What are they on about?
Here is the text of a letter which I shall shortly be sending to the Disney organisation, with a copy to Woolworths (for information).
"Dear Disney, "Congratulations on your new film, Toy Story 2. I haven't seen it yet, but judging by the volume of merchandise available I am sure it will be a huge success.
"Alex and I have only just got round to watching the original Toy Story. And to be honest, Alex didn't pay much attention to the video, since a lot of the screenplay went over his three-year-old head.
"But when a Buzz Lightyear figure showed up in a packet of breakfast cereal the next week, he welcomed it like an old friend.
"As it happened, the character's name meant even less to Alex than the plot of your movie. But he quickly created his own version, using familiar words.
"Consequently, we now share our lives with a gentleman called Buzz Right Ear.
"Unfortunately, the arrival of Right Ear in our once happy home coincided with his arrival in our Woolworths. In fact it would be fair to say that Right Ear is massive in oolies, for not only have he and his chums taken over several aisles, but Buzz himself is represented in a variety of forms, chief of which is a large figure retailing at pound;26.75.
"So determined is Alex to replace his miniature Buzz with the full-size (and full-price) version that he now speaks of little else. Only when mummy told him that if he didn't shut up he would get a thick ear, did he modify his demands. He now wants a Thick Buzz Right Ear.
"An additional problem stems from my ill-advised attempt to turn this obsession to educational advantage.
"When I let slip that the toy astronaut's real name corresponds to the distance light travels in a year, Alex demanded to know why. We are now exploring the vexed question of whether light consists of waves, or particles that behave like waves. But already I feel like a man trying to dig his way out of a black hole.
"So while this probably isn't the sort of request you get every day, I'd like to say: When you make Toy Story 3, could you possibly dumb it down a bit?
"Let's face it, we never had this sort of trouble with the mouse."