By Bob Niles
It’s starrrr–ted, the whole Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, Happy Festivus multi cultural onslaught of advertising we’ve all come to expect at this time of year. A season bombed with every imaginable product to make it all happy and bright. Magazines, television billboards, bus stop shelters and every newspaper are heavily pregnant with gift ideas for every person you ever knew. And my granddaughter wants it all.
She has learned, through my wife, ‘Ask and You Shall Receive’.
Now she knows better than to try that tactic out on mom and dad. They, as most parents do, give the kid the reality check and let them know ‘You Don’t Always Get what You Ask For’. And, to be fair to my wife, when our kids were growing up that rule applied too. But then God invented grandchildren for retail suppliers. And they with their wants, and gotta haves, fill the retail hoppers to overflowing at this time of year.
And you’re welcome! On behalf of my wife and her gold Visa card may this time of year carry you through the leaner months ahead in 2015.
Me? I have little to do with getting out there in the trenches for the hand to hand charge card transactions. All the lining up before dawn in single line formation out side the business you’re about to invade. Not my style.
I’m the spy kind of guy. More of a James Bond. I find out what information that grandchild posses in regards to their wants. I find out what makes them happy. Their desires. Sometimes I’ll play the game of double agent and steer the kid into what they want because the wife bought it when it was on sale in July.
Mine is not an easy life at this time of year. Me being a spy, is not all the glamor filled Casino Royale nights one would expect being a spy. No, my days are filled in front of a TV with a forty pound child standing squirming and jumping on my lap. Preschool television to the point of brain dead boredom, then shockingly interrupted by Dora the Explorer socks to the groin. This is usually accompanied by ‘Grandpa!..I want that or Christmas!’
The number of jumps on my swimsuit area determines how well the gift is liked. One, being I’d play with it until the next gift is in front of me. Two, being I’d play with it as much as the box it came in. And Three, being I like it enough to take it home from grandma and grandpas. And if there is ever a Four it’s because I’m either gone numb in the once treasured swimsuit area or it’s an iPad commercial.
This is the torture I must go through to get the little boogie eating, lap stomping, I need a drink (well so do I!) Beefaroni gulping, cartoon watching, I want everything kinda kid to express to me, what they want, so I can tell grandma what to buy. Sean Connery never had it this rough!
The whole ‘Grandpa!..I want that for Christmas’ starts about two days after her birthday in July. I soon tire of all her over information and do the old ‘If you ask for one more thing you will never get anything’. To which she responds in quick fashion to,.. ‘Gabriella (the other granddaughter) would like that for Christmas’. So now we’re on to Gabriella would like that! Gabriella would love that!
Apparently Gabriella would like to have a under garment to handle bladder control because ‘Hey we all Pee’ as the commercial says.
“Why would Gabriella want underpants (and here I’m assuming without a ‘Barbie’ on them) that these old ladies are wearing.” I ask. “Well they’re dancing and having a good time and Gabriella likes to do both of those things.” she reasons.
The conversations I have and punishment I take just to narrow down the gift field is brutal. If she could only write like Gabriella and make a Christmas list all this lap dancing she does could stop. But then my spy days would end. No more deciphering drawings for gift ideas or listening in on toy cell phone conversations. Me, following her around toy stores seeing what she shows an interest in. Or the hours in front of the bright lights of a television made to watch the very commercials I avoid like the plague when I’m watching TV on my own.
Maybe I like being a spy. Maybe I don’t want to turn in the remote and drink box. I like the interaction I had getting inside their little heads to see what makes them tick.
Oh sure they lie and give misinformation. ‘No! No! I don’t have to go to the bathroom!”
I won’t get fooled by that one again!
Suddenly I’m brought back to the now, and the present. The present she wants from this commercial. “Grandpa! Granda! I want that for Christmas!” Its a two jump, no three before I can stop her. So I’m shaken, not stirred by a remote T-Rex dinosaur whose eyes can change color when angry. It’s a strong contender to be under the tree this year. It’s a fourth strong showing with two weeks to go before cutoff, and shopping begins. Then there’ll be no more, Grandpa I want this! Or I want that, it’ll all be over. Mission complete.
The wife, little Miss Money Penny will refer to me as The Man with the Golden Card and start her mission using my intelligence as her guide. She approaches her buying for the grandkids as The World is Not Enough. And then come January and the bills I just give them to her and say its For Your Eyes Only. That bill in that envelope is A View to a Kill and a License to a Kill if seen by me. It scares The Living Daylights out of me.
She blames me, letting her go on her own. Me, Dr. No, is supposed to be there to hold her back. Me? I blame that little cute boogie eating, lap stomping, I need a drink, Beefaroni gulping, cartoon watching, I want everything kind of kid! And the fact that we are lucky enough to be grandparents we can Never Say Never Again.
Bob Niles is a devoted grandfather and writer who loves to capture the many antics of his precious grandkids.