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An Anton Ali Pop-Ed: Go Play With Your Phone, Kids, Our Toys Were Better Than Yours (Except Tickle Me Elmo)

My city saw about an inch snow this morning. As I weaved my way through the multi-car collisions by all those who failed to factor black ice into their morning routine of driving, selfie-posting, eating and reading Sports Illustrated at the same time, the snow got me thinking about Christmas, which got me thinking about the toys. Not the Robin Williams movie. You probably don't want to read about that.
No, I started thinking about the toys that left a lasting impression on people like me growing up that kids no longer have the benefit (or advantage) of having.

First off, the toys that scared the absolute shit out of me.

Let's start with Tickle Me Elmo. I never wanted to hold one, because I thought it was going to explode in my face. Elmo having a seizure every time you touched him wasn't my idea of fun when I was a kid. Remember how hard it was to get one? You automatically became the cool kid when you brought one to school. Seems like things were easier back then, doesn't it? A toy selling for under $30 back then was so rare during the holiday season, people were willing to pay thousands of dollars for this furball of terror. In 2006, Fisher-Price came out with the "X-Treme" version of the Tickle me Elmo.

Seriously. Elmo's asking you to stop. Why are you torturing him? Here's someone at least putting him out of his misery:

Then there was the Furby. If you weren't bothered by the fact that it spoke voodoo at first until it memorized your every move, learned English and eventually became smarter than you, it was hard not to associate the thing with the Gremlins. Didn't you think that Furby's were waiting until you weren't around so they could talk about how they were going to kill you?

So I never owned either of those two toys and never cared to.

Let's move onto the toys I remember the most.

Beanie Babies. Yes I collected some of these. I thought they would pay for college one day. They didn't. I'm not telling you which ones I have. Errr ... HAD. I don't still have them ...

Yak-Bak. I had the original one that recorded seconds of sound and played it back to you. It was either this or the Talkboy, but the Talkboy was too big and bulky for eavesdropping. Great for booking hotel rooms when you're a kid alone in New York though apparently. 

Magic Copier. You draw stuff and it prints it out for you. It was unbelievably awesome. I think I broke it within a week.

Then there's the toy that got away ...

The original Lite-Brite came out in the late 1960s and was my favorite toy that I never had. Not in the 60s, of course. I'm not that old. Unfortunately, the Lite-Brite has basically been reduced to a boring app. It's hard to think that this and most of what we saw growing up has been replaced by our mobile devices, but it's part of the rapidly changing world of technology I guess. But there's always Ebay, and I'm sure I'll be one there one day buying back a moment from the past.

Contact Anton Ali on Twitter at @AntonRAli.
An Anton Ali Pop-Ed: Go Play With Your Phone, Kids, Our Toys Were Better Than Yours (Except Tickle Me Elmo) Reviewed by Anton Ali on 11/13/2013 Rating: 5

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