The family and I spent the holidays in Laguna Beach visiting the in-laws. Christmas dinner was to be a large affair, so my mother-in-law (who likes to be called “Maw-maw” by her grandchildren) wanted us gone Christmas day so she could prepare.
I figured to myself “Disneyland probably won’t be very crowded on Christmas day.” This turned out not to be such a great thought. Apparently there’s a big parade and one of the most crowded days of the year.
We went to “Downtown Disney” instead which is a bunch of shops outside of Disneyland. My youngest went to the Build-A-Bear workshop and picked out Frosty the Snowman. This worked for me, because Frosty was on sale for $15! And, as it turns out, he is still totally on sale, so go for it. Get two!:
Sadly, it won’t be as cool on the internet. When you buy Frosty at Build-A-Bear, you get the Build-A-Bear experience. First your daughter (or son if you happen to throw off Y chromosomes) gets to pick the animal out of the bin. This is a little creepy since they don’t have stuffing in them, and are kind of limp and deflated, as if they’ve fallen victim to some stuffing craving plush vampire.
One then proceeds with this detumescent bag to the heart table where one chooses and inserts a heart. Some have messages written on them. Some have electronic features.
Things get a little weird now. You go to the stuffing machine and hand your limp transplant recipient to a poor girl who is working her way through college by wearing a ridiculous polka dot uniform and stuffing bears. This girl is kinda hot.
What the hot chick does is start working a hole in Frosty until it’s large and gaping. Then she slides Frosty over this long thick tube and slides him back and forth… back and forth over the tube so that the white ropy stuffing that is shooting through the tube fills Frosty evenly. Under this care, Frosty starts to get firm and hard.
I notice that it’s getting uncomfortably warm here in Build A Bear.
Anyway, I swear I’m not making this up. That’s what they do. While this is going on there is some little chant or ceremony that they involve the children in so they participate in the “magic.”
When Frosty was done, she pulled him off the tube, and I couldn’t help but notice the odd bits of stuffing still falling out of the tube and onto Frosty’s face and stomach. In the interest of maintaining my child’s innocence I refrained from the “money shot” comment that came to mind, and just played it straight.
(As an aside, I assume that the whole symbolism is deliberate. Either it’s an elaborate inside joke or else a conspiracy by a bunch of pagans to corrupt our children by involving them in some bizarre fertility rite.)
We get on the computer, name “Frosty (my daughter chose the name “Frosty” which seemed appropriate,”) got the birth certificate printed, paid and left.
Frosty is a pretty cool bargain for 15 bucks. He lights up his hat and rosy cheeks, sings a song. I think his hat lights. Pretty cool.
We go home to Maw-maws and enjoy a delicious feast. Meanwhile, the panty bomber sets his underwear on fire while on an airplane, thereby creating a world wide panic.
A couple of day’s later, it’s time to say goodbye to California. We pack up and go to Long Beach Airport. Scylla and family travel light. We don’t check anything. We have two carry-ons. My eldest daughter has her Nintendo, and the youngest is carrying on Frosty. She gives him a kiss and puts him on the conveyor to the X-ray machine, and then it’s off through the metal detector.
Waiting at the other end of the conveyor belt for our luggage, we can see the screen of the X-ray machine. My bag goes through. My wife’s bag goes through. The Nintendo goes through… and the machine stops.
There, on the screen, is Frosty in X ray crossection. “Wow,” I think . “There sure are a lot of wires and battery packs and stuff inside Frosty for just a little stuffed animal.” In fact, Frosty looked kind of stereotypical up there. If you were a TV producer, and you needed for purposes of plot a stuffed animal with a bomb inside of it… and if you needed it to look really obviously like a bomb so that the moment it showed up on the X ray everybody in the audience would immediately recognize it as a bomb… Well, then you have a pretty good idea of how Frosty looked. “Boy, he sure does look like he has a bomb inside of him,” I thought.
Unfortunately, that thought was simultaneously shared by about 15 suddenly alert security personnel.
An alarm went off. Frosty was grabbed and thrown into a metal bin and then sealed. My family and I are surrounded, by people in uniform. I am feeling totally befuddled. My wife, being present in the moment is informing everyone loudly that Frosty lights up and sings songs so he has electronics in him. They take Frosty out of the bin… and they dissect him right there.
Frosty was sealed pretty well at Build a Bear. The stuffing hole was showed shut. There is no gentle access to Frosty’s innards. He is brutalized.
My daughter is speechless and horrified. Me too.
Now at this point, I could say something about the stupidity and insensitivity of the security ripping my kids’ bear apart. It wouldn’t be true though. I understand why they did it. Probably, I might have warned them about Frosty’s electronics and saved everybody a bit of excitement. So, it’s my fault.
I will say this though: They very moment they determined that Frosty was just a toy, they started laughing. They apologized to my daughter, and one nice guard spent about ten minutes putting him back together, and they even sewed his hole shut again. They made a big deal of giving her back to my daughter so she wouldn’t feel traumatized. They made a really big deal about it and really made over her.
I have nothing bad to say about these folks. They did a great job, but boy oh boy, Frosty really did look like a bomb.