Wednesday, January 16, 2013

That Voice, you know the one



I know all the parents in the audience—and not a few of you older siblings—will absolutely understand when I say, some children’s toys are obnoxious. Blinking lights, ear piercing sounds, you name it, those things were designed to make other people crack.

Someone once gave my sister’s boys these key chains. If you pushed the button, they lit up and played an annoying song. I’m sure you can imagine how pleased she was when her boys decided those key chains were the funniest things on the planet (times two, of course). I’m not certain how the boys managed to live, but this is where the story gets ugly. Children will be horrified, and parents will say, “No jury in the world would convict you.”

My sister’s husband saw one of the key chains sitting in the drive way. If he didn’t swerve the truck out of the way, he would surely run over it. He hit the key chain. Then he backed over it, twice, for good measure. He went to the store thinking that damned key chain was done and gone. It’ll teach the kids to leave their toys in the drive way. Ha, ha. Triumphant father drove over the key chain on the way home too.

When the boys came out to greet him, one of them saw the key chain. “Oh no!” he exclaimed as he ran out to grab the key chain, heart in throat at the loss of his beloved toy. He retrieved it from the driveway, and hit the button. The light went on, and the song played. All was saved. My sister’s husband glared at the keychain.

The key chain fell in the sink, was stepped on by the horse, chewed on by the dog, and, after my sister had warned them to pick up their things and it was left out, the key chain was put into a bowl of water and frozen.

Yes, frozen.

In the freezer it stayed for over a year as the family recovered from the parental hysterics (they hated that toy!), when my sister’s husband had gone on a fishing trip. When he returned with much fish on hand, they needed to go through the freezer to make room for the fish. Everything came out of the freezer, including the key chain.

It thawed, and one of the boys saw it. “Oh hey, there it is, I’d been wondering what had happened to this.” And before either my sister or her husband could get to it, he’d pulled the key chain out of the bowl that had encased it for a year, and he hit the button.

As the stupid song began to play, my sister deployed her husband for the hammer. Yes, the hammer. He smashed the key chain with the hammer… and you know what? The key chain got stuck on. As in, it couldn’t stop playing the first five notes of the song. Over and over and over.

Last week, as I was bemoaning the drudgeries of rewriting a manuscript, when Elizabeth Seckman made a comment:

“And the whole time the little voice never does go away that's whispering "you suck". I wish I could pull the plug on it, but I think it has a battery too.”

Whenever I think about the voice that nags the crap out of me (and it does!), I’m reminded of the key chains. Annoying song I can’t stand, a limitless supply of power, and my complete inability to turn it off. I don’t know if there’s any real cure for that little voice, but you can change its song. Give it a couple of lines, treat it like a canary and see if that stupid voice will sing some of those lines back to you (and hopefully not in an ironic way).

And just remember, everyone has that little voice.

Oh, and the key chain ran out of batteries after two weeks stuck in the on position, but it had to be banished from the house during those weeks. I’m sure you can imagine why…

14 comments:

  1. I said that? Yeah, I'm smart. LOL

    My kids had the bad guy from Silver Surfer, this giant purple guy, who would repeat ever so loudly, "Doo doo. Doo doo. I hunger."
    That things battery lasted for at least ten years, I think it may be haunted. And don't get me started on that popcorn popper they make for toddlers!!!

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    1. OMG! That popcorn popper !!!!!!! my daughter found a beat up one in pink at a garage sale. I think it was held together by divine intervention. I swear, it was not physically possible to still function, but there she was running around the house, giggling up a storm with that stupid popper thing.

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  2. OMGosh, I totally understand the toy that won't die, and that voice in our heads. What a wonderful way of putting it!

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    1. Yes, what is it with those silly toys!

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  3. I was laughing through this story, then I got to the end and decided you are brilliant. :) What a wonderful comparison. Very true.

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    1. Thanks. And I'm glad I could make someone laugh!

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  4. I swear some kids' toys are possessed! Once in a while a toy's batteries will be going low and it kicks into high gear or something, like it knows it's dying! Ugh!
    I agree, changing the song on that stupid repeating message is a good trick to try :)

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    1. Yes! We had a mickey mouse toy that was losing its battery, but we couldn't find it. It would randomly go off in the middle of the night. We were almost up to tearing out the walls when we found it carefully stored away in a box in the closet. No wonder kids have nightmares about monsters in their closets!

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  5. Ha! Dang those demon possessed toys! And dang those demons in our heads! But I agree, we can sooo make them sing a different song. It's such a challenge to try drowning out that voice, but when it kicks in, I talk back to it. I tell it what a liar it is, and it eventually gets sick of my voice declaring victory and goes away. When it comes back, I chase it away again! :)

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    1. You know, it wasn't until I was 30 (three-zero) that I figured out you could mess up that voice! Ah silly me.

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  6. that is crazy! but it was meant to be so you could make this analogy =)
    thanks! and glad its over...or is it?

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  7. Hilarious! I love that story! I'm guilty of buying noisy things for other people's kids. I have to admit to being able to block out the noise from those sort of toys, but they used to drive my husband mad. Now the noisy toys I buy end up being left at my house. I wonder why. I'm also not sure why my niece didn't like the duck whistle I bought for her little son... ;-)

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  8. What a great comparison. Yep, I've had those toys in my house before - I slip them into the bin when I find them :-) "Oh no, sweetheart, I haven't see it - maybe you should try tidying your room to see if it's there..." You see what I do there? ;-)

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  9. LOL. That's awesome. =) I bet I have a kid who could have destroyed that key chain though.

    So, turning off the voice? I don't think that's possible, but I've drown it out before. I keep the really positive critiques/emails from beta readers, and when I'm really having a hard time I usually go infuse myself with those positive messages. I also keep In the Middle on quick play. It's too easy to forget what we do is awesome--especially when you consider that darn voice at the back of our heads.

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