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I'm concerned, again. Last night I dreamed a fully realized 30-second advertising spot for Toys'R'Us. Granted, it's not my greatest work but it was pretty extraordinary that the entire spot came to me in my dream. (it should be noted that i never have sex dreams, and any element of sex that enters my unconscious is usually accompanied by some foreboding or discouraging element - visions of hellfire, superfluous genitals, appearances by my grandmother, steely dan. sex dreams are a tall order for me, but i often dream of advertising. once, i made up a sniglet in my dream but it was only funny/relevant if you were asleep.)

When I woke up I was certain the commercial was real, but if it isn't, I'm going to make it real right now. The basic idea was that a team of monsters - not draculas or mummies, but those kinds of great overlord-type creatures that appear in fantasy stories or episodes of He-Man: Masters of the Universe - are playing a team of Toys'R'Us employees in a quiz show game, kind of like College Bowl or Answers, Please.

The quizmaster is describing various monsterish toys sold at Toys'R'Us and the teams are asked to identify them. The real monsters are having a difficult time. They are good with faces, but bad with names. They seem to "know" all of the monsters but cannot correctly identify them, so perhaps one member of the team will see a photograph or a replica of a scale-covered, slime-oozing ogre armed with a spiked hammer and the monster teammate says something like, "Argh! I know that guy!! What's his name? Lives in the Shadow Forest. He used to be in my car pool!! Oh, by Valdemont's Crack, I cannot summon his name!" And so on.

The Toys'R'Us employees, however, seem to know every last bit of information about all of the monster toys discussed in the quiz show. They're just nailing one after the other, much to the dismay of the real monster competitors. Because TOYS'R'US EMPLOYEES KNOW THEIR SHIT!!

The commercial ends with one of the monsters buzzing in and, looking at a model of a giant robotic spider, says, "Tarantu-lor? us? asaurus?"

This dream actually began, not with a commercial, but with God delegating the responsibility of determining monster-naming conventions to me. I am being absolutely serious right now. One of the rules provided that male monsters be given the suffix "lor," if their animal-root names ended in a vowel. For example, a monster-sized tarantula would now be named TARANTULOR. If that tarantula is female, however, she would be given the suffix "lara." As in TARANTULARA. Makes sense, right? There were many more rules, but you'll have to wait until I publish my updated 2004 edition of Yet Even More Boring Bullshit for Nerdy Gaylords, with a new foreword by Penn Jillette. (that guy's still got the juice!)

After I woke from the dream, I developed several other spins on this same commercial, including one in which a monster is on a game show by himself and has to call a Toys'R'Us employee as his lifeline. And a couple other ideas even worse than that.

The great irony here is that, in reality, Toys'R'Us employees are possibly the least knowledgeable and least cuddly employees in the entire retail universe. Maybe that's not a perfectly true statement but they are certainly the scariest employees in relation to one's expectations. The teenaged kids who skulk around the store's ramshackle displays of board games and Fisher-Price Meth LAbs are surly, dismissive, and often pregnant. You may walk into a Toys'R'Us in Manhattan, expecting the employees to be riding around on scooters and squirting customers with Super Soaker rifles, but you will probably end up exiting the store thankful that you were able to leave with your life.

On the few occasions I've had to shop at Toys'R'Us usually for replacement Hulk Hands, or for Hulk Hand accessories, like Hulk Hand mittens, Hulk Hand press-on nails, and Hulk Hand Creme I always do two things as soon as I step back outside. First, I exhale, because I am afraid of inhaling the cloud of crack smoke that hangs thick over the store's LEGOland display. Then, of course, I check for entry wounds.

WE FIRST MET ON 02.11.2004

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