Lost in Suburbia classic column: Two can’t play at that game
Columns share an author’s personal perspective.
I made the wrong New Year’s resolution.
This year I had resolved to lose weight and get in shape. What would have been a better use of my resolution, was to promise not to kill any more appliances.
The first casualty of the year was my vacuum cleaner. This was followed the next week by the near fatality of my coffee maker. And now, in the third case of my electronic serial killing spree, I have taken out my son’s PlayStation.
Of course, it was really more of an accidental manslaughter than a murder, because I didn’t mean to kill the PlayStation. My son had unplugged it from the TV, tied up all the wires, and put the whole thing in a shopping bag for me to pack and take with us on our weeklong vacation.
As he handed me the bag, he said, “Mom, when you pick up the bag, lift it from the bottom, not the handles, OK?”
What I heard was, “Mom, blah, blah, blah, OK?”
“Uh-huh,” I responded, thinking about the ka-jillion other things I still had to do to get us on the road.
Later, when it came time to pack the car, I grabbed three identical shopping bags by the handles. I carried three identical bags to the top of the steps leading to the garage. And then, suddenly, there was a violent ripping sound, and the handles broke off one of the bags.
Guess which bag was the one that broke? By the way, in case you weren’t sure … video game systems don’t bounce.
I watched helplessly as the PlayStation went plummeting onto the cement floor below. Little pieces of black plastic chipped off the bottom of the unit and went shooting through the garage like shrapnel.
“Take cover!” I yelled to the dog, who was following me in and out of the garage. He wove around the obstacle course of game system chunks and then sat and looked at me accusingly.
“What are you looking at?” I demanded. “It was an accident!”
“Nice going there, video game killer,” he said with his eyes. “You’re in deep doo-doo, now.”
I followed the trail of PlayStation pieces, picking them up as I went along until I got to the main console … or what was left of it. I picked it up and turned it over in my hands. Although it kind of looked like it had gone through a food processor, I was somewhat hopeful that it might still work. I decided not to tell my son and see if maybe he might not notice the dents and pieces that were missing and maybe, maybe, the thing might actually still work.
Being the observant kid that he is, though, he picked up on the damage right away. It might have had something to do with all the missing pieces and the duct tape I had wrapped around it to keep the top from falling off.
That’s when I admitted that I dropped it.
Still optimistic that the damage was just skin deep, I advised him to hook it up and give it a try. I looked on hopefully as he plugged in the cord and slid a video game in.
The PlayStation whirred to life, then made a sick, grinding noise and basically, ingested my son’s video game.
He looked at me forlornly.
I sighed. “I’ll buy you a new game system.”
“Okay,” he replied. “But I’m coming with you.”
“Why? Do you want to pick it out?”
“No,” he said firmly. “I want to carry it out of the store.”
This is a repeated Lost in Suburbia column, which has appeared in GateHouse Media newspapers since 2008. As Tracy Beckerman’s main column is shifting focus - her kids are grown and she has moved back to the city - we are rerunning her earlier work for readers who may have missed these the first time around. You can follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LostinSuburbiaFanPage/ and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/tracybeckerman.