Elmo is a scourge from God, sent to punish us for inventing batteries. On Judgment Day, I fully expect God to throw the vilest of sinners — by which I mean politicians, used car salesmen and journalists — not into a lake of fire, but into a roiling cesspool of Elmo sing-alongs that go on and on day and night without stop.
Really wicked people — and by that I mean the lady who stiffed me for a tip when I was a pizza guy — will find themselves in a room full of musical Elmo toys that all play the same songs at slightly different pitches and speeds.
I've had the chance twice now to share my feelings about the Red Furry Monster Who Must Not Be Named with employees of Sesame Workshop. The first was perplexed that anyone would declare an Elmo-free zone around their house and insist that Sesame Street videos could be shown in the house only if Elmo were limited to a supporting role.
The second was more amused, and suggested that I try something therapeutic, like writing down my feelings on Elmo for their marketing people, who have come up with innovations like Tickle Me Elmo, Chicken Dance Elmo, and Beeping Clicking and Whirring Drive Your Father Out Of His Ever-Loving Mind Elmo.
I've given it some though since then, and I've come to accept that Elmo is the cash cow that gives the golden milk. As long as Elmo is marketed to the exclusion of the other Muppets, he's going to bring in the most money and no one is going ask him to step down from the throne of gold.
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Here follow my suggested Elmo toys that can be marketed to adults, increasing the amount of revenue he generates for Sesame Workshop and its educational videos and products.
Beat Me with a Stick Elmo. This Elmo doll stands 18 inches high, runs on a 4.5-Volt battery and comes complete with a 12-inch wooden stick the owner can use to strike Elmo whenever he annoys them. Whenever he's hit, Elmo screams in that adorable little voice of his, phrases like "Ouch!" "Stop that!" or "Elmo doesn't like this game." Suggested retail price: $14.99.
Push Me Down an Elevator Shaft Elmo. Covered in soft red felt, this motion-activated Elmo lets out a piteous yet heart-warming scream as he plunges 80 feet into stygian darkness where he meets his doom. Elevator shaft with sharp metal spikes at the bottom, not included.
Urban Legends Elmo. A must-buy for anyone who has ever believed "reliable stories" passed on by their friends. Remove Elmo's kidneys before stuffing him in a bathtub filled with ice! Replace Elmo's hand with a hook, and send him out to terrorize teenagers at the local Lovers Lane! Squeeze his hand and hear him spread salacious rumors about Bert and Ernie! Legal disclaimer: Not responsible for lawsuits resulting from repeating those rumors.
Sopranos Elmo. Marketed especially to New Jersey consumers, who love the violence and family intrigue of HBO's award-winning mob drama, this Elmo offers to whack Kermit the Frog, says "badda-bing, badda-boom" when you squeeze him, and tells people to "Fuggedaboutit." Cigar is included only for decorative purposes and cannot be smoked.
Operation! Elmo. Produced in partnership with Milton Bradley, this Elmo is educational. Children and adults can learn all about surgery and anatomy by cutting Elmo open and removing his internal organs. Added feature: Elmo's realistic screams remind children about the importance of anesthesia.
Having shared all this, I'm amazed to discover the wisdom of the Sesame Workshop employee who suggested I write this all down. I do feel a lot better about Elmo now, and while I'm not likely to relax the Elmo Free Zone my wife and I established, I'm also not going to ask for Marie Antoinette Elmo, Hari Kari Elmo or Black Death Elmo.
Just don't get me started on Disney Princesses.
Copyright © 2004 by David Learn. Used with permission.