This afternoon I sent my daughter off into a dilemma unwittingly. We were having tea out in the garden, one of the last days of summer if the forecast was to be believed. The winds were already howling fall.
As a treat on a Sunday, the girl got a chocolate egg, a Kinder Surprise. The surprise was less the egg itself than who had bought it. I don't normally do this. For decadence such as sweets and cartoons, I rely on Flucha. Normally.
This time, I had bought the eggs. A generous pack of four advertised a guaranteed two collectible figurines, two out of a total of ten urbanized smurfs (or is it smurves?) going about their business in town. My days of collecting are long over (and weren't overly long to begin with), but one of the smurfs on the picture did X-rays, and I wanted this for my desk.
The girl unwrapped her egg eagerly and started eating the chocolate halves. "Open, please", she said, handing me the yellow ovoid container previously hidden inside. I shook it. It rattled. Not a smurf.
Except it was. It was a smurf in three parts, to be assembled like a sofa from IKEA and with similarly dubious resilience. Back in the days, all Kinder figurines were monolithic and from much heavier material. Plastic, sure, but solid. People used to collect them because they were cute and exuded durability. What I unpacked was utterly worthless.
The girl wasn't interested in it either. She had finished her chocolate and took off to wash her hands. "Shoes off before you go inside", I hollered after her. Her head appeared from around the corner, then her body. She pointed at her sandals, then held her hands up in the air. What to do?
Her thinking was flawless. To go inside, she had to take off her sandals, but to take off her sandals, she needed clean hands. To wash her hands, she needed to go inside, and thus she was stuck – until, seconds later, I rescued her.
I undid her sandals and sent her in, mighty proud that she had seen the dilemma and acted accordingly. That almost called for another egg.