was in Hamley's toy store in Glasgow recently and knew finally
what I want to be when I grow up. There are young people employed
there who demonstrate toys. What a great job! And not just
for the fun of playing - but for the infectious delight in
the faces of the wee yins. It must be like being a magician.
You could get bored of the toy, but you could not fail to
spend your working day in a summer breeze of a mood as the
weans watch and wonder, rapt, as mini-helicopters buzz about,
as discs levitate beneath the demonstrator's palm, as unburstable
bubbles billow and drift.
Even the electronic stuff pulls a crowd. All us grown-ups
stood grinning like cartoon cats while we watched wee boys
playing Wii games: four or five kids at a time copying moves
from some kind of Michael Jackson dance game, kids so unselfconscious
that some didn't have controllers in their hands - they simply
had to get on the floor and throw down some moves.
Adults, strangers, semi-circled behind the youngsters and
smiled helplessly at each other. Behind us, five good-natured
Goths joined in the Thriller dance. And at the side, the toy
demonstrator, a benign Pied Piper, never pushy, always patient
and paid to ringmaster this fun for hours at a time.
"Alright! Who's next?" he called. My girlfriend
stopped me from stepping up. Why? Well, one day in our supermarket,
we saw a kid trying a hula hoop - and she was rubbish. So,
wordlessly, I took one from the display and showed how it
should be done. The child, my girlfriend and all the other
shoppers were aghast. Too bad. When I hoop, I hoop.
Probably, I'm not cut out to be a toy demonstrator after all.