One of the great things about Christmas is that there are still people out there who will save a kid the torture of an ugly sweater, a foreign-language biopic that “he’ll learn to appreciate later in life”, or a festively wrapped summer sausage and will just give ca$h! This year, with those kinds of people in our lineage, my kids cleaned up!
Now, considering that today is a full five days after the celebration for the blessed birth of the baby Jesus, my kids couldn’t stand to let that money go unspent for even one more day.
After a simple act of bribery on my behalf (“if you want to go spend your money, you need to get your rooms and bathroom cleaned,”– having that carrot to dangle is a little Christmas miracle for mommy) we headed through the snowstorm to the mall (or the “galleria” as The Middle has taken to calling it in preparation, I assume for his big move to California where he will become a pro skateboarder and share trick tips with Tony Hawk and Ryan Sheckler over a 6 pack of McNuggets!).
The Oldest and The Middle have two distinctly different buying styles. The Oldest takes for-ev-er to decide what he wants to buy. Then, he is struck with buyers remorse, before he’s even left the aisle! He changes his mind 10 times before leaving he store–sometimes without having bought anything at all! The Middle, on the other hand, is a swirling tempest of untapped buying power. Each selection he makes is followed with the question, “Now how much do I have left to spend?”. He won’t stop until every penny has been sent out into the world to do it’s part to help stimulate the economy.
So, after having spent most of his money at the alter of XBox, The Middle went in search of some toy that would wrap up his little spending spree. What he walked away with would, in the marketing and retail placement world, be described as a “game”. My stomach rolled a little as I realized that I had, indeed , played this game, and another very similar version, myself. This game consists of a cup and a couple of ping pong balls. The goal, if you haven’t guessed this already, is to bounce the ball onto the table and have it land in the cup (yes, some of us used to play that game with quarters…hmmm, now what was the name of that game? Oh, yeah! Quarters!).
Initially I was a little concerned that my son is getting such an early introduction to drinking games. Then I remembered how the games where played. It’s the person who lands the ball/quarter in the cup who gets to make the rules (remember the thumbs rule?) and ultimately takes the fewest shots. The best player is really the most sober kid at the party! I’m actually preparing my son for a more successful college experience and I owe it all to some product development guy at Hasbro (who, quite honestly is probably some 20 year old intern who stayed up late playing beer pong or quarters the night before the big “new product brainstorming session” and could think of nothing else to offer as an idea). Now, I need to find a way to “borrow” the new “toy” for the next wine & cheese Beerfest I’m throwing in our kitchen.