Yesterday my mom and I were talking while she shopped for Christmas presents. She said she had just walked by a Cabbage Patch Newborn, and almost got it for me. I must have been nine or ten the year that the Cabbage Patch Premies came out (their heads smelled like powder!), and she fought tooth and nail with every other mom in the 562 area (then still the 310) to score one for me. I laughed, but we both agreed that the $40 could be better spent. On, say, booze!
When she walked out of the store, she asked me, “What’s happening tomorrow? People are sleeping out here!” I told her I wasn’t sure, but it was probably video game related and said, I bet you’re glad you never had to do shit like that! She said “No, I never had to sleep anywhere but I DID have to go to some Chinese woman in East L.A. to get you that darn Super Mario Bros. 2 game.”
“Really? I didn’t know that.”
“Yeah, she told me she only had two left, and I better hurry up.”
“Wow. Thanks mom! How on earth did you find her?” I imagined a dark shop selling mogwais and bootleg NES cartridges.
“I looked! That was before eBay and the internet, before your fingers could do the walking.”
“When your legs had to do the walking?”
This morning I got into work and she had left me a voice mail saying, “You know what else I went through hell to get you? That damn Monchichi!”
I called her back. “I don’t even remember HAVING a Monchichi.”
“Yeah, you were like seven, and you had your Christmas list all ready. Then on December 15th I passed by it and–it still makes my stomach cramp up to this day–you had crossed out like FIVE items and put next to it, Monchichi. And I didn’t know what was the monchichi, so I had to ask you. And you said, ‘You don’t KNOW?’ I said, no, I don’t, what is it? And you said something about the song, and I made the mistake of asking you about the song, and you started singing the stupid song [mom sings] Happy Happy Monchichi, Monchichi. So I went to the Toys ‘R’ Us in Cerritos and asked them for it. They were out. Then I went to the Toys ‘R’ Us in Baldwin Park. And THEY were out. Then I went to some third one I-don’t-know-where and they were out, and I started to panic. One of the employees told me that the monchichi was, I quote, The hottest item of the season, and that people had been waiting for three weeks or more to get one. I looked at the calendar and realized there was no way.
So I came home and tried to talk you out of the Monchichi. But there was the added challenge that you still believed in Santa Claus. So I told you, ‘You know when Santa gets late requests that sometimes the elves don’t have enough time to make those toys,’ I made up a whole bunch of bullshit so you wouldn’t want the Monchichi. And you turned around and said, ‘Santa doesn’t have to make it, it’s on TV! He can buy it at Toys ‘R’ Us.’ And right then I wanted to sue the people who had started advertising a toy on December 15th. But because you had been willing to sacrifice FIVE items from your list, I knew I couldn’t NOT get you that one thing that you really wanted.
So I went down to that Toys ‘R’ Us and waited. They had three left, and they were on hold. But if they weren’t picked up by twelve o’clock, they were up for grabs. So I waited there. For hours. And at ten seconds past twelve I walked up to the guy at the counter and told him, ‘It is now 12:00 and ten seconds, will you please give me my Monchichi.’ And I got it. I stole some other kid’s Monchichi, and I brought it home. And when you opened it up I was so disappointed! I mean, it was so small, and I don’t even know what it was!”
Here I interjected, “I think it was like half-monkey, half-human.”
“Yeah, something like that. And it didn’t drink, or burp, or talk, or anything! After all that!”
“I still don’t remember it.”
I just wanted to take this moment to thank all the mothers and fathers of the world (or really just the US because I can’t imagine this shit happens in, say, Africa) for going to the lengths they do to get us the things we really want. Seriously, there should be trophies and prizes. Even an awards ceremony. Like, “And Best Use of an Oversized Handbag goes to…Elba Lazaro for her performance in The Barbie Aisle. Let’s watch!” She would also probably win best Foreign Language Battle. Lazaro v. Lee in the heart of East L.A.