Muppets at Work
If you were to select a character from Sesame Street to have a career in construction, who would you choose? Cookie Monster for demolition maybe. Oscar seems like he’d fit the foreman role. The last character you’d ever expect to find on a fictitious construction site run by muppets is Ernie.
As an aside, muppet construction sites probably give the worst cat calls to passersby. “I know my ABCs, next time won’t you play with me.” Or “Hey Little Miss Muffet, check out this tuffet.”
Anyhow, Ernie and Bert don’t strike me as the construction type. Interior design maybe. But outside on a worksite, operating heavy machinery? Hard to believe.
Yet here’s the proof. Ernie happily wearing a hardhat and operating a magnetic crane. I don’t know what the name of this toy is, it was a garage sale find. We’ve taken to calling this toy ‘Construction Ernie.’
Construction Ernie is driving what appears to be a small construction crane with a magnetic winch attached. It can probably pick up small coins and nails. My daughter has yet to discover Ernie’s magnetic abilities.
It looks like one of those cranes that’s often featured in the climactic moment of an 80s action movie. You know, the one where the hero tracks down the bad guys to a junk yard. And discovers some damning piece of evidence in the wreckage of an abandoned car. Just as our hero finds it, the car is magnetically lifted towards a car compactor. Cut to a dramatic close-up of the villain cackling maniacally in the seat of that crane.
How could you Construction Ernie?
When my daughter plays with Construction Ernie, she doesn’t hold 80s action heroes hostage. She just runs Ernie along the ground with his wheels and makes the appropriate construction noises.
Construction Ernie has two magnetic ball bearings, one at the front of his vehicle and the other at the back. It leads to me to believe that there are other construction-themed Sesame Street vehicles that can form a large train or convoy. I’m just guessing at the names here, but maybe there’s a Dumptruck Oscar, or Backhoe Big Bird, or a Port-a-Potty Truck Elmo. They’re probably all unionized.
Like many of my daughter’s toys, Construction Ernie is also a telephone. She holds the magnetic part up to ear and says “hello.” She’s probably calling Ernie’s union rep to complain about some kind of workplace safety issue or arranging his pay from the mob. Ernie’s all about kickbacks.
Lately my daughter has begun to cuddle with Construction Ernie and bring him into bed. He’s not soft, like most of her bedtime companions. But he’s probably just there to talk to the teddy bears about unionizing.