So there I was, a grown man standing in the aisle at Toys R Us, like I’d done every week or so that winter.
I didn’t have a kid with me, but the staff didn’t stare. I was in the aisle outside the video game area, looking at the Skylanders collection, checking for rare figures. Some of the Skylanders — a collection of physical toys that interact with a video game series of the same name — are harder to find than others, and the scarcity hooked me, and made me ruthless.
One time I snatched a Wrecking Ball away from a 4-year-old before he even had a chance to reach for it; would this be one of those days? I was swinging through around noon, when I landed my best find ever: a Ninjini, the purple, vaguely Christina Hendricks-like genie/ninja that was one of the scarcest figures in the series. They had one left, and as I plucked it off the hook a week before my kid’s eighth birthday, I had one thought: I am the dad of the year.