I don’t know why dentists don’t give their toys out until right before you leave. They should give their toys out when you get there. That way, your kids have something to do in the waiting room.
No, they get to lick the same toy all the other patients licked.
I guess I get why they don’t give out the superballs early. Superballs are single-use. Basically, as soon as they started putting superballs in the toy chests, this question went out the window.
Also, the last thing they want is your toy showing up in the X-ray.
I suppose the reason they don’t give the prizes out at the beginning is that kids take forever to pick. This way, at some point the parents say, “Okay, just choose one. We have to go.”
That said, here’s a list of the prizes that are likely to be in the box so that your kids can decide ahead of time what they want. You can read it to them if you find this magazine in your dentist’s waiting room, in let’s say ten years from now.
Finger trap—This is basically just half of a lulav holder. Great for a child who is confident in his ability to talk his friends into putting their fingers in both ends, these work in a similar fashion to how if you try pulling hadassim out once you have them in the holder, they lose all their leaves. That’s how they get you. But meanwhile the aravos are falling out the bottom the entire Yom Tov.
Spider ring—This is a fake spider for pranking people. Is it supposed to scare them into thinking you have a spider on your own finger? But what are your other choices? Slip it onto people while they’re sleeping? Give your wife a ring box for your anniversary and she opens it and sees a spider? You’re the one losing that prank.
Jumping frog—This is a flat frog for which you push down the backside and it jumps, exactly like a real frog would! A lot of people keep these around for Pesach so they can use them for Tzefardeia. I don’t know which other prizes can be used for makkos—I guess superballs bouncing around the room for Barad, gauze for Dam, Kinim is easy…
Sticky hand—that immediately loses its stickiness. Either way, it’s a great toy for slapping people from across the room. Practically, it’s for picking up papers that you drop. Though more likely you’ll drop a whole stack of papers, so you can sit there the rest of the afternoon, picking them up one at a time.
“I missed. Now it has dust. I have to go wash it.”
Soap makes it stickier somehow.
In our circles, they should maybe call them “Basya arms.”
“Hey, there’s a baby out there!” SLAP.
“Okay, I’m trying again. I got a frog that time.”
Little ball maze—with a cardboard back that comes off. This maze is way too easy, unless it’s the kind with more than one ball, in which case it’s impossible. There is no in-between. Sometimes the maze is shaped like a watch, in case your kid who doesn’t wear a watch to tell time wants to wear one with a dumb game he can play in class.
Top—I have to ask: Does anyone ever pick the top? Yeah, that’s what I want from this box. What is the appeal of this? You spin it, you watch it spin… It’s not even like a dreidel; there are no sides for it to land on. It’s just the top part.
Tiny slinky—The one fun thing about a slinky, other than trying to fix it by going around and around until you realize it’s a lost cause and then storing the broken slinky for several years in case it fixes itself, is making it go down the stairs. This one cannot do that. Basically, it’s just a small representation that reminds you of a toy that used to be fun until they weren’t allowed to make them out of metal anymore.
Small maracas—Great for making noise for Haman in a relatively quiet shul. It’s less about stomping out his name and more about giving him nonthreatening ethnic background entrance music. It’s Haman (rattle rattle rattle)!
Erasers—that don’t actually work. They just call them erasers. Great if you want to replace a pencil mistake on your paper with a black streak and a hole.
Tiny back scratchers—that barely reach anything and then immediately snap and the scratchy end gets lost down your back. What kid is like, “Forget all these toys; I need to scratch my back”?
Whistle—This prize is a large reason dentists give out prizes at the end. This is actually a prize that they save for the kids who misbehave in order to teach the parents a lesson. I actually saw this whistle in something called a “classroom treasure box.” What genius teacher is giving out whistles? These whistles will end up living in your toy closet until the end of time because no one wants to put it in their mouth because who knows who else did? I would say the same for picking it out of the dentist bin, except that whoever might have tried it at least had their teeth brushed really well first. That’s another reason they offer the prizes afterward. In fact, I’m starting to think that many of these toys are not a reward for the kids but a punishment for the parents.
Of course, occasionally, you’ll stumble across something really good that isn’t on this list, like the dentist dropped his phone in there. “I don’t think this is the prize box. I think it’s the lost and found.” In fact, the dentist can actually start just putting out the lost and found box if he wants to save money while at the same time cleaning up his office. “Listen, sheifeleh, pick something; we have to go. You can have the mitten, the phone charger, or the pacifier. Wait, I want this.”
Mordechai Schmutter is a freelance writer and a humor columnist for Hamodia and other magazines. He has also published eight books and does stand-up comedy. You can contact him at [email protected].