Having fun with the Playmobil Security Check Point Amazon.com customer review meme

(Originally published at Amazon.com)

I'm a double amputee. How I got that way is not important. Let's just say, when you're at the laundromat, methamphetamine and the spin cycle don't mix.

I got to the Playmobil Security Check Point. Right away the checkers cast an uneasy glance at me. They were just staring me down, exchanging a couple of furtive comments to themselves. When I arrived at the metal detector they immediately gave me the third degree.

"Take off your shoes, please," the guard said.

"I'm a double amputee."

"Take off your shoes, please."

"Didn't you just hear me? I'm a double amputee. I have no shoes."

"Joking about this process is a felony, sir. Please remove your shoes."

"I'm not joking! Haven't you figured out by now that I don't have any shoes? What's your deal?"

Right then he pushed a button. A red light went off and sirens blared. Before I could speak a word in response I was whisked away by an unseen force, shoved roughly through a door, and dropped at an iron table in the Playmobil Interrogation Lounge. The door behind me made a locking sound, and I sat there for ten minutes in solitude.

Then a door opened, and a stiff-suited man with aviator glasses stomped in. "I'm Lieutenant Bahns Heck with airport security," he grunted. "You know why you're here?"

"No, honestly, I don't. The guard kept telling me to take off my shoes. But I can't, because as you can plainly see, I'm a double amputee."

"Uh huh. And I suppose you're going to tell me you got that way mixing meth and washing machines, aren't you?"


"I've heard it all before, son. Let me tell you something. These are different times. Our enemies lay in wait. They lay in plain sight. Sometimes they emerge from bonsai trees. Sometimes they're serving you Whoppers with fries. Sometimes they pop out of a giant cake at a pimp's birthday party. Sometimes they're your stepdad. There's no way to predict where the next threat's coming from. Do you understand me, traveler? Do you understand what I'm getting at?"

"What are you trying to infer, Lieutenant Heck?"

He sat down in the opposite chair, clenched his jaw and snapped his teeth. He gazed at me, deliberately raising the tension with a scowl, then diffusing it with an exhalation. He finally got to the point.

"You have no legs."

"That's correct."

He took off his aviator glasses. "Pop quiz. What else has no legs?"

"I... I don't know... um... single-celled organisms? Fish? Coffee machines? Personal massagers? Those little tags that you find on --"

Heck slammed down his fist. "Stop playing with me! You know full well what I'm getting at!!"

Then it dawned on me. Yep. I knew full well what he was getting at. It's followed me my whole life: the verbal taunts, the vicious rumors, the flagrant mistrust I'd come across every day of my damn life since the accident.

"Surely... you can't be serious... you don't mean to imply that I'm... I'm a..."

Heck slammed his fist on the table again. "Yes! You have no legs! And what else doesn't have legs?"

I bit my tongue. Here we go again.

"Fisher-Price figures, that's what!" Heck screamed. "You're in the Fascist-Price Terrorist Army, aren't you?"

"This is an outrage! I'm a full-fledged citizen like you! How could you mistake me for a Fisher-Price terrorist?"

"Where were you planning to go, let me ask you that?" Heck demanded.

"Just to the Playmobil Water Spa in Germany! I swear! It's therapeutic!"

"Are you sure?" Heck leaned in. "Are you sure you weren't headed to Play Family Boot Camp in East Aurora? To get your indoctrination on? Huh??"

"This is ridiculous! Look, I'm a Playmobil just like you! I just don't have legs! But I have arms, I have hands curved to grasp stick-like objects, and I have a hat on my head that pops off and exposes my cranial cavity LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE!"

Heck leaned in further, his invisible nose up against mine. "Listen, pokey. I've seen it all. I've seen the terrible things you only read about in your plastic laptop. And I know my history, bucky. Pawtucket '23. El Segundo '45. Zirndoft '75. I've seen Playmobil Pony Ranches left in bathtubs by careless children -- or so they say. I've seen Playmobil Pirate Ships left for dead in city dumps. 'Oh, they just outgrew them.' That's what they say. You really believe that? You know the fear those people put us through? And it's that fundamentalist orthodoxy of the Fisher-Price figuro-fascists that are behind all of it. I LOVE MY COUNTRY, PARTNER. And I WILL defend it!"

They let me go. But they never gave me back my hat, so now there's a big hole on top of my head, and it's raining.

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