That, patrons, is Mr. Squiggles Hamster of the clan Zhu Zhu, a new species of battery operated Rodentia.
The benefit of having a Zhu Zhu pet appears to be that, as compared to a live hamster, they are slightly larger, fluffier, softer, cuter and they do not pee in your hand or puncture your thumb with little rabid teeth. Also, unlike real hamsters, they can be pressed quite hard about the head, body and nose without breaking and which instructs the creature to run tricks through an array of hamster playsets (sold separately), which are slightly larger versions of the old Hamster Habitats so fondly remembered from the 70s. Again, the advantage appears to be that one does not have to upend the Zhu Zhu habitats to dislodge small bits of feces and flush them with ammonia in order to kill the small colonies of plague and knock down the overpowering stench of rodent urine. There's also the small matter of not having to deal with fleas.
Now, Mr. Squiggles Hamster and his close relatives, Num Nums, Chunk, and Pipsqueak, are the number one requested toy this season and as such are sold out. Well, clarification: they are sold out at the MSRP of approximately $9.99. The recently unemployed appear to have used their entire severance packages to scoop up all available supplies of the little robots and are selling them on eBay and Craigs List under outrageous markups, which for SBD is one penny more than the MSRP of $9.99.
After an exhaustive five minutes of browsing online on Amazon and Toys R Us followed by a solid thirty minute search through the plush stacks at a local MomandPop toy store, SBD could not locate an iteration of Mr. Squiggles Hamster. Hoops erected by the media, by other parents, by guilt and by the Joneses presented themselves. But SBD did not and will not jump through them. But Zhu Zhu are out there nonetheless and some type of action is required.
There are two conflicting motivations here. First, SBD wants to help Sydney Brillo Daughter maintain her tenuous hold on childhood by proving her belief in Santa. She's not going to just believe on her own, of course. It's quite simple: Santa exists when the things you have explicitly asked him for show up on Christmas morning, regardless of what that knowitall little Miss Bitch Sadie in Miss Lawrence's class says about how Santa is really your parents. It's all about feeding the faith gene and building up the ability to maintain conceptual structures that strenghten the human spirit and maintain a sense of magic, for magic equals possibility and immortality in the face of compounding reason and reality. Bottomline: life sucks without fantasy. Zhu Zhu pets, unfortunately, confirm the existence of Santa.
The second motivation for SBD is that these damn Zhu Zhu pets exists to demonstrate to the world that Sydney Brillo Duodenum does not love his daughter. For every jackhole sitting home from his job next Wednesday or Thursday biting his fingers to stubs waiting for the promised expedited package from the eBay seller in Hot Springs, AR, there is a Sydney Brillo Duodenum who refuses to participate, who is too lazy to check another toy store, and who refuses to deal with the lady on eBay in Poughkeepsie who made a killing on limited edition WebKinz two years ago. Certainly, most of Sydney Brillo Daughter's little friends will slide the banisters of their well appointed homes and find below their Christmas tree a Mr. Squiggles, NumbNuts, Chump the Hamster or Pimpsqueak, or all four. A crowning jewell of parental perfection. SBD is not perfect, though. By all rights, he's a loser. And cheap. Also, there is the matter of devoting more of Sydney Brillo Duodenum's budget on toys, quite frankly, to meeting the expectations of Sydney Brillo Junior on Christmas morning for the simple and obvious reason that Sydney Brillo Duodenum can have fun with the Sony PSP Gran Turismo Package, not to mention the World's Greatest Shelby Slot Car Racetrack set from Restoration Hardware, just as well as Junior can. Zhu Zhu pets? Not so much fun.
So, there shall be no Zhu Zhu pet under the tree.
But what is a hamster, really? Well, it's essentially a cute, non-greasy rat.
So, while pawing the plushies at the toy store, Sydney Brillo Duodenum found these little rascals shoved to the back of a shelf, hiding under a pile of Ugly Dolls.
One of these beauties, wrapped just so, perhaps with an accompanying length of 4 inch PVC piping as a habitat, and with enough parental ohhing and ahhing upon unwrapping, along with a weepy story about how they are clearly escapees from the Island of Misfit toys, but true representatives of their species as compared to those charlatans Mr. Quiggles et al, could present a perfect opportunity for a weepy Christmas fable about giving mercy and kindness to even the lowliest of stuffed animals. Or it could be a freakn' disaster of epic proportions. And that's what makes Christmas morning so grand.