The destroyer of toys


Question: Just how long will the joy of Christmas last in a toy? Answer: right up until it breaks.

The time it takes for a toy to break depends on three factors. First, what kind of toy it is. Second, how well it has been constructed. And third, whether or not you have a resident Destroyer of Toys — we do.

Ours comes in the form of a red-headed little girl. But don’t let the sweetness of her smile fool ya. Countless numbers of toys have met their demise soon after meeting our Sweet Caroline.

In most every household, if you have more than one child, you have at least one broken toy by now. At our house, things are different. We currently have multiple broken toys with many others missing vital parts.

Cars and trucks without tires, giant 35-piece floor puzzles with only 34 pieces (I believe the missing piece was eaten. Not sure, but I will be in a day or so), horses without saddles, and airplanes with only one wing — just to name a few of the casualties. All compliments of our little red-headed Sweet Caroline, otherwise known as The Destroyer of Toys.

But it’s really not her fault. For you see, she is not alone in her designation. She comes about it naturally and is but the latest in a long family line of toy destroyers — a line leading all the way back a long, long time ago to an old familiar street not so far away called Flamingo.

Folks nowadays long for toys of old – the indestructible ones. Cars and trucks made of heavy gauge sheet metal, Tinker Toys manufactured out of solid wood, not plastic, and wagons and bikes made out of steel, not lightweight aluminum.

Even the Barbie dolls now are different. Back when my three brothers, The Sister and I lived on Flamingo, it was much easier to remove the heads of any Barbie. An easily removable head was an important feature of the Barbie doll. That is, if brothers were going to enjoy playing with them.

The first year we lived on Flamingo, The Sister got six Barbie dolls as Christmas gifts. The same year we four boys got wrist rocket slingshots. Normally, those gifts wouldn’t go together, but back then, life at our house was anything but normal.

It only took three weeks before my brothers and I were playing with both the Barbies and wrist rocket slingshots. That’s how long it took for big Brother James and Older Brother Richard to figure out that if you pull hard enough, Barbie’s head would come off.

Two days later, Twin Brother Mark and I discovered they were perfectly aerodynamic. Shot from our new slingshots, the Barbies’ heads went further than pea gravel, dirt clods, and even The Sister’s marbles. They traveled so far in the air that once they were launched, they were gone forever. And that’s how we got into really big trouble with Dad.

Luckily at our house this year, dear old Santa didn’t give anyone a wrist rocket slingshot. (Guess he remembered the trouble he got into as a kid and decided it was better not to give such a gift.) So just what Christmas toy has the shortest life expectancy around our house?

The one The Destroyer of Toys plays with the most. That would be Ryder from the Paw Patrol Tower action set.

Poor Ryder only took three days before becoming seriously injured. He lost his right leg after valiantly defending the Paw Patrol lookout tower from a stampeding onslaught of Christmas dinosaurs.

Unless Big Papa here can glue him back together using Gorilla glue (Kid you not, that’s what the stuff is called), Ryder will be disabled from riding his ATV for the remainder of his life, which, by the way our red headed Destroyer of Toys is playing with him, is gonna be really short. My bet is poor Ryder isn’t gonna see Valentine’s Day.

Finally: For those seven years we lived at 110 Flamingo Street, 10 seconds was the shortest life expectancy of any toy, and that toy just happened to be owned by Dad. Once Dad learned how we sent all of The Sister’s Barbie doll heads skyward, he gathered up all of our wrist rocket slingshots and said, “These are now mine!” Then it only took him 10 seconds to dump all of them into the trash.

[Rick Ryckeley has been writing stories since 2001. To read more of Rick’s stories, visit his blog:]