Recently, millions of toys made in China have been recalled. As a result, parents everywhere have had to take their children’s toy boxes and empty the entire contents into the trash bin while their small children secretly plan a revolt bigger than the anti-war protests during the Vietnam conflict.
Experts everywhere have sprung into action. “I’d throw away any toy that is painted,” said one former toy company owner who apparently hadn’t seen a child’s face who was handed a plain, unpainted wooden block and told, “Use your imagination!” Over 600,000 Barbie accessories have been recalled. Let’s just stop right there. I didn’t even know there were that many Barbie accessories. When I was little, Barbie had a purse, one pair of shoes, and a suitcase in case Ken made her really mad and she needed to spend the night in a hotel.
Things have changed. When we were kids, the only thing we couldn’t chew on was our sisters’ arms. We gnawed on windowsills with chipped paint. If we were hungry, we ate our pencils as an appetizer before lunch. Eating all those paint chips and pencils made us thirsty, so we slurped lead-filled water from the tap. When we were bored, we tried to find our way to China by digging holes in the soil in the backyard which we later found out was originally a dumping ground for a nearby lead smeltering plant that operated for more than a century. After we digested our chips and pencils, we ate food out of cans that were sealed with lead.
After reading about all the recalls in the newspaper the other day, I called my Mom. “Why did you serve me lead paint for dinner when I was a kid?” I asked her.
“That is a slight exaggeration,” she answered.
“I want to know one thing. I noticed that one of the symptoms of lead poisoning is decreased IQ and poor performance in school. When I couldn’t solve one story problem in math class for my entire 13 years of grade school, junior high, and high school, you just told me that I preferred to use the creative side of my brain instead of the analytical side, but THAT WASN’T THE REAL TRUTH, WAS IT? The other side of my brain was DEAD from lead!”
“Now honey, calm down,” she interrupted.
“Why did you serve me lead paint for dinner when I was a kid?” I asked.
“Sweetie, you just asked me that.”
“It’s memory loss, Mom. Another symptom of lead poisoning,” I sobbed into the phone.
“You’re having memory loss because you’re almost 45 years old,” she said. “Just wait until you’re 70. Now why don’t you take your mind off of this and find a good book to read.”
“I’m having difficulty understanding your directions,” I answered. “I can’t hang up the phone because I’m experiencing reduced eye-hand coordination.”
“I want you to stop reading these symptoms off the Internet and find something else to do,” she replied.
“I can’t read anymore. My eyeballs have fallen out of my head!” I cried.
“I’m hanging up now,” she sang into the phone.
Breathe easy, baby boomers. We now know that such symptoms as changes in sleep patterns, an inability to concentrate, and persistent fatigue are not due to old age, but instead, to the 600 lead pencils we ate in fifth and sixth grade.
I feel so much better.