Sunday, January 2, 2011

We jump off the Brooklyn Bridge

In the days leading up to Christmas, RT and I quietly decided to add this bit of 2nd-grader crack to the list. Turned out we'd both been thinking hard about it, independently, so it wasn't much of a discussion when one of us, I forget who, brought it up one night after Dan went to bed.

The thing that tipped the scale for me was this: Dan was invited to play at the homes of twelve friends in 2010. Of those twelve households, eleven owned a video game console. It's hard to argue against numbers like that. I know, eleven out of twelve friends is a dumb argument. The image of our family blindly following the families of Dan's eleven friends as they leap off that fabled bridge comes to mind, all twelve families plunging to our watery video game graves.

But it's not the numbers alone. It's what (I think) the numbers mean. Which is this: video games are not the expensive novelty item that they were when I was a kid--they're an essential (well, maybe essential is too strong a word) part of the shared kid experience. Kind of like bikes. And (dare I say it?) guns, which we also got for Dan and his sidekick Johnny, and which will appear in a later post. What it comes down to, I suppose, is that I was beginning to feel sorry for him. It really is kind of miserable when you feel like everyone has something cool and you don't.

A smaller factor was that Dan had pretty much given up on ever getting one. He pined for one every time he came home from a friend's house, but I'm sure he never thought we'd listen. And it's so much fun to grant a wish that someone believes will never be granted.

What happened to sticking to one's principles? Not sure. I guess when I looked closely, I couldn't come up with an excellent reason not to have a Wii. I don't think it will kill his imagination or suck time away from reading or playing non-video games. I don't think it will make him violent--if I were serious about curbing violent influences, I'd make him stop reading Clone Wars books.  I've already lost the battle against commercialism and the Lego and George Lucas marketing juggernauts. All that's left is my reluctance to compromise.

So, to mix metaphors, it's a slippery slope to the edge of the bridge. First it's a Baskin Robbins Star Wars birthday cake. Then it's Clone Wars cookie cutters, then Captain Rex shoes. Then Nerf guns. And now the Wii, and the frigid depths of the East River in January. But it's okay. It's okay.


  1. We LOVE our Wii... okay, maybe I love it and Ken and Emi like it a lot! The Wii is great because you have to get up to play it usually unlike the normal video games. We can't wait to play with you all when we next come to CA!

  2. You've got to get Dan the LEGO Star Wars game for Wii now. Three homeruns: LEGO, Star Wars, and Wii! -(EP's mom)