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Following her lead, I said, "In the next aisle they have low-riding VW buses and Cadillac Escalade MP3 holders that light up."

David dropped his head. "Tinker Toys and Lincoln Logs were my favorite things to play with when I was a kid. Now most of the toys are passive rather than active. There was a time when a kid had to use his imagination and creativity to entertain himself with the toy. Now, he pushes a button and sits back, and the toy entertains him."

"Look on the bright side," I said, pointing to a corner in which giant plush-toy dogs were stacked. "It required creativity on someone's part to arrange those two on top to make it look like they're humping." This time, it was Jen who dropped her head.

Rob and Jen didn't find the water gun they'd been looking for, but they grabbed a few games.

"I'm happy we're not kids anymore," David said as we made our way toward the exit.

"I'm happy to be all grownup, too. It's, like, people think more complicated is better," I said. "Everything's been automated. It's brighter, it's louder, it sings and dances or it comes with a DVD that kids can zone out to. This stuff would just give me a headache. It's no wonder so many freakin' kids have ADHD."

"I agree, no one knows how to focus any -- Hey, look at that!" Jen said, stopping by the gumball machines. "I want one!" She dug around her purse for 50 cents, dropped the coins into the machine, and retrieved a monstrous gumball made to look like a dinosaur egg. In the car, Jen gnawed at the top of her egg in search of the sour candy center. With a wad the size of a golf ball hindering her tongue and a sugar high kicking in, she garbled, "Now, what were we talking about?"

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