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- Laura on Life -

The Real Magic of Techno-Toys

August 12, 2009
Dysart Reporter

I don't know how I managed to survive childhood, because if it weren't for DVD players and portable video games, my children would have had a much shorter life span. When I was a kid, there was no such thing as these technological wonders, so going for a ride in the car with the four of us kids must have been a nightmare for my parents. There wasn't even a seat belt law back then, which gave four twitchy children free reign over the back seat. If one of us needed a little alone time, it was perfectly acceptable to crawl up onto the back dash, present our backsides to the rest of the family, and make faces at the cars behind us. Nothing like a little transportational therapy. Now we know that anything on the back dash becomes a high-velocity flying projectile and will exit through the front windshield in the event of an accident. Hence, the Seat Belt Law.

Seat belts, however, might keep little rear ends attached to the seat, but they do nothing to prevent the kids from trying to crawl out of their skins ideally via the child sitting next to them. So we've had to invent technologies that would keep their little minds occupied so their parents won't drive off a cliff intentionally or not. I have relied on these techno-toys for long enough that I actually break into a cold sweat at the thought of taking my children for a drive without them. Apparently, I'm just not made from the same sturdy parental stock as my predecessors. I know that without the props, I will eventually, but certainly, hear sounds of pain from the back seat: slaps, grunts, growls and "Ouch! He bit me!" This will be followed by a firm but ineffectual parental warning: "Knock it off!" or "Don't make me come back there!" You really can't be more specific because you can't see whats happening back there. The warning will then be followed by more of the same.

By the time you reach your destination, your nerves are shot, your hair is standing straight up and your eyebrows bear the permanent crease of a mean substitute teacher. Instead, you put a movie in the DVD player and the only sound you hear is an occasional giggle. If your trip is longer than the length of a movie, you may have to do a rest stop break and mediate over the selection of a new movie. This is one of those decisions children can't seem to make without a great deal of whining, poking and name-calling.

When they have a portable video game device, however, the comments from the back seat can be most entertaining. "How come the robots have invincibility and I don't?" "I don't want to play this game anymore because the birdies won't help me and they promised they would. "Why do pirates just steal gold? Why don't they take what they really need? Like food and stuff?" "The pirates get the gold and then they go somewhere on land and buy a house with it. Then they change their name to Steve or something, so the pirate catchers never find them." Say what you want about video games rotting kids brains. I am a firm believer of that theory too, but there are times when a little brain-rot may be just what they and you need.



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