Lying is just love in disguise

My parents were cruel.

When I asked (fine: yelled, screamed, begged, pleaded, bribed) for a Nintendo for Christmas when I was 10 or 11 (I don’t remember which) they came to me on Christmas Eve to say they were very sorry, but they couldn’t find a Nintendo anywhere. It was the hot toy that year.

Things haven’t changed much in 20 years.

They were very gentle about it, and disappointed, and I did my best to not sulk too much about it.

I think.

When Christmas morning rolled around we took turns opening presents, and I was the official doler-outer of the gifts. Some were torn open immediately, and others (like the big box I wanted my dad to open first because I wanted to see what my mom had bought him) were set aside until later in favour of the smaller gifts. As I doled, and opened, and doled, and opened, I couldn’t help but notice that I hadn’t opened in a while.

I was done.

My sister still had some to open, but the rest of my Christmas morning was spent passing presents around trying not to look absolutely crushed. Not only did I not get a Nintendo, but I also hadn’t received as many presents as my little sister.

Spoiled much? It’s all about the quantity, baby, not the quality.

Finally the morning ended, and I passed that big present to my dad to open. He saw how disappointed I was about the whole process and let me open it for him, just to give me something fun to do.

You know where this is going, right? Because most of you are parents, and you know what parents do.

I ripped the paper off, revealing a brand new Nintendo Entertainment System: Action Set (the one with the gun and the Super Mario Bros/Duck Hunt combo).

They had driven to Ottawa (an hour away) and combed the city looking for one, and finally found one at JC Penny. It was on layaway for someone else who never bothered to pick it up, so on Christmas Eve they were able to buy it themselves and bring it home for me.

They thought it would be funny or something to watch me sulk all morning.

It was funny. Right?

You’d think I would have learned something from that. Something apart from the great parenting truth that "Lying is just love in disguise".

But I didn’t. I didn’t learn.

The next Christmas when I begged for a Power Glove (Nintendo’s first attempt at a Wii-type controller), my mom was very sorry to tell me that they couldn’t find one anywhere.

Yeah. I fell for it. Again.

And within hours I was knocking out Bald Bull and King Hippo with my Power Glove. The display copy from the mall store that they were finally able to sell at the last minute to the woman who was waiting so patiently (or threatening them with death).

Tell me I’m not the only one to fall for stuff like this. And that I’m not the only one who is totally going to do it to their own kids.

There really is something incredibly loving about these stories. Even though they are mostly about tricking a kid into being a jerk on Christmas morning.

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