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  • Writer's pictureJoe Pace

Player of Games, #103: Play-Doh Fuzzy Pumper Barber Shop

Take a deep breath, folks, and then get it out of your system. Yes, this boxed beauty, whether it was a game or a toy, belongs here almost - but not entirely - exclusively because it was called, somehow, the Fuzzy Pumper. Maybe because you pumped Play-Doh through the perforated pates of these plastic victims and it fuzz? It's reminiscent of Emma Stone's Bella Baxter character in Poor Things, referring to sex in her toddler mentality as "furious jumping". Fuzzy pumper.

Done with the belly laughs? God, I hope I never am.

We had some version of this. Put the bullet-shaped client in the chair, push the hair out, and then cut it or comb it or whatever. I must admit I never really saw the appeal of Play-Doh. It was essentially modeling clay, weaponized once it hardened into little indestructible shards that hide in the thick rugs of the late '70s and early '80s. I suppose I should use present tense, as this lacerating pastime is still out there, still being marketed to children and being momentarily embraced by nostalgic parents or desperate kindergarten teachers before they remember the agony of mixed colors that are never the same and the fucking miniature punji sticks in the rug. Furious jumping, indeed.

I will confess that there was some morbid fascination with watching the strands of Play-Doh emerge from the domes of these bizarrely happy creatures, like worms fleeing rain-soaked turf. I don't think I did much styling. I was more of a close shave man, beard and hair alike. Still am.

Fuzzy pumper, people. For real.

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