Who buys a parking garage for a kid?

7c9f7773ca58cd8311c3a8e6471d216a

My partner Todd (Serendipity Encouraged) asked his readers: “What’s the first toy you remember loving?”

And I immediately thought of the Fisher Price Parking Ramp. It was one of the most prized toys at the Montessori after school daycare I attended in 1977, trumped only by the Fisher Price Airplane With Airport. As dumb as the toy was, I remember running to it every day, spending an embarrassing amount of time zooming the Little People up and down in the elevator, gassing up their cars, and generally ruining the environment.

Can you imagine the toy pitch meeting, circa 1970?

MR. ROBARTS
Okay! That Airplane With Airport is selling like hotcakes. What should we follow it up with?

FRANK
A firehouse. With a working fire pole that the Little People can actually slide down.

DONALD
How about a Cape Canaveral rocket? With astronaut Little People!

MR. ROBARTS
That’s… fine, I guess. [sighs] But just not exciting enough, men.

GARY
[leans back in chair, lights a cigarette] I got it, Mr. Robarts. I know what our next top seller is.

MR. ROBARTS
We’re all ears. You gave us Middle Manager With Office, after all.

GARY
A Parking Ramp. A goddamn Parking Ramp.

DONALD
Christ. Here we go.

FRANK
Why do you hate children, Gary?

MR. ROBARTS
[sits up, eyes wide] Woah. WOAH! Tell me more.

GARY
So the guy parks his car. Then he gets in the – check this out – ELEVATOR, and goes to work.

MR. ROBARTS
We’ll sell it at Toys ‘R’ Us right next to Middle Manager With Office!

GARY
Then he’s done working and he gets back in the elevator and gets his car, and drives it down the ramp. Maybe gets some gas if he’s on low.

MR. ROBARTS
Gary, you’re getting a raise.

DONALD
HOW IS THIS BETTER THAN FIREHOUSE OR ROCKETSHIP?

FRANK
[gathers up his papers] I’m moving to a commune in Ohio. Don’t bother sending me my last check.

GARY
Thanks for the raise, Mr. Robarts. [takes a drag on his cigarette] Let me tell you about my next project, Waiting Room With Receptionist.