Perfectly Fun Day
November 04, 2011
“It’s Perfectly Fun Day, Dad,” he shouted. “Mom says I can get a video game!”
At least that’s what it sounded like he said. When I asked him about it later, he claimed not to remember what he actually said. He just remembered his mother told him she’d buy him a video game and that made it a cool day, no matter what the day was called.
Anyway, it was an unusual moment because Liam’s mother almost never tells him she will buy him a video game. She usually suggests that if the game is that “important” he can save up his allowance and buy it himself. That – of course – is not the correct answer when you are 10 years old.
It’s not that she doesn’t approve of video games – although she would prefer he spent more time with a good book – it’s just that she doesn’t want to become one of those “enabler” parents who think child rearing involves plugging them in to a console or IPad and ignoring them. You know who you are.
And I can agree with her. We are not doing our children any favors by only preparing them for careers as Predator Drone operators.
But since I am also a guy, I don’t have a problem with occasionally buying him a new video game, as long as he lets me use it now and then!
Of course, I digress.
So, I was puzzled to hear that Charlotte would be buying Liam a video game.
Then it occurred to me that what she had told Liam, and he had not quite understood, was that it was “Permanent Fund Day.”
Which actually is “Perfectly Fun Day” to all of us who live here.
For absolutely no reason beyond the fact that we remember to register each year, we get somewhere north of $1000 from the State of Alaska to spend as we please.
“Perfectly Fun” indeed.
Now some families go a little wacky when their PFD arrives. They buy their kids cars, or IPads or four wheelers or flat screen TVs. Charlotte’s idea of going wacky is to buy Liam a video game!
Not that we don’t “blow” our PFD money. We “blow” it as a family, usually on some adventure “off the rock.”
We tend to think that a trip outside serves two functions. It improves our mental health (especially in a year like this where the rain is even more excessive than normal) and it also gives Liam a chance to – hopefully – learn something about somewhere new.
After all, the idea behind kids originally getting PFDs was that their parents were supposed to put aside the kid money and then give it to them when they graduated from high school to use for their “education.”
Putting the kid’s money aside for the future lasted about fifteen minutes, or until one kid heard that his friend’s parents had purchased a mini-bike for him.
Now, although some families actually use the windfall to pay off bills or taxes, most – it would seem – use it to buy things they wouldn’t have bought anyway. Perfectly Fun Day indeed.
And now many retailers – judging from the PFD sales – are indeed dependent on the multi-million dollar shot in the arm that the PFD brings each October. We are not “saving and investing for our future” because on “Perfectly Fun Day” the future is now.
So, it is okay if our family “splurges” and buys Liam a video game on PFD days (and you know he will remember to ask again next year!). Because at least we are not spending the whole thing buy him a mini-bike he will ride twice (that, natch, would be how Daddy would like to see “his” perm fund check cashed!).
And, since this is our family, there is still an “educational” component to Perfectly Fun Day. Liam wanted to buy the new Captain America video game. But Charlotte noted that it was rated T for Teen. So that got a big thumbs down for “inappropriate content” for 10 year old Liam.
But Daddy was happy because Liam ended up getting Madden 12, instead.
Contact Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org
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