Hopes and dreams: Hey, they're wonderful things. They get us through bad times by giving us something to look forward to, and they prevent us from being complacent by making us yearn for what the future brings. I'm currently focused on the next year of my life, within which I aim to relocate, change jobs and totally re-adjust my life and my priorities. Among the plans I'm putting in place to ensure that happens, it would be easy for me to miss simple pleasures, to ignore what can make me happy in the interim. And Christmas is coming!
Now, my birthday falls at the end of November, a mere month from the celebratory date assigned to the greatest child ever born. I like to think that such closeness indicates possibilities of miraculous greatness in my own life, but some 29 years of evidence suggest otherwise. In fact, all it does is make other people really struggle with what to get me to show me that they love me, even when Nintendo is releasing a new console. My father called me just the other day, telling me that I am pain in the neck to buy for and asking if I wanted a joint present for my two great occasions this year. He asked if I wanted "one of those bloody Wii things."
Of course I want one of these bloody Wii things! Yet, freezing like a skittish, hungry bear that's stumbled across a fast food restaurant's bin, I panicked. I handed the phone to my wife and told them to work it out among themselves under the premise that I wanted a surprise. A few days later, I received some scarves (plural), gloves and pajamas. They are brushed cotton pajamas, and they breathe really nicely, but y'know, I can't play videogames in new and innovative ways with them (or can I ... ?). All they've done is raise the question about what they actually agreed to get me. I mean, I was offered a Wii - granted, it wasn't actually available to buy at that point - and I turned it down and got some clothes. Is one of the Nintendo wonder-consoles still within my grasp, I wonder?
This all makes me sound so horribly materialistic though, doesn't it? I'm not, I promise.
I don't want a Wii out of selfishness. I look at it as something that's going to finally get my family playing together. I watched the videos on the Nintendo site the same as everyone else, but the marketing ideal of "look at all these people who will buy our console" was lost on me. All I could see were the possibilities of my own family laughing and smiling like the people in the tiny movie. All I could envisage was me, off camera, laughing and joking and watching them enjoy themselves.
I know it sounds daft. But, hey, I've had great success with similar things. A couple of years ago I bought a board game called Play That Tune. There's a roll-out piano that you step on to play notes (badly), and other people have to guess what the whole arrangement is. My grandparents were around on Christmas Day, and my grandmother wasn't really able to stand on the piano. Instead, we rolled it out across both of their laps, and they pressed the buttons instead. As her hands were pressing keys that were, well, laid across his "bits," the pair of them were giggling and laughing like a couple of school kids. Afterward, everyone said how much fun it had been and how lovely it had been to see them having fun instead of sitting around just being in the company of others on Christmas Day.