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Dave Barry Article

This is an article by humor columnist Dave Barry; please note that I did not write it.

PlayStation 2 all sold out, proceed to yo-yo department.


Cartoon by Jeff MacNelly 


      On behalf of parents everywhere, I just want to say: Thanks a lot, Sony! We're all grateful to Sony because of the swell job it has done of promoting the Sony PlayStation 2, which is the most important advance in entertainment technology since Tickle Me Elmo. This thing is amazing: It can play video games! It can play movies! It can make jerky! It can perform laser eyeball surgery in your family room!
      Sony spent millions of dollars hyping the PlayStation 2, thus creating a huge demand. Every child in America MUST get one of these things for Christmas or Chanukah or Kwanzaa or Atheist Children Get Presents Day. Children who DON'T get one will be bitterly disappointed.
      To meet the demand it created, Sony set up the PlayStation 2 manufacturing facility, which is located in a one-car garage in suburban Tokyo. There, the PlayStation 2 work force, which consists of 92-year-old Mr. Wokohito Mumuwama and his 89-year-old wife, Blanche, have been making PlayStation 2 units as fast as they can, considering the fact that they must assemble all 123,972 parts by hand, and their candles keep blowing out. Nevertheless the Mumuwamas have been cranking out these babies at the rate of nearly one per month, for a total of 11 so far, of which eight failed quality-control tests because of defects such as spiders, denture adhesive on the microchips, etc.
      So the bottom line is that only three functioning PlayStation 2 units have actually been made, and two of these were stolen during shipment. As a result, 37 million parents were competing for the one remaining unit, which was purchased by 24-year-old video-game enthusiast Trevor Beanhonker, who got it, in a heartwarming holiday story, by strapping explosives to his chest.
      The rest of us are out of luck. We will have to explain to our children, in our most soothing Mr. Rogers voices, that Santa did not bring them a PlayStation 2 this year, but that this does NOT mean they have been bad! It just means that Santa hates them.
      So again I say: Thanks, Sony! Way to plan! Maybe you could use the same kind of marketing expertise to open a chain of restaurants: Each one could have 50 tables, 15 waiters, five chefs, an extensive menu, and one lone packet of saltines.
      But enough bitterness. As the old farm saying goes, there is no point in spilling milk on a barn door that has already hatched. So what if we can't buy our kids a PlayStation 2 this year! Who says they need it anyway? What's wrong with the toys we got when I was a boy? Some of them were pretty darned ``high tech,'' too! For example, there was a toy called the ``Wheel-O,'' which was this wheel that you rolled around and around in this metal frame, which the wheel stuck to because of ... magnetism! Wow! I bet our kids would think THAT was pretty ``cool,'' huh?
      Also we had ``Tickle Bee,'' which was this little bee you dragged around and around in a maze, using the amazing power of ... magnetism! And what about electric trains? I spent countless fun hours watching my Lionel train go around and around, and of course around. The train had a milk car with a milkman who loaded and unloaded milk cans by means of the mysterious power of -- prepare to become excited -- magnetism! There was even a missile car that used magnetism to launch a missile, which went straight up and came back down on the train, sometimes hitting the milkman, who apparently represented some kind of military threat. And in the unlikely event that we ever got tired of magnetism, we had: vibration. This was the force that powered a football game in which little vibration-powered football players scooted around on a little football field with a vibrating motor under it. You painstakingly lined up all the players, then you turned on the motor, and suddenly you were watching an incredibly realistic simulation of what a football game would look like if all the players had ingested massive quantities of psychedelic drugs. Some would go in circles; some would take off for parts unknown; some would flop onto their sides and just twitch around. The player with the ``ball'' -- a little football-shaped piece of felt -- would ALWAYS head directly for the wrong goal line. It was a lot like the production plan for the Sony PlayStation 2.
      But my point is that, this year, maybe you don't need to give your child the ``latest'' toy. Maybe your child will be just as happy with a toy from the attic! Because in the end, the holiday season is not about material things. Ho ho ho.

2000 Miami Herald. Used without permission.