Thursday, December 29, 2005

Groovy

Among the many fine material items received by my thankfully oblivious daughter this Christmas (ooo, crinkly paper...) was "Nicole" who is, the manufacturers assure me, a "Groovy Girl". The toy company is named "Manhattan Toys LC" or some-such thing and appears to be located in the bustling Manhattan-like metropolis of Butte, Montana, or Minneapolis, Minnesota and therefore is to be believed. I had ample time to inspect this doll today, near the end of daddy daycare week, in between bouts of baby e screaming out for mama, baba, uncle, olga, and toddlers from her daycare as I futilely attempted to coax her to nap, and paroxysmic sobbing on the part of the author, er, typist as the not-napping continued for severeal hours.

On preliminary inspection, Nicole appears to be a reasonably safe doll. She/it is made of some type of textile product, comes with furniture (a "Cheeky Chair"), a "Snazzy Sleeper" (which is a bag), as well as four itty-bitty cute little folded up product-advertising brochures. These are not, of themselves, offensive or improper in any way. Au contraire, interweb, it is thanks to advertising that I am able to purchase products which assuage my feelings of inadequacy. As an example of all that is groovy, one brochure identifies several niche Groovies for fat babies (Supersize Daphne!), boys who like to play with dolls (Groovy Boys Brandon and Blake), and mutants (Myra Mermaid). Very inclusive. Pierre Trudeau would approve. I love PET. Resistance is futile.

However, this rapturous advertising-induced bliss was not to last. I became uneasy as I read along.

One brochure adverts to the existence of other "Groovy" people with names I would not give to a cat, or even a pet rock (Hi, this is my rock, Darci. She will show you to your table). It the identifies Groovy Accessories (Snack Stuff, Mane Mania), Groovy Pets (Peeksie Poochie, Dorissa Dolphin [keep a dolphin in your tub, you normal people, and the rest of you, with your Paris Hilton swag, keep it in the dolphin tank daddy had built in your yard]), Groovy Gear, Groovy Style, and so on. Some Gear: Supernova Sofa, Bombastic Bunk Bed, and other Grooviness named by a laughable lab of alliterative assholes.

So, in between crying jags and feelings of deep parenting and product-supply inadequacy (obviously the root cause of e's insomnia), I observed further dolls' names on another of the brochures. I read all the names- no Nicole. I re-read the first- no Nicoles, not even among the porcine or the mutated. Nicole exists nowhere in the written Grooviness, only in the hands of my sleep-proof offspring, staring at me with her big, shiny, brown eyes, ignoring for the moment the Grooviness all around her in favour of the cross-species dressing bear-rabbit friend, as I ponder the import of the Nicole no-Nicole issue while the snot turns to crystal on my upper lip (with apologies to Arthur Lee) and I realise, I realise just for an instant, the purpose of the brochures is not merely to sell us on further Grooviness, not merely to induce the feeling that we are lacking something we desperately need as we aspire to materialist completion, no, the brochure informs us that while we are partaking of Grooviness, we do not possess a Grooviness worthy of publishing, a Grooviness on par with the unheld riches which await, at a store near you! I come to terms with the fact that I cannot and will not ever be a better parent on account of whatever things I try to stuff into my holes, or imagined holes, or e's (figuratively speaking).

Of course, it could be the Groovy people don't bother advertising to the owners of Groovy Doll X the benefits of the doll they are holding in hand, which benefits should be palpable. That's probably it.

P-man out.

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