We bought a Christmas Card from a shop over in England that I thought was extremely funny. It has a picture of a little boy playing with alphabet blocks. There are a great stack of them around him .. the caption reads (no kidding) "Dave wonders if he has enough blocks to spell out 'This Christmas present is shite.'" Both Joe and I howled when we read the caption and put the card in a stack of other outrageous, and some obscene, Christmas cards.
I get what the kid is thinking. Joe, wonderful man that he is, isn't the shopper in the family. I'm the gifter. I listen to what people say, know their likes and dislikes, hear subtle hints, and then can spend enjoyable hours finding something I think they will like. Joe doesn't do that. After well over thirty years of buying presents he comes to me each year with a pen and pad and says, "So what am I buying you this year." It's his way of saying, "The only way you are going to get it, you are going to have to order it." And I give him the list.
But I also hint, broadly hint, I really wanted the DVD box set of Deadwood, just the first one to see if we liked it. When I openned my presents this year I got a DVD box set of a television western I'd never heard of, Into the West, I think. I looked at Joe blankly and said, "Deadwood?" He told me he didn't get Deadwood because I wanted it and he thought he'd suprise me with something else. Well, he did. I've learned to smile through these little moments.
But he did get me something on my list. I wanted a Nintendo DS. Throughout our trip in England they'd been advertised on television in commercials that were aimed at adults my age. They showed Jean-Luc Picard (otherwise known as Patrick Stewart) playing a vocabulary game - for one. The idea of having one of this crept up on me because I do like games but video games elude me because I don't really like killing. I find blood, um, icky.
So I've been playing 'My Word Coach' quite a lot. These are games masquarading as education and 'mind building' - but essentially they are games. I've gotten up to a new level where they've given a new game where blocks drop down a grid and players have to pick out a set of words from the letters before the letters reach the top. On easy level, it was easy. It's now gone to medium level and I am having a tough go, last try I got 4 (of twenty) AND a time penalty. This is the worst I've ever done. Up until now I've breezed through the games.
I waited in anticipation for my Word Coach. You have a choice of coaches, I've kept the bald, cartoon professor guy, as the other choices seemed to young. What would he say, my coach. He's there to give instruction and occasional bits of praise. He's been endlessly positive with me, my little computer friend. But now 4 - WITH a time penalty. What would he say, well when he came onscreen to comment on my performance he said, "All you need is a bit more practice." He didn't yell, roll his eyes, or any of those things.
Ah, I think, he's programmed to be positive.
Ah, I think, he's programmed to be patient.
Ah, I think, he's programmed to be endlessly optimistic about the skills of others.
I've been feeling the back of my head, where's the slot for that chip? It'd make life a whole lot brighter - for all those around me.