Socrates is So Much Cooler than Nintendo

By Michael

Okay, maybe I missed the boat just a little bit on this one.

Immediately after Thanksgiving, when the girls were annotating the toy mazagines like they were researchers at the Library of Congress, the item they circled most often was Nintendo. Neither girl was that big on Barbie and all the girly stuff like Little Miss Make-up and Junior Nail Salon, which saved me from joining in the fun for all ages and viewing the blackmail-worthy photos that would follow.

What they did want, though, was a Nintendo console. Wanted, wanted, wanted, needed, hadtohaveitbecauseitwasthemostimportantandbestestgameever. And I knew they would play it, because they loved to play Super Mario—or maybe they were just Mario Brothers then—at friends’ homes. You could take Stephanie to her cousins’ house, plop her down in front of the Nintendo and watch her get to level 847 within minutes. She wouldn’t get around to learning to read for another year or two, but learning Nintendo was worth the effort.

Dad, on the other hand, viewed most video games as a waste of time and a missed opportunity for learning. Educational games, smart games, like chess and that memory game where you flipped the cards and had to remember where the matches were—those were the games for my girls.

So I decided to let the other kids rot out their minds while I gave my children the gift of a refined intellect, superior analytical skills and only a remote risk of carpal tunnel syndrome.

I bought them….wait for it…….Socrates, the happy spaceman who teaches kids all kinds of important lessons. Lessons like:

· How to spell.

· How to add.

· How sad it is to be the only girl without Nintendo.

· How to get invitations to play Nintendo at someone else’s house

· How to deal with the fact my dad is a total dork.

Ah, the lessons that last a lifetime.

The girls have been reminding me of the last of these lessons for several years, taking just about every opportunity to tell people how they didn’t get Nintendo; that they had to play with Socrates instead.

Yes, Mr. cabdriver, I can calculate the right tip for you because my dad got me Socrates. Isn’t that right, dad?

Look, Barack Obama just got elected president. He must have had Socrates when he was a kid. Isn’t that right, dad?

I’m glad your surgery was a success, but getting new kidneys wasn’t nearly as great a gift as when my dad bought me Socrates. Hey, dad, remember that year?

I get it, kids. You’re being just a bit sarcastic, aren’t you?

I can’t say I regret the choice, though, because Socrates has been a running gag and a family story for a long time. Many years of therapy have relieved the girls of some of the post-traumatic disorders they developed without Nintendo. And my daughters will be so much more sensitive to the needs of others, because I deprived them of so much when they were tots.

Last year, the girls found a Socrates console on e-Bay or Craig’s List or somewhere and they gave it to me. I haven’t played with it, yet. I’m waiting for them to get me a Nintendo.

Michael Rosenbaum is 5 Minutes for Parenting’s first dadblogger. He is a business consultant, playwright and author of Your Name Here: Guide to Life.

Michael blogs on life issues at Your Name Here Guide to Life and manages the Adult Conversation discussion group on Linked-In.

5 Responses to Socrates is So Much Cooler than Nintendo
  1. Kelly
    November 30, 2009 | 11:42 am

    You should have your wife get you a Wii for Christmas. That would be the perfect revenge.

    “Oh, I’m sorry girls. Did you say you want to play my Nintendo? Sorry. Maybe after you admit Socrates was the greatest gift ever we can talk.”

  2. Michael
    November 30, 2009 | 12:02 pm

    Pure genius. Ummmmm, what’s a Wii?

  3. Beck
    December 3, 2009 | 12:05 pm

    Our family got a Wii. It hasn’t really been that “educational”, but the kids don’t seem to have actively LOST any knowledge playing it, so I’m gonna call it a winner.

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