SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Bop It, Pop!


October 07, 2011

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska
- The other day, my son Liam and his best friend Gabe were playing a little plastic game called “I’ll Dog.”
jpg Dave Kiffer

At least that’s what I saw when I picked it up later to look at it. Liam corrected me, and he noted I was holding it upside down.

“It’s called ‘Bop It, Dad.’”

“Bop It Dad is a funny name for a game,” I replied.

He rolled his eyes and sighed, which is the way most of our conversations end these days.

And he is not even a teen yet. Some people say that 10 year olds are officially called “tweens.”

Not that I know what a “tween” is. Tween what? The Devil and Deep Blue Sea? A rock and hard place?

Sounds too much like a “twain.” And as a 10 year old, Liam is clearly “marking twain.” Without the fence white washing, of course.

Yes, I digress.

Anyway, about this danged toy.

It has the shockingly unusual ability to make children do things.

Without any guilt or threat involved!

It simply gives a command and the child rushes to complete it before time is “up” in a couple of seconds.


I mean, does the 10 year kid that you are in charge of do that when you ask him or her to do something?

For that matter, does the 37 year old kid or 55 year old kid that you are in charge of do that?

I didn’t think so. But more on that later.

Here’s how it works.

The machine says “bop it.”

The child then “bops” the Bop It button.

Then the machine says “twist it.”

The child then “twists” a knob on one end.

Then the machine says “pull it.”

And the child “pulls” a knob on the other end of the toy.

Then it starts going faster and faster and the order of the commands changes and the player eventually messes up and has to start all over again.

Naturally, there are newer, fancier versions of the game with more commands called, of course, XT and Extreme.

How come something can’t be really cool these days unless they label it “extreme?”

Which reminds me, I am overdue for today’s “extreme” nap. I’ll get to that in a minute.

Anywhoooo, this fiendish game - dang those Chinese and their cheap plastic mind control machines – actually gets Liam to quickly respond to commands. And there is no rolling of eyes or sighing involved.

Which leads me to think, that we – the parents of America – need to develop a similar “toy.”

We could call it “Chore It.”

Imagine, they push a button and it says “Pick Up Your Clothes.”

And they do.

Then the machine says “Eat Your Vegetables.”

And they do.

Then it says “Clean Your Room.”

And they do.

All you need to do is make it a “game” and they score points for doing the tasks. How cool is that?

After all, the best we can do now is bribe them with an “allowance” and all that seems to engender is “discussion” over whether the allowance offered is “market rate” or not.

But why stop there? As I noted there are older “kids” who need a little bit “encouragement” along these lines as well.

So we can have a “Chore It: Senior Edition.”

The machine says “take out the trash.”

And they do.

The machine says “fix the leaky faucet.”

And they do.

The machine says “put the toilet seat back down.”

And they do.

Unfortunately, the senior edition folks are less inclined to be inspired by flashing lights and “high scores” to strive on.

Flashing lights just give them headaches at this point and “high scores” are not good when you are playing in the High Cholesterol and High Blood Pressure Fantasy League.

Perhaps, we could add two other commands that would only occur after the other tasks were successfully commanded and completed.

I would suggest “Pop a Cold One” and “Hit The Couch, Creampuff.”

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Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
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