Collectable toy kept in package exasperates family

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PAPULA FALLSDespite the constant pleading of his family, Papula Falls resident Bruce Kennedy refuses to remove his “Darth Tater” Mr. Potato Head toy from its original packaging.

The stubborn and deluded Kennedy continues to keep the toy in its box, cast upon a neglected shelf amongst a scattershot of pop-culture artifacts that includes a Hot Wheels Echo-1 and a Batman Pez dispenser (which Kennedy removed from the package to get to the sumptuous candy inside).

“My hope is that one day, maybe 20 or 30 years from now, Darth Tater will be worth a lot,” said Kennedy, whose knowledge of collectibles is based mostly on assumptions and a handful of American Picker episodes.

Kennedy purchased Darth Tater, a Star Wars variant of the popular Mr. Potato Head toy, when it was released by Hasbro in 2005. At the time, it retailed at $7.99 USD.

Seven years later, Darth Tater is still widely available, though now retailing at $9.99. The significance of the 25 per cent price increase has naturally been blown way out of proportion by Kennedy.

“If the jump in price indicates anything, it’s that Darth Tater could be worth almost $200 by next Christmas,” said the lackluster collector, who has no concept of supply-side economics or basic math.

Kennedy’s wife and two children have not been quiet regarding their disdain for his ignorant obsession for the never-enjoyed knickknack which is slowly deteriorating in the uncontrolled environment of his study.

“It’s not even mint anymorethe corners of the box are crushed and there’s beer splatter on the graphics,” said Jeremy Kennedy, Bruce’s fourteen-year-old son and amateur toy collector, who knows a hell of a lot more about collecting than his old man.

“His record collection is just as bad,” Jeremy continued. “He likes to boast about his David Bowie albums, but all he’s got is a scratched-up copy of Let’s Dance.”

“It’s not even like he has the full set of Star Wars Potato Heads; he only has the one,” said Cheryl Kennedy, Bruce’s wife. “I hope he’s not banking our fiscal future on the goddamn thing.”

Kennedy remains steadfast in his investment, despite the emotional toll on his loved ones from his incompetent curatorship of worthless baubles.

“Yesterday, my seven-year-old daughter was crying at me that keeping him [Darth Tater] in the package ‘makes him feel sad’,” said Kennedy. “My kids have no goddamn clue how to care for movie memorabilia.”

"When it’s passed on to their grandchildren as the Kennedy family heirloom, they’ll be glad they didn’t get their greasy, cheese-string-pulling fingers all over this priceless piece of pop culture."

Kennedy routinely ignores his daughter’s desperate wails as he pointlessly dusts his very common-place, extremely-fun-out-of-box figurine.

“Goddammit, I think she’s been watching Toy Story 2 again. Fucking Pixar.”

M. Scott Caldwell is The Daily Sprat’s senior pop culture correspondent whose mint-in-package collection of marital aids moulded in latex from famous adult film stars are worth a surprising amount of coin, thanks in part to inflation and the general perversions of our modern world.

“The Science of Love, for the Love of Science”

Aperture Laboratories New Weighted Companion Cube Dating Site

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Meet Bill, Test Subject #678. His story is a typical one here at Aperture Laboratories. Bill finds himself in the perfect sterility of the Relaxation Vault, awakened from stasis with the great privilege to participate in an Aperture Science Enrichment Center test program only to be ensnared by grief at the sudden realization that he is alone and unloved.

We at Aperture Laboratories have wrestled with the pathetic frailties of human test subjects like Bill for decades. Attempts have been made to compensate for these instances of mental relapse, including promises of grief counselling and cake upon completion of testing.

However, humans like Bill need more than corporate administered trauma therapy and the increased serotonin levels that come from anticipating the engorgement of black forest cake. Though it may seem laughable to you or I, human test subjects require a healthy dose of something far less tangible: love.

Test subjects who are afflicted by this unfortunate cognitive process may be pleased to hear that Aperture Science has developed the Love Organizing System for Emotional Restoration (L.O.S.E.R.), a network-based relational-resolution algorithmic system, or “dating site”.

L.O.S.E.R. aids in matching repulsively despondent humans with appropriate Aperture Science Weighted Companion Cube surrogates.

In keeping with Aperture Laboratories’ spirit of continuous testing, GLaDOSthe Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System responsible for the L.O.S.E.R. program’s developmentannounced that the program is part of a greater scientific initiative to methodically hypothesize the oft misunderstood human concept of love.

Such a grand endeavour must surely have excited the surviving Aperture employees, who despite their human limitations have always shown a wilful determination bordering on insolence. Surely, the resultant line-ups to volunteer for testing would have left many employees with the feeling that they would be left out of the program. However, members of the Aperture team were likely grateful to learn that participation in the program has been made mandatory for all.

“Here at Aperture, we will capture your heart,” announced GLaDOS, “as well as any connected organs, limbs, tissues, and freedoms.”

The L.O.S.E.R. dating site has been tailored to be human-friendly, with simple prompts, rounded graphical surfaces, and pretty colours. Upon completion of a rigorous questionnaire, the test subject is presented with a narrowed selection of Weighted Companion Cube variants.

The test subject can then make a final selection based on numerous traits, including gender associations and sexual orientation. The selected Companion Cube will then appear in the test subject’s relaxation vault via the Aperture Science Vital Apparatus Vent for their first romantic encounter.

Should the courtship prove fruitful, the test subject and the chosen Companion Cube are invited to move to the more “intimate” setting of an Aperture Science Extended Relaxation Chamber. These are fitted with bed, chair, Aperture Science Durable Weight-Supporting Surface, or “floor”, and other furnishings that may be required for an emotionally fulfilling engagement.

The consummated human and Companion Cube pair will then be subjected to a number of gruelling live-fire military courses, resplendent with sentry turrets, crushing spike plates, lasers, and pits of toxic soup that will both challenge and solidify the test subjects’ relationship with their Companion Cubes.

These tests have already yielded a wealth of information, most relevant being the psychological implications of the human-Cube relationships.

Isolation, coupled with situations of extreme stress, has led many human test subjects to form emotional bonds with the inanimate Companion Cubes. Successful completion of a test sequence is entirely dependent upon this bond, which we shall assume is “love. A subject and Cube pair in a relationship of mutual respect and co-operation is more likely to survive a deadly laser maze, whereas a pair-up with a weaker bond will more likely find themselves at the bottom of a pool of toxic waste, the human subject having been emancipated from his or her spine, the successful completion of the test now questionable.

Similarly, jealous test subjects have been known to cause insurmountable damage to testing facilities when suspicions of Companion Cube infidelity prove indisputable.

“We have learned so much about ‘love’,” comments GLaDOS. “Did you know zero out of 500 people survive a broken heart? Regardless of what instrument we use, or what part of the heart we destroy. Sad.”

Upon completion and survival of the test, the human test subject, now made emotionally and psychologically whole, is instructed to part with his or her Companion Cube by depositing it into the Aperture Science Emergency Intelligence Incinerator for immediate euthanasia.

The requisite of love fulfilled, the test subject can then be queued into the normal testing cycle.

“After thousands of tests we believe we understand the concept of ‘love’,” pontificated GLaDOS, “provided that love is the following: inflicting physical, emotional and mental pain on another sentient being; controlling and manipulating said being; taking possession of said being’s meagre assets; knowing all aspects of said being’s life in order to more efficiently manipulate and control them. Accordingly, it is safe to say that we here at Aperture Science… love each and every… one of you. To pieces.”