I know I’ve been slacking lately. I’ve no good excuse other than I was out of the country and then got behind with work. I appreciate everyone who has gotten on my case about my three week sabbatical. I’ll endeavor to do better.
Because I was childless up until the age of about 37 (as far as I know) I missed out on a lot of kid’s movies. My tastes skewed more towards films that featured guns or bare breasts or swearing. The adventures of a pistol packing boob with a mouth like a sailor would be more or less my perfect piece of cinema.
Lately, however, I’ve been watching a lot of Pixar, Disney and Dreamworks stuff, movies that I couldn’t really go to the theater to see (because it would be creepy) and that I wouldn’t rent because I was too busy checking out Super Tit 2: The Tittening. The boys like movies though, so while I am introducing them to the Matrix and Jaws and various and sundry other amazing pieces of celluloid, they are, in turn, showing me some movies I skipped.
They have a whole binder full of stuff I haven’t seen and we are slowly working our way through it. Wall-e is a very good movie. Monster’s Inc, was amusing. The Fantastic Mr. Fox is, no kidding, one of my favorite movies ever. It’s a terrific reflection on what men sacrifice in order to try to be decent fathers. I actually gave it to my own dad for Christmas explaining, “You are going to wonder why the hell I got you this.Trust me.” He loved it too.
T2 loves Lego. He has large plastic bins stuffed with Lego. His room has posters of Lego stuff on the walls. The shelves in his room are lined with Lego vehicles. For Christmas his grandmother (C’s mom) got him what is essentially a gigantic Lego hovercraft. It had 500 pieces. T2 sat down, went through the instructions step by step and built the whole thing in about two hours. He gets a zen type focus when he is assembling Lego stuff. He is still except for his hands and his eyes. He sucks at cleaning them up. Back in Kentucky, they used to say that you were never any more than 100 yards from a poisonous snake. In our house you are never more than two feet from a plastic building brick. The house is largely carpeted and the carpet is seeded with tiny little Danish pain producers. If you go downstairs in the middle of the night to get a drink there is a 95% chance you are going to step on one, producing a pain that shoots up through your leg and into your entire being. This is not speculation on my part.
Needless to say, we were going to The Lego Movie opening weekend. It wasn’t an option. Thankfully, it was great. It’s really funny and has a lot to say about creativity. I recommend it.
When we got home, T2 decided he wanted to buy some new Lego sets. He asked me how much he had in his account.
I’m in charge of his money. If you hand T2 a dollar bill he turns into a street magician if the street magician’s only trick was making money disappear and if the only audience member was the street magician himself. He’s the David Blaine of making his own cash vanish. The only part of the trick he doesn’t know how to do is the part where he brings the money back. I’ve literally seen T2 open a card from my parents, a card that inevitably contains a five or a ten or a twenty, get excited about said cash, run around the family room in excitement, hands and money over his head, and then stop dead in the center of the room, a look of confusion on his face, the money nowhere to be seen. Magic!
We inevitably find it under the couch, or stuck on the top of a bookshelf, or in the refrigerator. He got sick of misplacing his ducats so he asked me to act as his bank. When I was little my brother and I had our “accounts,” that my mother kept track of. She had a little notebook where she would write down how much money we had and how much money we spent. If we were at Target and wanted something, she’d buy it and deduct the money from our ledger. I do the same thing with T2 but, since this is thirty years later, I keep his “account” on my iPhone. Whenever he gets any cash he hands it right to me and I make a note of the deposit. When he buys a ring pop at the grocery store, I deduct the charge from his account. Interestingly, he always has a very good idea as to what his balance is. This is a person who doesn’t understand why I don’t buy a $150,000 car but who also knows he has $97 in the First National Bank of Me.
I check my phone, confirmed that he had the amount he thought he had and he scrambled off to the computer.
His mother and he had been scanning Amazon for about fifteen minutes when I suggested that they check eBay. T2 had no idea what eBay was. I explained it.
“So we bid?” he asked.
“Yup,” I said.
“And if we have the best bid, we get the thing?”
He raised an eyebrow and said, “I like this.”
He did like it.
For the next half an hour we scanned the Lego auctions on eBay that were about to expire. He decided he wanted to bid on a Lego 737. I asked him what he wanted to bid and he said “one dollar.”
I explained that the bidding was already at $40 and he would have to go higher than that.
“Forty one dollars.”
I bid forty one dollars and we were immediately out bid.
“WHAT JUST HAPPENED?” he yelled.
I explained that other people wanted the Lego 737 also.
“WHAT HAPPENED TO MY MONEY?”
“What?” I said, then understood his confusion, “Nothing. Nothing happened to it. We still have it, you only have to pay if you actually win the auction.”
“Oh,” he said, “Okay. Good. Can we bid again?”
“Sure,” I said. “You have $97. You can bid as much as you want.”
“Well,” he said, showing a heartening amount of restraint for an eight year old who I had just sort of introduced to online gambling, “I don’t want to bid much. I mean, I want the plane but I don’t $97 dollars want it.”
We settled on a $50 bid. We were immediately out bid.
“Let’s find something else,” he said. “Can we find something that no one else is bidding on?”
We could. We found him a Lego coast guard rescue helicopter complete with a lifeboat, four minifigures (the Lego version of action figures) and a shark.
“I want that,” he said. He was now an eBay pro. He asked the minimum he could bid, I told him and he instructed me to set it up to go ten dollars higher, at most, than the minimum. The auction had seven minutes left by the time we got done filling in all the squares.
I left the kitchen, when the boy’s laptop is, and went back into the family room. T2 sat in front of the computer, staring at the auction countdown.
Five minutes later he started chanting. Quiet at first but gradually increasing in volume.
“Nobody else bid.”
“NObody else bid.”
“NOBODY else BID!”
“NOBODY ELSE BID!”
“NOBODY ELSE BID!”
“NOOOOOBOOOODDDDYYY EEELLLLLSSSSEE BBBIIIIID!”
Nobody else bid and he won the auction. Four days later, a period of time which seemed irrationally long to him, he got a box in the mail with his helicopter, life boat and shark Lego set.
It took him an hour to assemble.