Sunday, December 18, 2005

Tis the season to be a cool grandpa.

Yesterday I overheard a man say he was getting “The Book of Knowledge” set of encyclopedias for his grandson for Christmas.

I remember those.

We bought them for around $12,000 when my first son was born from a company I think was called “Grolier”, which is Latin for “Look… books”.

Those books were prominently displayed in our living room so people would know that although at six months old he was still pooping his pants, we were preparing him to be a freakin genius.

That idea paid off 16 years later when I came home one day and my son said to me, “You know dad, sometimes there’s just not enough Cheetoh’s.”

There’s nothing like a private education.

As soon as we found out my wife was pregnant for my second son we got a call from the same salesman. It was uncanny; apparently he had the psychic ability to know when my wife was ovulating.

We spent another ridiculous amount of money on boxes of cards with words and pictures of animals. It came with a pen with a tip that would light up when the child matched the right word to the right picture.

It was suppose to reinforce the correct word in the child’s mind.

I remember briefly thinking that a rolled up newspaper would have worked just as well for a hell of a lot less money…. but that would be wrong.

You spend a lot of money trying to buy educational things for your kids that will improve their lives.

If you have boys they just want to make a fort out of the box the stuff came in.

So I’ve decided that my job as a grandpa is not to buy boring educational stuff.

I bought my grandson a remote control NIKKO Skyline GTR R34 racing car.

“What is this?”

“It’s a present for Alex.”

“He’s three years old.”

“I know isn’t it great? He’ll love this.”

“Did you read the box?”


“Are you an idiot? It says and I quote, “ CAUTION – ELECTRIC TOY: Not recommended for children under “8 years of age” as with all electric products, precautions should be observed during handling and use to prevent electric shock.

You bought this for a three year old?”

“First of all trust me; I know what I’m doing. Secondly it says not “recommended”. That’s like a guideline that’s not a law. Kids today are much smarter than they used to be. I saw on the news where age three is the new age ten.”

“You did not see that on the news.”

“Maybe it was on “The View”, but I saw something like that.”

“Are you sure it didn’t say forty eight is the new nine?”


“Admit it; you bought that car for yourself.”

“I did not. This is a safety issue. When Alex is sixteen he will already have driving experience. He’ll be way ahead of the rest of his peers. They may even lower his insurance rates.”

“Do I look like I’m smiling numb nuts?”

“No but give it time that insurance line was funny.”

“Not so much.”

“You know this isn’t fair. I want my grandson to have more than I had when I was a kid. Do you know what I had to play with when I was growing up? A stick, A STICK!!!

Do you have any idea of what that was like? Other kids would be playing army man; they’d have real helmets and real toy guns.

I had a sauce pot and a stick.

A pot and a stick, that’s what I had and I was damn glad to have it. My grandson is not going to be walking around the neighborhood with a pot on his head carrying his toy stick. Not my grandson.”

“Are you done?”

“No. I used to walk thirty miles on a sunny day to find the right stick. My father used to tell me, “You don’t know the meaning of the word stick.” Well I found out because I had to work to earn my stick. I wasn’t just handed any old stick. My grandson isn’t going to wake up one day and look in the mirror and say, “If I only had a stick.” Not my grandson.”

“Now are you done?”

“Can I give him the car?”

“A sauce pot and a stick? What was your nickname? Alfalfa? Were you one of “The Little Rascals?” He’s three years old. That remote control toy car you bought is bigger than he is. He’d be safer with your stupid stick.”

“He might poke his eye out. That’s what my mom used to tell me I was going to do with my stick.”

“I’d like to tell you what to do with your stick.”

“Can I please give him the car?”

“He can only play with it with adult supervision.”

“Kids think all adults have “super vision”. My mom could see things that I hadn’t even broken yet. She used to say she had “eyes in the back of her head.”

“Adult supervision means that his mother or grandmother needs to be watching his father and his grandfather as they play with Alex’s toy car.”

“Hmmm…. I should have bought two of them.”