I did most of my growing up in the late 80s and early 90s. A time marked by prosperity and good times, or so it seemed in our household. So, Christmas was an opportunity for us to hunt down the things we wanted, put them on a list and gather them for the year ahead.
One particular holiday season, my little brother had his sights set on a Nintendo. He launched his campaign in September and really dialed things up in mid-November. He posted lists on the refrigerator. He marked catalog pages. He managed to work Nintendo into just about every conversation he had with anyone in the family. Although he’d been informed that his one desire was too expensive for the Christmas budget, he was undeterred.
So, when Christmas morning finally rolled around, it wasn’t terribly shocking when he didn’t get the Nintendo he was hoping for. Instead, my folks bought him an odd hand-held computer baseball game that required about 14 D batteries. Needless to say, he was disappointed. Which manifested itself into anger. If I remember correctly, he eventually wound up in his room, facing the wall, cursing the world.
His tantrum worked. The next day, the whole family piled into the Astro minivan and drove to Wal-Mart. The baseball game was returned and a brand new Nintendo went into the basket. The one stipulation was that he had to share his new toy with us. He did—and within a couple of minutes we were like three zombies in front of the TV, hour after hour, playing Super Mario Brothers and Duck Hunt repeatedly until our thumbs were sore.
I suppose the moral of this story is that we really didn’t have any at the time. We were rotten kids. We saw a lot of commercials that told us we needed a Nintendo. We also had a couple of rich kid friends who told us we needed one as well. Looking back, my little brother had no choice but to fight for his right to get the thing he wanted and, in the end, he prevailed.
Merry Christmas, folks. No matter what you do this holiday, accept no substitutes.