What Shall we Play?


Friends, relatives, readers and other compatriots know I love playing games, especially with my children. It’s hard to find a game we can agree on. I tried to convince my children to try Cribbage, especially when they were younger and starting school. I thought teaching them how to add up to 121 would help them out with math and help to kill a little time here and there. They were against that. Anything that involves cards is usually boring. They might occasionally tolerate a game of Fish or War, but playing cards is mostly boring.

Photo: 20th Century Fox

Kicking a soccer ball is also boring. Batting practice in the backyard? Boring. Seems like everything is boring. I never thought my children would turn down the chance to have someone pitch a whiffle ball to them, but here we are. Even video games is a struggle. I feel like I’m trying to negotiate something huge with my children. I also feel like I need Scott Boras or Gordon Gecko to hammer something out with my children.

Sometimes, we can agree on something and by “agreeing” I mean playing a game the children want to play and if I don’t agree to play the game, there will be no game. The Boy likes to play “Call of Duty” on PS4. This would be fun if I new what I was doing. We play a game where two people are out in the field and try to find and “neutralize” or “eliminate” each other. Both players start at different parts of the playing field, track each other, and… well, try to win. I’ve been playing games like these for a long time, since “Medal of Honor” came out for Playstation. PSOne. Whatever people call it today. I’m pretty good at it. Not great but I win some. I lose some. In this PS4 installment, I lose all the time. It doesn’t matter where we are. It doesn’t matter what weapons I have with me. I lose. He finds me. He gets me. He “eliminates” me. He loves it. Me? Not so much but The Boy loves it. I try to get him to play other games. I try to get him to play a baseball game on a console. I figure if playing baseball is “too boring” than maybe a faster-paced video game version would be better for him. It’s not. Still boring and he just wants to play “Call of Duty”.

This was the last time I explained ANYTHING about the game to The Oppressed.

I also try to convince The Oppressed to play a game with me. Again, this involves a little negotiation on my part. Usually the only negotiation involved is what game we’re going to play. The Oppressed agrees to play with me if I agree to play a Harry Potter version of Trivial Pursuit. I love Trivial Pursuit. Do I like Harry Potter. Let’s say I don’t hate the franchise. The Oppressed, on the other hand, LOVES Harry Potter. We went to Universal Studios a few years ago. We drank butter beer. The kids got wands. The Gringotts ride was incredible. The whole time there was fun. I may have watched 30 or 60 minutes of Harry Potter out of the entire 8-film series. The Oppressed has read the books and watched the movies. She knows a few things about what happens to who and the tools and spells and enchanted items utilized. I know there’s a kid named Harry Potter. There may be an owl somewhere in a scene and I think someone who was in “Die Hard” is in the movie.

If you are a fan of Harry Potter, buy this game. You will love it. The questions cover spells, characters, production, quotes and magical charms. All things The Oppressed knows and loves. I was out to a pretty good start. I got two wedges before she got one. I liked my chances. I also remembered what it was like in 1986 when the Red Sox won the first two games against the Mets. I tempered my excitement. Those two pieces of the pie I got? Those were the only pieces I got in the entire game as The Oppressed ran the board on me and filled up her Slytherin token. She was happy and excited as she answered the questions and then explained to me where in what movie these things took place. I have no idea what she’s talking about and I’m honestly surprised I got any questions right, let alone earned a wedge. I will say my worthy opponent was very graceful and helped me out with a couple of hints when it came to the questions. Not for the wedges, those I did earn on my own but there were times when my daughter helped me out.

A look at the Hogwarts action.

So, my performance wasn’t ideal. It usually isn’t when you are looking at subject matter you know almost nothing about and your opponent is a walking encyclopedia on the subject matter. Oh well. What matters is my daughter and I got do do something together and my daughter was away from a screen for a little while. I had fun playing with her and, somewhere in Britain, I hope J.K. Rowling appreciates the additional royalties.

Winter Coats for Kids


All five of my children have super powers. Your children may have powers too and, for all I know, our children could share the same super powers.

I have only recently noticed the gifts bestowed upon the Miracles of Christ. These gifts, however, are not present at all hours of the day and night. It is only on certain days and during certain times of day.

One such power/gift is thick, viscous blood that will keep the Miracles of Christ warm during the winter. This is a curious gift possessed by The Boy and one or two of the Gaggle. The Boy will run around the neighborhood with friends sans jacket or any additional layer over his shirt. He doesn’t need it. It’s not cold. It’s winter and the thermometer is near freezing but that is an issue for mortals such as you and I. He doesn’t need it. Unfortunately, this power seems to escape him when he is sent outside to retrieve something he was supposed to put away or bring back into the house with him. At this point, he will need a coat or a sweatshirt, usually something that is tucked away in the back of his closet upstairs in his room. Way back in his closet, under something. It has to be this particular item of clothing or he won’t be able to get warm enough to do a task that would be done faster than the time it takes to put on a jacket or sweatshirt.

Mantle of mortals

And then we have The Gaggle. One of whom goes to work during the winter in pants and a tee shirt. That’s it. Nothing to cover his arms. His reasoning for this is that he is riding to work in a warm car (I run the car so the heat is on. I love my children) and from the car, he is going indoors where he works his shift. There is also the added burden of needing to remember a coat when he is finished work and he may forget it. Then he will be bothered by the fact that his jacket is at work while he is at home. I try to tell him that seeing the weather outside will make him grateful for having a jacket, therefore remembering said jacket. This mnemonic device is useless to him. He’ll just forget it anyway. I will remind him of a jacket when he climbs into the car and shivers off the cold after closing the door. He tells me he’s, “Okay.” I doubt that.

Superheroes need their rest…. Sometimes. The Boy will be up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the morning with his keister parked on the couch watching YouTube. He will be well into a marathon of Roblox or a walkthrough of a video game he is either still trying to master or doesn’t even play. No matter. These digital offerings no doubt provide secrets that will unlock the mysteries of the universe. He will need to wake up hours after this on a normal school day. This is where the mystery of his powers comes in. The ability to get up out of bed on his own eludes him. The ability to just get out of bed eludes him. I wake him up three, four times. Still nothing. He is weak. Feeble. It’s all he can do to get out of his warm bed.

Warm bed. This reminds me of The Oppressed. Another child who can run around with no jacket. Another one who is immune to the whims of fickle Mother Nature. Rain? I don’t need a coat. Cold? Bah! I don’t need to put a jacket on. Time to wake up? I’m cold. Let me stay in bed for five (more like 20) more minutes. If I could just warm up a little (she’s been in bed for eight or nine hours), I will be warm enough to face the day. I direct her attention to the array of warm clothes strewn about her room (We’re still learning how to use a dresser) and remind her that, if she gets dressed, she will be warm and ready for the day. Again, I’m talking out of my butt. What do I know? I know nothing about what a child needs, especially first thing in the morning. I’m making them meals but I don’t know what children need. I’m getting them ready for school but I don’t know what children need. It’s a miracle they’re alive, really.

Children need sleep. We all do. We need it to function everyday. Some need more sleep than others. If people don’t get sleep, they can’t do their job. Sleep helps you recharge your batteries and your super powers. If that’s the case, The Gaggle should be faster than a speeding bullet and more powerful than a locomotive. The Gaggle have been gracing us with their presence around 11 each morning. Brave children. Strong children. Poor, mistreated children. Wife and I have reminded them that school is starting again and they will need to be out of bed before some people are ready to have lunch. Sometimes they do and when they do, they look like someone starting their day in a North Korean labor camp. Why must they be up so early? What is there that could possibly be so important they need to be up in the morning? They need sleep. They have to charge their superpowers. This is cruel.

Superpowers need to be charged. You never know when you will need them and when they could leave you like an angry god or goddess. Speed is one of these superpowers. I sometimes need to remind the Miracles of Christ to wash their hands after using the bathroom. They did. They just did it fast. I didn’t hear water running. Of course not. I don’t have super powers. They need to brush their teeth. They did. They just did it fast. I didn’t hear it because I don’t have super powers. The toothbrush is dry. It dried fast. The toothbrush has super powers. Can I see their teeth. No. They’re busy.

We’re all busy, just not as busy as our superheroes. The superheroes and their powers come in handy everyday. They need their super powers or they will be lost or worse without them. One of The Gaggle sits silently still in front of the PS4 for hours without moving. Ever hear of Medusa? She would turn you to stone. If you sit still like stone, she may think you’re already a statue and pass you by. There he sits, like a ninja, in case the evil goddess passes by and then he sees her and then… Well, I guess super powers only take you so far.

Wife and I are not privy to such powers. We are mere mortals in this landscape of titans and marvels. We get our needed rest, put on a coat when the temperature drops in the winter. Eat a meal when we are hungry. One child with a super power of boundless energy would rather run around the house when it’s time to sit down and eat. Time to go somewhere? He’s tired. Super powers are tricky things.

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