Sunday, May 17, 2009


We'd lobbied for months.

A NES. That's what we wanted. We were young. And late to the game. Every other kid had one. We didn't. They were one hundred dollars. To a kid, that might as well be ten dollars or a thousand. We had no idea of what money was or where it came from. But we were well aware of the results.

A Nintendo. That's what you bought with money.

After the other kids having them for years, we finally got one. It was on a Sunday. We must have gone to Roses or KMart and walked in with a wad of cash that my parents worked to save and out with a box with pictures of gameplay, pixelated worlds of tomorrow. We imagined how much different our lives would be, there in the midde seat of our Dodge Caravan, hugging the box that held life, promise, cords, drving back home.

When we got home and threw open the van door, the van that had melted suckers in the mats, french fries in the vents, we ran up the porch. Bang. Bang. On the door. Mom's keys rattled as she unlocked the door with her keyring trinket farm that happened to hold three keys.

Our hearts sank.

Dad was watching Sunday afternoon football and nothing would change the fact that the one television we owned - the one black and white box that could unleash our dreams - was not ours for at least one more quarter.

Despite everything in the universe vying against us, we became electrical engineers within seconds of halftime starting. We learned how to connect the cables and find the channels and power up our future. For three minutes we stared at the Super Mario Brother intro screen, imagining all the colors that others saw. We were so moved we never started the game.

It was turned off for the start of the second half. After the game we had chores. We didn't play it that day.

But we'd seen the light. And there was no taking that away.