REMEMBER the Cabbage Patch Kid craze of the early 1980s...

Salmagundi

October 12, 1992

REMEMBER the Cabbage Patch Kid craze of the early 1980s? The dolls were in such demand that there was a constant shortage on the shelves. Kids everywhere could be seen carrying their dolls with them. There was even a Cabbage Patch Kids cartoon.

Today, Cabbage Patch Kids are virtually unheard of. Instead, a new craze is creeping in. It's on key chains, earrings, necklaces, car --boards and pencil erasers. People suction them to windows and dress them in outfits like their own.

Why it's the Norfin Trolls -- gnome-like, flesh-toned dolls with beady eyes, stiff neon hair, flat noses and three fingers on each hand.

What they are is ugly.

We could understand the desire for Cabbage Patch Kids. They were cute, orphaned and, with some imagination, looked a little like us.

But what does it say about humanity that we've gone from relating to cute, dimple-faced dolls to pug-nosed, digit-deficient trolls?

We can't blame this change on an unequal balance of supply and demand. The trolls are sold in malls, drugstores, card shops, bookstores, gift shops, and toy stores. We've even run across them in our local convenience store.

We can't explain it via natural phenomena wherein live trolls were discovered and expected to replace the dog as man's best friend.

Maybe this is evidence of a decline in human morale. Are we so guilt-ridden by the hazardous pollutants and environmental damage we've created that we can envision nothing more than physically stunted, chemically stunned, ugly, troll-like children in our future?

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