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Trying to return Santa's zombie machine

To: North Pole Returns Department

Dear Santa,

I know you're enjoying your vacation, and I hate to bother you with this during the off season.

But, this video game, cube, X plaything you brought the children, well, it's malfunctioning.My brood seems subject to some kind of elvin technology thought control.They sit mesmerized by boggling images darting across the screen at the speed of subliminal messages.

Worse, I think the contraption is doing neurological damage.Its humming noise drives me to desperation.And it causes the youngsters' eyes to rapidly shift side to side in the sockets and their fingers to twitch erratically on the controls.Deafness, monotone speech, and general malaise accompany an inability for them to purposefully move their legs.They don't even flinch when I offer them ice cream for dinner, or try to give them $10, or tell them they can play with fire; things they once deeply cared about.

And the contagion doesn't stop there.A boy who spent the night with my sons began exhibiting the same tell-tale signs: an inability to relax his grip, feelings of aggression toward others waiting for a turn, decreased motivation, tunnel vision . . .

When this child's father arrived on Sunday morning to get him, the kid still sat in front of the tube clicking away.Unable to elicit a reasonable response, the dad took the lad's pulse and checked his attention deficit.

"Aaawww, Daddy, can't I please kill one more guy before we go to church?"

It made me think Satan, not Santa, brought us this haywire hunk of hardware.

That's not all.My own offspring, known about the neighborhood for destruction and shocking behavior, have forgotten how fun spray painting the backyard can be.And where once they would have jumped at the opportunity to zipper-strap a headless squirrel to a stick and throw it on the roof, today they find the entire notion of carcass bombs lackluster.

I can't remember the last time they brought me a dead snake on a stick, aimed BB guns at each other's eyes, used my tiki torches as spears, or ate termites.These things have no joy for them since we received the plug-in drug.

In an imprudent effort to compete with the hypnotic powers of blipping bleeps and glowing gleams, their father and I purchased a puppy.We believed an interactive, three-dimensional fluff-ball that yips, runs and licks could adequately contend with lasers, tasers, and terrifying foes.We even equipped their new companion with all the accessories - balls to toss, ropes to tug, and treats to eat.

Like I explained, however, that little black box isn't working properly, and a weird magnetic pull dragged my children, reduced to zombies, back to the action screen.Although the puppy peed, pooped, chewed, whined, barked, and begged, normally endearing functions, she couldn't have sharpened her masters' interest even if we awarded them thousands of points and played loud tech-mo music every time they escorted her to the backyard

Not to sound ungrateful, but, for the love of the little children, could you hook up your reindeer and fly down here to get this stupid, idiotic, foolish, harebrained, mind-altering, alleged toy, (for which we thank you very much), before I jump up and down on it, scream obscenities, smash it into a thousand pieces, and become a legend worse than Mommy Dearest.

Sir, I want my children to relearn the joys of mischief and shenanigans.I prefer for them to live on the edge of real danger as opposed to virtual evil.

Respectfully yours,

Lucy Adams

Web posted on Thursday, January 04, 2007

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