Staci makes me go to her cousins’ house for most holidays.
While most people talk, my twelve-year-old son Thomas and I play video games against Staci’s cousins, Ken and Joe. Ken and Joe are my age.
Ken and Joe always beat us, not because they’re good, but because it’s their games we’re playing.
So last year I brought a brand new game, NBA Live, figuring that if we were all starting from scratch, it would be a fairer game. Ken unwrapped the cellophane from the game package and we started playing.
At first, all four of us were equally bad, struggling to make passes and shoot the ball. But by the end of the first quarter Thomas and I had rapidly improved. And by the end of the second quarter, we had a twenty-point lead.
In the second half, Thomas and I got even better. We were throwing down mammoth dunks, doing behind-the-back passes and blocking shot after shot. Ken and Joe could barely dribble the ball.
By the end of the third quarter, our lead was 43. Thomas and I were high-fiving and congratulating each other on our mad skills.
When our lead stretched to 84 in the fourth quarter, Joe paused the game. He walked over to the trash can and pulled out the cellophane.
“This isn’t the kind of cellophane they wrap video games in.”
“What do you mean?” I replied.
“And this price tag says $9.95. You can’t get this game for ten bucks.”
“You can’t?” I lamely asked.
“You just grabbed one of your own games from home and wrapped it in Saran Wrap and put a price sticker on it.”
I looked from side to side. Then I looked down.
“You did, didn’t you?” Joe asked.
I didn’t have the heart to add that we’d be playing it almost every day for the last three years.
Ken and Joe tossed their controllers on the couch and left the room.
I figured that would be as good a time as any to teach my son a lesson. So I did:
“Never be a sore loser like Ken and Joe.”