The best thing about the dominance of video game culture among kids, to me, is that it left the pinnacle of toy culture right where I remember it: the battery operated ride-on toy car. If you are between the ages of 20 and 30, you will remember well the respectful, barely contained silence that came over the room when the commercials for those things came on. And you remember the seething hatred you felt for anyone in your neighborhood whose parents were actually indulgent enough to buy him one of those things. However, since video games came along and soon after became far superior at mimicking cool adult things than "real" toys, that was it. The battery-operated ride-on toy car represented the highest form of molded plastic evolution. It was—and, thanks to Nintendo, still is—the best toy-toy ever, which is maybe why some guy had to steal it from his kid last month.
On the night of April 14, a West Knoxville woman reports that a man broke into her home and stole the car out of the basement. Apparently, the man was the woman's estranged ex-husband, who had purchased the toy for "their" daughter. Now that there was no more they, the coveted plaything would be his.
Two days later, he came back and stole two rose bushes, which is weird.
Kate McClaskey contributed to this report.