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Toys the season to be jolly



December 21, 2013
Saturday PM

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska -
The other day, I was absently humming the “Toys Are Us Time of Year” song.

Because, after all, if THIS isn’t THAT time of year, well then I don’t know what other time of year that would be.

(Ignore all the dangling modifiers and participles and prepositions and suppositions in the previous sentence, this is a Grammar Cop Free Zone).

jpg Toys the season to be jolly

A Visit From St Nick
By Bob Englehart, The Hartford Courant
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.

Actually, as someone who has thus far semi-successfully raised a child to teen hood, I know that the true “Toys Are Us Time of Year” begins January 1 and ends December 31st. It is exactly as long as the Annual Ketchikan Rain Festival.

Speaking of the Rain Festival, I am a little tired of the endless blah blah Facebook yadda Twitter yadda about what seems to the present tense obsessed to be an unusual amount of local rain. And FLOODING too, OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG.OMG. #helphelpmyunderwearisfloating!

Seriously, folks, it rains here and getting 12 inches of liquid sunshine in three or four days is not necessarily a flood of Biblical proportions.

Is it irritating to have to swim down the drive to check the mail?

Do you hate having to take along a soap and towel when you go out to get the newspaper?

Do you get tired of hearing “at least you don’t have to shovel it” every five minutes?

Sure, sure and sure.

But having water back up in the storm drains and flood over Tongass Avenue is just not that unusual. Especially now that modern engineering has all sorts of new and improved, non-functioning but inexpensive (low bidder!), drainage systems the Outside experts want to saddle us with.

I particularly enjoyed the hay bales they used for the Third Avenue Bypass construction runoff a few years ago. It was really cool when they all ended up as hazards to navigation floating in Tongass Narrows.

Dang, that was a spectacularly torrential digression. Sometimes I just plain run off, don't I? So sorry.

( I have to pause for a second here, to get the “Toys Are Us Time of Year” song back in my head. Ah, that’s better).

Anyway, now that my son is a teenager, he just doesn’t want toys anymore.

Correct that. Let me say, he doesn’t want cute, fun, “happy to unwrap under the tree” types of toys anymore.

You know the kind, the ones that you wished you would have gotten when you were a little kid and when you look at them you say “awwww.”

Okay, now everybody say “awwww.”

I knew that you could.

Even today, when I see those sorts of cute, cuddly and loveable toys in the store, I say “awwww.”

I point them out to Liam and I say “awwww.”

“No way, Dad,” Liam replies, rolling his eyes.

I’m sure he would love one of those brand new Super X-Jam Gaming systems (we used to call them video game players but now they are ‘systems’).

Of course, the bad parent in me says, ‘buy him so one you won’t have to pay any attention to him until he flunks out of college.’

But that would be taking the easy way out.

Besides although you always want to raise your kids to be more successful than you, you never really want them to end up having more fun than you. Really, you don’t. And the problem with all those splashy new video games is that some of them actually look like fun.

Every parent knows that when a child reaches teendom the number one commandment is “though shalt not have fun.”  After all, just about every bad choice a teen makes usually springs from “having fun.”

Oops, another digression. My bad.

Natch, I prefer our family’s current slightly outdated “gaming system” and its evergreen video games such as “Prostate Pong” and “Weekend at Murder She Wrote.”

Those games, of course, bore poor Liam to tears.

And this is a boy who does not get bored easily. 

Exhibit One: He will sit and watch all three Tim Allen “Santa Clause” movies (each of which he has seen 742 times) back to back to back without a single yawn.

So now he wants a brand new super duper pooper scooper game system that is so high tech (we used to call that “new and improved”) that it not only plays the games for him it also makes pop corn, refreshes the ice in his sodas and fluffs up the couch cushions automatically.

I am holding out for the one that also does his chores and cleans his room.

No, no, no, Bad Dad! (Sound of rolled up newspaper striking my nose. Ouch.)

I guess it could – and will – be worse. I’m sure that soon girls will enter the picture and after they do, it is only a short drive down the “I need my own car, leave me alone and pay my insurance” expressway.

When I was just a little older than Liam, two of my classmates found sets of car keys under the Christmas tree.

The next year, I told my family I wanted a Porsche for Christmas and they complied.

Under the tree I found a little box that had the word Porsche on it. It was just the right size for a set of keys.

Instead it contained an inch long Matchbox Car, a lovely silver Turbo Carrera that of course lent new meaning to the term “lack of leg room.”

So, perhaps, I should just cave in and buy the Super X-Jam. It’s gotta be cheaper than a super rare (especially in Ketchikan) Porsche 959.

Although I suspect the 959 already comes with a Super X-Jam gaming system in the dash board.




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