Take yourself back to 1978. OK, for some of you that means imagine 1978. Disco was still king, Star Wars had recently come out and blown us all away, and that Christmas I would find a wrapped copy K-Tel’s “Star Power” under the tree.
(True confession: I’m listening to this as I write)
In November of that year I turned eight. There are a few things you need to know about eight year old Todd. The first is that he was very polite. Some parents of kids growing up in small towns hear through the grapevine about the mischief their children have been getting up to. That year, though, a different message found its way back to my parents. My mom heard from her mom who lived in a neighbouring town who heard from her neighbour who heard from one of the lunch ladies at my school that: “Todd is so polite. Whenever we put any food on his tray he always says ‘Thank you.'” To this day I still try to be that good guy.
Another thing that was true then that is still true now is that I loved technology. A few years before a cousin of mine got one of the first console games you could hook to the television and I loved it. I wanted one also – and I knew which one it would be. It would be this one:
You may not be able to fully appreciate this today but in its time this felt like the future. Having one would feel like living in the future – the Star Trek future, not Logan’s Run or Soylent Green. I made sure that my parents knew that this was what I wanted. I needed nothing else because nothing else would compare to this.
Finally, my birthday arrived. My mom made me a big chocolate birthday cake on it. She brought it out while she and my dad sang Happy Birthday to me and I blew out all eight candles. That was a sign – I wished for a pong game, and candles don’t lie.
After we ate our cake, my parents brought out a wrapped box and let me know that money was a little tight that year so they could only afford one present. Even at that age, I understood. And it didn’t matter anyway because all I wanted was one present! I controlled my excitement and slowly opened the box and found…
pair of sneakers.
I was gutted. But I also understood. Money was tight and I needed sneakers. There was no question about that. And so, with a huge lump in my throat, I tried really hard to smile because I really did appreciate this gift. I did need new sneakers and they were thinking of me. My voice shook a little as I said “Thank you.” to them. And then my dad snapped this photo.
And then my mom walked out of the room and came back in with another wrapped gift. It was the game after all! I was going to get to live in the future after all!
Inspired by this weeks challenge of “Birthday” at Dutch Goes the Photo.