i traveled back from visiting my family in australia with this little gem in my bag. it was a super cool dino, who screamed like a banshee for 20 seconds when you squeezed its belly, and it was going to be a amazing and easy gift for baby j back in the states, when his birthday rolled around in 6 months.
once on the trip, a unexpected logistical issue arose. periodically, and without any pattern or warning, i would hear it shriek in my carry- on bag. and, periodically, i would explain to those around me, and in customs and security, that it was simply a harmless toy, gone a bit bad. it was important that it made it home, as it was a gift for my grand baby j, one he simply could not live without.
through some miracle of human kindness, it was allowed to travel all the way with me, and once home, i happily put it into my ‘box of upcoming and unusual gifts that people in my life cannot live without.’ every so often, i would hear it’s happy shriek, a bit muffled and coming from the box. i could not wait for the big day!
finally, j’s birthday was on the horizon and i took it out to wrap. i thought again about how he would be so happy to get this gift and annoy the whole family with it for hours on end. that is when i squeezed it myself,and noticed that things had clearly changed. now when i squeezed it, it would not make any noise at all and then when it finally did, it simply would not stop the shrieking for a long, long time!
i called my family in australia, and my daughter suggested that it may have a battery inside that needed changing. who knew? she actually was right, and i wrestled a battery out of it, unwinding the screw that was the size of a fairy hat, and found a replacement after a visit to numerous stores. at last, it had stopped screaming.
i took it to school to have my teaching partner do the required surgery to replace its life force, as she is much more tech-savvy than i, and thought the problem would soon be solved. the good news, is that it now had a fresh source of power, the bad – it refused to stop shrieking again, as soon as she put the battery in. she quickly removed it once more, and i decided to present it with its guts torn out, thinking i would replace its insides on-site, for dramatic effect. and i couldn’t leave the battery around, as he was little and might swallow it, so it had to be an all or nothing choice. this was turning out to be quite an amazing and easy gift!
i arrived at his house, and told the family the backstory and proceeded to insert the battery once more. of course, it began shrieking again immediately and baby j loved it! and the rest of the family hated it and asked me/begged me to remove the battery immediately! i took it back out and we found the above unusual note on the neck tag of the dino/banshee. and it kind of made sense.
we also discovered the reason that it may not have worked exactly right.
apparently the toymakers had imprinted it, but forgotten to actually add this button to the toy.
so, we decided to ignore the warning note and took things into our own hands. the outdoor fire pit was too snowy to work.
we took it back indoors, but we decided we would probably be killed by the fumes, if we followed through with its execution by fire.
so we threw the battery away, deep in the trash.
and dino joined the others who found themselves in the pile of extinct toys.
it was a long journey, but somehow we managed to all have a lot of fun with it.
and that was the gift.
The greatest of all gifts is the power to estimate things at their true worth
François De La Rochefoucauld