? Well, I was so excited about my decision to keep said toy that I couldn’t wait to see Wiseguy’s face light up when he saw our new play thing. I could picture us popping that ball out of the penguin’s mouth and having the kidlets go chasing after it to see who would get it first. Then they could ALL take turns playing with it and no one would lose an eye and no one could keep it because it belonged at the grandparent’s house. WIN WIN! Right?
When I gave hubby the rundown on how we were now the proud owners of a Penguin Popper, he rolled his eyes in helpless defeat. Not sure, but I believe (assume) these were the thoughts running around in his brain:
- Not more junk!
- Another toy?
- Someone is going to lose an eye!
The comment that actually emerged was, “Waldo is going to steal the ball, choke on it, and die.” (Note: Waldo is our 10 year old super cute and fluffy thief dog.)
Well, I didn’t see that comment coming. So, me being me, I had to prove that THIS was the coolest toy ever and he would be the most fun grandfather in the history of grandfathers! Wiseguy turned and started to walk away. I had to prove my point so I grasped the Penguin Popper in both hands, holding it directly in front of me, and I squeeeeeeezed his stomach. (I’m assuming it’s a “him” Popper because there is no pretty bow on his head. If it was a girl Popper they would’ve put a pretty bow. Also, the inventors probably figured that girls wouldn’t do fun (vicious) things like this, but boys would and so the Penguin is definitely a boy. Ahhhh, classic stereotyping at its best.)
Here is what happened after the stomach squeeeeeeeeze:
- Loud POP! sound
- My eyes opened wide, in a bit of disbelief actually, when I saw the velocity of this little once-inch ball catapult away from me
- Wiseguy turned to me when he heard the POP!
- The ball hit him on the side of the head
- “Are you kidding me?!” emanated in an exasperated tone from my husband’s general direction
- I laughed…hysterically!
I was in stitches! I couldn’t breathe. Tears were streaming out of the corner’s of my eyes. I doubled-over to hold my stomach. I couldn’t believe it actually hit him! Oh, I had read the box while I stood in line to purchase the product. It contained the usual words of warning: “Never aim at anyone”. It also said it could shoot up to 20 feet away. Yeah, best case scenario maybe, I thought. And yet, here I was in utter shock as the ball had ejected far, far away and NAILED Wiseguy! My next thought was quite simple: I’m dead.
Wiseguy was at my side in two strides (he has long legs and can cover 20 feet in two steps). He confiscated the Penguin Popper from my hands. I pivoted and ran. I ran for my life. I heard POP! and I turned around.
(Sidenote: Why is it that when you hear a noise you look toward the direction of the sound instead of running away from it?)
Like a slow-motion movie I saw the ball (mini ball? ball-ette?) wing by my head. Wiseguy had missed. Wiseguy NEVER misses! He is Super Sportsman extraordinaire!
I am unsure why this next thing happened, but I believe it was from the confusion of NOT being hit. I doubled over laughing uncontrollably….again.
He missed me…AGAIN! Saint’s preserve us, I was lucky (or unlucky?). Wiseguy then unceremoniously deposited the Penguin on the kitchen counter and meandered away.
My next thought: Best day ever! So many good things happened to me in that short amount of time:
- I got a fun new toy since Wiseguy didn’t want it. Mine…all mine!
- I actually beat Wiseguy at a (non)sport
- I laughed and laughed and laughed – my core muscles got quite the workout and all my tension of the day washed away
I am so grateful that I found this toy. I am grateful that I decided to keep it. I am grateful that I got to play with this toy. I am grateful for the once in a lifetime experience I had using it. I am grateful that Wiseguy finds this story as amusing as I do and doesn’t mind that I have shared this. I am grateful that he isn’t really considering payback. Right? Right????!!!
Waldo got the ball.
He is still alive.
As of yet, nobody has lost an eye.