Traipsing Around Toy Fair 2008

Toys aren't us. . . unless you like preachy dolls who lecture you on soy ink about global warming

It's a relief to visit a booth called Accoutrements, which carries rubber chickens, paste-on mustaches made of, I am sure, some deeply unbiodegradable substance, and that most transgressive of playthings, the toy cigarette pack, available as a squirter or filled with bubble gum. One pack bears the brand name Black Lung, if, as the salesman puts it, "your store is really edgy."

Emboldened by my exposure to candy coffin nails, I ask a guy in a booth with bloodshot-eyeball spectacles if he has anything really disgusting. He shakes his head sadly. "For that, you have to go to the Halloween show in Vegas in three weeks," he says. "They have things like a guy in an electric chair for $10,000."

But then something really disgusting does happen, in a booth run by Gund, which advertises its merchandise as "the world's most huggable." I'm met at the door by a woman with a steely smile who asks me what business I'm in. When I tell her I'm a journalist, she says the pathetic flack employed to bullshit journalists (OK, that isn't exactly what she says) is gone for the day, and then she refuses to let me examine their stock of dolphins and penguins and polar bears and in fact boots me out of the booth! Me!

Hi, I'm a plush, stuffed, magnified earache. Wanna play?
Staci Schwartz
Hi, I'm a plush, stuffed, magnified earache. Wanna play?

It's enough to make me want to go get a confetti gun.

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