Square Pegs, Square Holes, and the Shape of Things to Come

Struggling to put a square peg in a round hole is an adorable expression of childish incompetence. Struggling to put a square peg in a square hole is a less-adorable example adult incompetence, because some asshole didn’t do their job and there’s no way to even find out who because they already have your money. Behold the toy teaching little TNG this lesson early!

More driving fun than Mario Kart

Isn’t it pretty? Isn’t it fun? Isn’t it appalling that the sky blue square block isn’t a cube, but also isn’t obviously not a cube. To the untrained eye of anyone but a Terminator that colourful cube-alike is a trap of frustration, almost fitting the hole. And like every other example of the word “almost” it means “annoyingly and absolutely NOT”. Because only the exactly right yet visually indistinguishable orientation of this pseudocube will actually pass through the square hole.

It’s a masterpiece of frustration. It’s the only way of using a lump of wood to damage a baby’s understanding of cause and effect without being arrested. At least Rubix cubes come with colourful warnings that they’re going to make you waste your time twisting things round and round. It’s My First Hellraiser, but more evilly frustrating, because at least the Lament Configuration looks  like it’ll be painful to deal with.

This isn’t a toy, this is training new brains to reject Euclidian geometry before raising them to fight Lovecraftian monsters. We can only imagine their teddys would be both amazing and grounds for severe psychological review, the only stuffed toys to require superstring stitching.

This solid chunk of failure is worse than pathetic, it’s apathetic. Everyone involved in assembling this child’s toy plodded through the motions without the ideas of children or joy even occurring to them. Nobody tried a a prototype, nobody picked up a product to play with, not even once, because it’s the most immediately obvious flaw short of making the blocks out of grenades. This toy was pitched, designed, tested, marketed, and sold by the soulless machine of capitalism without one person spending a second on the actual product.

I’ve thrown away the cube. Making me smarter than everyone in every Hellraiser. But it still opened my eyes to a world of terrible realisation.

EVERY peg and hole toy has a similar problem. Not the exact same cubic shortfall, but an analogous carelessness of cash-extraction over actual function. Behold this beautiful shape toy with its circle, triangle, and square.

My first ATLAS detector

But it doesn’t have a circle, triangle, and square. It has circular, triangular, and square prisms. Even when they’re perfectly shaped you still need to orient them to fit them through the holes. Which is fine, and fun, but it would be so much more fund and fundamental to have a sphere, tetrahedron, and cube. Those would fit through any face while tactilely teaching kids with shapes which are more basic AND more interesting. But they’d cost slightly more to make so we just don’t. Ever! I’ve never even seen such a toy! Because even our “simplest” activities have assumed and unmentioned conditions interfering with their basic functions just to make more money for someone else.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to complain that every problem is caused by capitalism. Some are just stupid! Behold that bottom string:

Yes, you red string, you SHOULD try to hide at the back in shame

That rubber thread prevents the pieces from falling out, and was designed by someone who hasn’t even heard of having children. They think they’re making props for a diplomatic exchange of concepts with energy aliens who haven’t had solid forms in star-centuries. Because you, an adult, can reach through the gap to pull the blocks out. But any baby young enough to actually play with this can’t. So this cylinder is specifically crafted so prevent your child from playing in peace, instead springing up to demand your help every five to twenty-five seconds depending on their fine motor skills. That’s negative feedback for both child and parent.

Which is why I cut the bottom string. And you know something has to be severely annoying to make man to say that without flinching.

These toys teach true lessons: people will frustrate you just to save money, or because they didn’t actually think. So throw away their mistakes and cut through their obstacles. Lessons which will help the next generation with everything from playing with toys delivered by Jeff Bezos to invading the eco-crash retreat compound of the man himself.  

NOTE: both these toys are brilliant in every other way. Simple fixes make everything better!

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