Who makes the grade? Spiderman or Scooby?
|My two daughters, ages seventeen and thirteen, and I were standing in the toy section of the Target Department store, each tightly gripping a toy we had just picked out for my nephew AJ’s fourth birthday. Only one toy would be purchased, brought home and wrapped up as 'the gift'. I scoped out the competition, my eyes cutting first to the right and then to the left. This was gonna be easy. I was holding Spiderman(S/M). Spiderman was a win. And besides, I had insider information that indicated S/M had quickly moved up in the ranks to the Number One Fav Position. Abruptly passing Scooby and Woody, a seasoned Number 1er, along the way. S/M had even passed Sponge Bob Square Pants. Well, okay, maybe not Sponge Bob, but Spiderman was hot.
The three of us were all chatting at once, trying to lobby for ‘our’ toy. Autumn had a big plush red Clifford dog and Laney held a stuffed Scooby dog. “Isn’t he sooooooo cute?” Autumn whined, holding Clifford up next to her cheek, a huge sweet smile spread across her face.
“Aaaawww,” I replied, momentarily lost in Clifford’s cuteness. “He is cute,” I agreed, but this is SPIDERMAN!” I held S/M high up over my head.
I could hear Laney in the background trying to interrupt us. “AJ LOVES Scooby,” she was saying.
“Whatever!” My hand went up. “Spiderman is ON. He fights crime. He catches thieves like flies. He hangs upside down. AND, he can jump from building to building with a single thread.” I wasn’t so sure about the building/thread part, but it sounded good. “Can Scooby do all that???” I asked. “I don’t think so! Scooby is a scared-DEE-cat! All he does is eat Scooby snacks and hide behind Shaggy. Humph!”
We were all giggling now. Autumn was modeling for us the many different ways in which AJ could hold and hug Clifford.:“Loooook”, she cooed, “He even has a bone in his mouth. He is just soooooo cuuuute.”
“Precisely.” I snapped. “That’s exactly my point. A boy doesn’t want a cute toy. He wants a manly toy. A superhero. He wants…Spiderman.” I could tell by the wounded look on her face I had won! With reluctance, Clifford was placed back on the shelf. One down, one to go. I pushed on. “And besides,” I continued. This Spiderman talks.” I began feverishly squeezing his chest to make him say some of the 15 different sentences he was programmed to say.
Autumn may have lost her Clifford vote but she wasn’t quite ready to jump on the Spiderman bandwagon either. Revenge was written on her face. “Scooby!”” she announced, as though it was her own idea. Oh great. I thought, now what? My fingers kept pushing S/M’s talk box. Autumn picked up another kind of Scooby, different from the one Laney held. She had lost her Clifford battle but she wasn’t going to totally concede to the Scooby cause, according to Laney. “This Scooby is better! See? When you squeeze his ear, HE TALKS TOO!’ A small debate ensued. In hushed tones, they huddled together deciding which Scooby representative would be chosen.
Meanwhile, Spiderman wasn’t giving up. I shoved him in Laney’s face. “His eyes light up when he’s speaking.” I smiled. Again, I kept pressing his talk box.
Laney changed her lobbying techniques. Now, she was after Spiderman Himself. “Mom!” she declared. “His voice sounds wimpy. That is NOT the voice of a superhero, a crime fighter, a spider who gets the girl.” I hated to admit it, but he did sound a bit…um…well…unmanly. Who taped these sentences anyway?
“Autumn?” I asked, “Did Tobey Maguire sound like this in the movie? Her response was immediate.
“No, actually, he didn’t.”
Still, I wasn’t ready to give up, even if my lame sounding Spiderman seemed to be loosing his campaign. I followed Laney’s lead and changed my own tactics. In my absolute horrible singing voice I began…”Spider-Man. Spider-Man”…Maybe through relentless annoyance…”Does what ever a spider can.” Both girls rolled their eyes. They knew there was no stopping me now. “Is he strong? Listen Bud, He’s got radioactive blood…”
They took to invading my space. They both yanked on my shirt. They were pulling their ‘begging routines'. “Mom! Pleeeeeease, buy the Scooby. We’ll be your best friends.” This was no longer just about a toy in a department store. It was much bigger than that. The safety of the Free World was at stake.
And then Laney spoke. Her voice was firm and loud. There was no mistaking her words, even over my obnoxious singing. “AJ will throw that at us.” She thumped Spiderman’s plastic head. We all froze in complete silence.
“Ouch”. I winced and involuntarily rubbed a spot on my forehead. Unfortunately, this was true. AJ was a thrower. He thought it was funny and he didn’t seam to realize he could hurt you.
Scooby had won. Laney placed him in the buggy, flashing a triumphant smile. Autumn patted his head and then squeezed his ear. I rounded the corner to the next aisle. “Sorry Spidey,” I whispered as I put him back on the shelf. Although, maybe, just maybe, I’ll be back to get S/M just in time for Christmas. “Friendly neighborhood Spidey-Man….”