Friday, December 24, 2010

The tragedy of Slinky

Slinky toys are fun toys.

Someone gave me a Slinky for Christmas one year, when I was a small child. I feared it. The coils were hard and cold, and I believed, based on the commercial, that it would get away from me if it started down an incline. When I finally used it, I started it at the bottom of the stairs -- the last two steps -- because I was convinced that if I started it at the top it would build momentum and crash through the front door, and keep going down the street.

It didn't occur to me that if this could happen to my Slinky, it might happen to other Slinkies as well. There would have been an epidemic of Slinky tragedies, with literally broken homes and Slinkies crashing into cars and pedestrians.

Kids are stupid. They don't think right. I didn't think right.

Slinky toys are fun toys.

Anyway, I started the Slinky at the bottom of the stairs. It didn't get very far. "I should start it higher up the stairs," I thought. "Give it a little more of a chance to move." So I did. Slinky still didn't get very far. Finally, I started at the top of the stairs, and braced myself, in case I needed to jump out and grab Slinky before he built up too much speed and became uncontrollable.

Slinky got two steps and then toppled over on his side. I left it there, forgot about it, went outside to play. Slinky languished for awhile, until my parents went up the stairs and tripped over him, toppling down the stairs with, ironically, the same momentum I'd feared that Slinky might build in his trek down the stairs.

Slinky toys are fun toys.

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