The Dinglehopper

You've Probably Never Heard of Us

What’s the Mater?

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So, I picked up a diecast Lightning McQueen earlier this week because our toddler’s been playing with cars everywhere we go.  We’ve managed to scrounge up a few at home, but they’re all oddly sized for tiny hands.  And Cars was a big hit.

A couple days later, Lightning McQueen came down to dinner and I was informed that he was lonely.  “Need a Mater to play with him.”  Our toddler doesn’t ask for a lot.  We go shopping and play with balls and look at toys and then put them back on the shelf.  They’re fascinating but we have toys at home.  It’s great.

In other words, this is all my fault.  Even so, it’s still coming from a wonderful place.  Lightning McQueen is lonely.  He needs his friend.

Trouble is, Mater isn’t the star.  We watched Cars way too late.  And, Mater’s got his own spinoff show with its own line.

My day started with some Handy Manny meant to rouse our toddler, and me, quickly.  Six hours later one of us was napping.  I figured I could pick up a simple toy truck while I was out running errands.

Not so.  He’s no longer produced in the size and style that matches our toddler’s toy and is recognizable from the original movie.  I ended up checking Amazon.  He’s fifteen bucks.  Pretty much the same on eBay.

Why am I looking on eBay?  We swore we’d shield this burgeoning intelligence from the rigors and requirements of what’s referred to in consumer studies literature as the collector’s instinct.  We watch shows without adds on Netflix and borrow movies from the library.  And here we are. In 2006, he would have been the easiest Car to find. That irony hurts.

Waking up to Handy Manny isn’t all that bad.  The show has a lot going for it.  Having our toddler ask for a Pat and a Turner to fix the door seemed delightful.  Finding out the show ended three years ago was only the beginning of my disappointment.  A quick search revealed that there was a Handy Manny Talkin’ Toolbox.

A little more searching revealed that it was no longer available and collectible prices started at sixty dollars.  I’m still thinking about it, of course.  In the meantime I picked up a Black & Decker set.  It didn’t matter that the tools didn’t have googly eyes or voices.  It did matter that there wasn’t a flat head screwdriver.  “Don’t see Turner.  Can’t fix the door with just my hammer, Dada.”  Is that a collector ting or a practical thing?

But Mater?  Mater’s a big deal.  Lightning McQueen needs his friend.  We’d gone to visit my mother and do some shopping for her.  When I got back, I was greeted with, “Where’s Mater?”  We’re still looking for him.

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