It was a long shot.
But a long-shot worth taking.
It was the summer of 2010 and my then-pregnant wife and I were on a mission to register for every baby-related product known to man (and baby) in the Cumming-shopping area.
I didn’t know what the heck they were ... but yeah!
Yet, before the registration-spree officially began, we passed through the less parentally responsible products in the electronic aisles of Target.
It was there that something caught my eye.
So I grabbed the scanning gun, took aim and fired.
“Did you register for a Playstation 3?” said Katie.
“Um, yes,” I said. “Just in case.”
Yes. Just in case.
Just in case there was a friend or relative or wealthy benefactor out there that believed high-end gaming systems made the perfect gift for an infant. You know, because of hand-to-eye development and balance and coordination and stuff like that.
I’m sure there are studies about it.
Anyways, like I said, it was a long-shot. But like playing the lottery, you definitely won’t win if you don’t play.
I suppose this has been an ongoing trend in my life. Not gambling, but the continual coveting of video-game gifts.
It began when I first discovered the magical Nintendo Entertainment System beneath our tree one Christmas morning.
From them on, whenever a gift-giving event neared I would push for new Metroid, Mega Man and Mario Bros. titles like Ralphie campaigning for an official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Air Rifle.
Because, as a kid, it was nearly impossible to rival the excitement of a brand new video game cartridge.
Until last week that is, when I came across something much better.
A rock from my front-yard.
It was early Sunday morning when I opened a bag handed to me by my smiling son.
And there it was.
He dug it up from the dirt next to our overgrown rose bushes, painted it blue, red, green and yellow, wrapped it up and gave it to me for Father’s Day.
“My dad rocks,” it read. (I suspect he had a little help there.)
You know, when I was a kid I used to think it was kind of baffling when my parents treated every homemade gift I presented to them as though it was the Crown Jewels.
I always felt as though I was getting away with something.
“It didn’t even cost anything!” I’d think.
And I also never really understood why my mom wouldn’t just throw away the countless construction paper projects that I first began crafting in preschool.
A few years ago, after we moved into our house with a basement, she presented me with a pair of giant plastic crates that had been housing my early Aiken artwork since the 1980s.
I never really got it.
But now I get it.
A Playstation 3 retails for about $299.
But that rock is worth much more.
Yes I never did get a PS3 that summer. But I eventually got something much better.
I got a rock.
And I got a son.
And 30 years from now, I’ll have a whole lot of giant plastic crates to store in his basement.