Teddy Bears and Yachts
"Yeah I saw that and I talked to the rep. They have their own campus in Manhattan, and every summer you get to go on a boat to Europe. It looks interesting. I think I will check into it."
I could see her, calling me on her cell phone from the bowels of a mid-sized but very grey tanker, "Please mom. Please can't I come home? I hate it here."
Nobody made Private Benjamin up, you know. I have one too.
. . .
I always wanted to build a bear," the 14 year old insists, as we pass by a B-A-B money vacuuming storefront.
"You have," I challenge. "Well, go for it." The last time I used that phrase, somebody in Little Falls, New York, drove a stripped-out school bus over a snow drift that turned out to be a snow pile at the end of a country road and the bus and all its passengers flew through the air and landed in a field of fluffy white stuff.
For real we can do this?
And with that the two youngest and I ventured into somebody's brillant venture capital investment.
"Which skin should I use, black or brown? And should it be a girl bear or a boy bear? Which do you think will look better in an outfit and what outfit should I get?"
Are you asking me? Are you serious? I am here to observe and pay.
"No really, I need your help."
Well, ok, then. I like the black bear, and I think it should be a boy.
"I think I will get the brown one and it will be a girl"
And what about that little jeans outfit on that stuffed rabbit? It has leopard print lining on the jacket.
"You mean, Ho Bunny?"
A thirty-something close to edgy couple stood near us, sent there by some well intentioned relative to buy a gift for a child they did not know well. They felt as if they landed on another planet and hated it. I could tell. See, when I am not pestered to death by kids who never listen to me anyway, I am a patient observer.
They thought Ho Bunny was funny. I became an observer again.
I watched as the lady in charge of the big machine that blows stuffing into the nylon pelts worked her canned schmalz on my youngest. The little one didn't stand a chance. She was totatlly sucked in, and worked the air pedal perfectly for the lady. But the lady needed to get something behind her, so Mrs. "I've Been Carefully Trained to Spend Your Money" turned, leaving the partially stuffed animal hanging from a long, catheterizing air tube. The fourteen year old thinking that the youngest is simply not working the pedals correctly, encourages her little sister to work them harder, which of course starts the enormous fluff and air machine and in turn shoots the still dead animal across the room, stuffing into the air, and milk - had there been any in there - to come out of the noses of the reluctant couple.
I began to imagine that I would probably make a fairly decent merchant marine. The deadline to apply is sometime in February.