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The Stingy Pig: Or, What Do You Want For Christmas?

nintendo entertainment systemI wish I could say that my most memorable Christmas was the one where I did something nice for someone, or that I was filled with holly jolly good will towards my fellow men, or that I finally gave someone the perfect gift, but those would all be wretched lies and falsehoods, and ’tis the season for things other than vile mendacity.

I was 12 or 13 years old and I had gotten a Nintendo Entertainment System a few months earlier, but at the time the cartridges were still $50. I had scraped together enough of my allowance to buy one game, Wizards and Warriors. If you want to know how awesome the NES Wizards and Warriors game was, have no fear. Watch this:

At the time I was absolutely maddened by video games. That song that is playing in the intro to the game? I actually took out my boombox and recorded it for the video game mixtape I made. In later years that tape would also be blessed with the intro to Final Fantasy II, but now I’m getting off track.

I beat that game quickly and needed more. More!

On this Christmas morning I ran into the living room and my eyes started pecking everything apart. I hadn’t really asked for anything, as such. Instead, I liked to casually introduce the things I wanted into discussions in the months leading up to The Morning.

“Josh, what do you want for lunch?”

“A sandwich and The Adventure of Link, that’s Zelda Part 2. And a pickle, please.”

“Josh, how was basketball practice?”

“Not bad, but one of the other kids said we were poor because I didn’t own RC Pro Am. Are we poor?”

Yes, RC Pro Am was that cool.

On that morning I unwrapped both of those game cartridges. Happiness as a child is so different to me than the happiness of adulthood. Seeing those two games just about blew my head apart. Putting them in the console just about sent me into flopping, high RPM seizures.

These days pleasure is rarely so delirious. Good, but a different, less feverish good. Same but different. Well, actually, it’s more like different but different.

How about you? Any memorable presents? And what do you want this year? Feel free to wax grandiose about world peace, but now that you’ve seen those two video game videos, I’m sure your minds are elsewhere. As my mom was fond of saying, “You’re looking like a stingy pig. What do you want?”


Strength Training for body and mind

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • rox December 7, 2010, 7:22 am

    Our family finally put up our Christmas tree and managed to throw a few Christmas presents under it. My seven year old already knew what one of the gifts were (Beyblades) and wanted desparately to open them. I finally agreed, but on one condition… If he opened his few presents right now, that was going to be it. Santa would not come on Christmas day. My other three kids pondered what I was saying and realized that would be a dumb idea to open the presents early. I figured my seven year old was smart enough to understand too, but he sat down and opened his presents. My husband walked in on it all and started calling my son a “selfish brat” not a “stingy pig.” I tried to explain to my husband that this was going to save us money so try to be happy about my son’s decision. I think this will be a Christmas I won’t forget or my son or my husband or my kids. Should I follow through with the punishment? What should I do?
    I loved your honest post Josh! Christmas really is about the presents! Ha!

    • Josh Hanagarne December 7, 2010, 2:48 pm

      Always. And stingy pig is way more fun to say than selfish brat.

  • Todd@Phitzone December 7, 2010, 7:34 am

    Ah, the NES, one of the great consoles. Growing up, I had both of the Atari 2600 but to be honest, I was happiest at the arcade, pumping in quarter after quarter. Good times.

    Christmas-wise, I have two faves. When I was about 10, my brother and I got a pinball machine for Christmas. That was awesome.

    The second was just two years ago when I got to spend it with my wife and kids after having been across the country for four months for work.

    • Josh Hanagarne December 7, 2010, 2:48 pm

      I had the 2600, but not the next one. I never had a pinball machine, which would have been awesome.

  • Heather December 7, 2010, 9:33 am

    Most memorable Christmas–the year I got my soon-to-be-ex a laptop and digital projector for his classroom. He cried.

  • Bethy December 7, 2010, 8:59 pm

    Oh, just a couple years ago we take the kids to my Mom’s house… I open a gift from my Dad and find my very own Dremel kit. I made his YEAR when he heard me shriek with joy. *lol*

  • Will December 9, 2010, 1:18 pm

    1988 Nintendo Entertainment System with Power Pad & Gun

    When i finally had the cash to RENT “Castlevania” my head blew apart. As well as “Simon’s Quest”.. I once recieved a Game Boy for getting a C in math. That is how bad i am/was at math.

    These days, happiness is the public library calling me and saying “Eric, the book you ordered, ‘Blood Meridian’ has arrived” 😀

    Season’s Greetings.