Monday, April 02, 2007


I was just wiping the shaving cream remnants from my face, inside my head -- thinking about how, on Friday after work, having drinks with coworkers as a sendoff to one of our number moving on to another dead end job, the new girl accurately guessed my age as forty two -- when it happened.

My wife's voice, accompanied by a two-boy chorus of sniffles and sobs, quietly beckoned from behind me, "Daddy, we have two very upset boys."

Oh my God. "What happened?" I asked, braced for the worst.

"Timmy just died."


"Timmy," she repeated, "their dog."

We have a dog, and her name is Roxie. I wrinkled my eyes to let her know I was waiting for clarification. The boys were on the bed. Emmett's back rose and fell where he lay curled into a ball, face in mommy's pillow.

Jackson looked at me through reddened eyes; in control, but clearly upset. He held out the Nintendo DS, which at one point shown brilliant ebony, now smudged and dull with fingerprints. I understood. The boys had been playing Nintendogs for the last three days, in which you adopt a dog and care for him.

"We donated Timmy," Jackson explained.

My wife added, "They didn't understand the finality of it. Now they can't get him back."

"I just miss him," Emmett wailed as he rolled over and reached his arms up for me. He rested his head on my shoulders as torrents pulsed through his little body.

Jackson continued, "When we gave him away, Timmy looked down and looked so sad." Then he was crying too.

I attempted reparations. "Jackson, you gave the dog up for adoption. Timmy isn't dead. Some other family has adopted him now that will take care of him and give him love. See?"

"You mean Timmy went outside of my DS?"

He believes in Santa Claus, doesn't he? "Sure." But my face had "LIE" written all over it.

"I don't believe you."

"Ok, listen. Timmy is still inside your DS, but it has a little world inside it. And in that world, you just gave Timmy to another family to take care of because you already had enough dogs to take care of. So if you think about it, you did what was best for Timmy. The family that has adopted him will take better care of him."

That seemed to do the trick -- for Jackson. Emmett, on the other hand, wasn't buying any of it.

This morning, Jackson searched around until he found a dog just like Timmy, and showed him to Emmett. "You see," Jackson said, "Timmy is alright."

We think that has done the trick.

Note to self: break out the old board games.


Beth said...

Awwww, but how sweet in the end. I am amazed by how children become so addicted and entrenched in video games today. My kids have always had strict time limits and for the last 10 weeks, my son hasn't been allowed any online gaming at all. Even with only having an hour a day he recently told me, "I was addicted. I just didn't know it." Weird, you know?

Anonymous said...

Oh my.

You know, it just goes to show that the "virtual" world isn't so different to our brains than the "real" one. The memory of a real event feels the same as the memory of a virtual one.

Glad they seemed to make peace with it.

magnetbabe said...

I love that your boys are so sensitive. There are two girls somewhere out there who are going to be very lucky someday...

Kathleen said...

Poor little tykes.

Toni Anderson said...

LOL. Boy parenting is hard isn't it? My daughter's fish died and she wailed all day about poor 'William'. Glad your boys worked through it :)

Alan said...

Jason, you are so right--to the point of existentialism. If we can react so strongly to what exists in our minds, how do we even know the "real world" is real.

I had a pretty bad car accident two weeks ago and things have worked out for me in record time. I received no injuries at all. (I do however have to unload a TON of money and all my savings plans are scrapped). But after I told my friend how events had played out he said, "You know what happened, don't you? You're actually laying in a hospital bed, in a coma, dreaming all this."

And for the life of me, literally, I can't prove him wrong. And what's more, it's possible that I've retro-dreamed the last two years of my life, because despite my frustrations, those have been pretty far-fetched too. (It's a long story, detailed at my blog).

But even if Scott and you, and everyone else tells me that THEY'RE real, so I AM in the real world--how do * I * know that? To me, you guys are just words on a computer screen.

Now ask yourself the same question.


Anyway. From the general topic, I've digressed.

When's your birthday, Scott? Just exactly HOW close in age are we?

Bailey Stewart said...

That is real sweet, and I think you handled it perfectly - and so did Jackson.

Sorry I haven't been around much, I haven't been around to a lot of my blogs.

Jay said...

Oh man.
Thank goodness they didn't send Timmy to "the farm".

The Zombieslayer said...

Wow. Games nowadays are just too complex. Just give me a racing game, or one where we shoot zombies.

Moni said...

Hehehe bless their hearts. That's so sweet. My daughter has a Nintendog game...those puppies are so cute. I can certainly understand why they were concerned. That was a good explanation though. Little world inside the NDS...right on. :)

Tee said...

This was hilarious and heartbreaking all at the same moment. I can understand the mix of emotions because I've dealt with similar things with my boys.

Jada's Gigi said...

Oh dear! have you heard of Second Life??? Don't let you kids go there...they may not come home...:) we played with chalk on teh the sidewalk over the weekend...that's how techy our house is...
As for the kids and history...mine had to be in college before they really "got" the history thing and its significance..I've loved it since 7th grade...??? what ARE they teaching in our schools??

Zoe said...

I noticed your post on Tee's blog. I had to come over and take a look at yours. You are a very elloquent writer. I enjoyed reading your posts and some of the comments. I think that Jason and Alan might be on to something. Why else would people spend so many hours penning their thoughts, reading other blogs, and developing cyber relationships? I think that I need this virtual world as much as your boys (and mine) need their fantasy world! LOL!

mr. schprock said...

If you look 42, I look 92.