March 02, 2005


There's this twelve-year-old kid who lives up the street from me. I'm a little too paranoid to use his name on the internet, so I'll just call him The Kid. The Kid and his older brother, The Samurai, are frequent visitors at my house, sometimes even letting themselves in without knocking. And a week and a half ago, when out-of-town relatives joined me and my sons for a trip to the Sacramento Zoo, The Kid came too. My relatives were too polite to ask, "What's he doing here?" and I wasn't sure how to explain to them how a person who's not a part of the family can be a part of the family.

Anyway, The Kid asked me once if I had any games on my computer. "No," I said. "I don't play games on the computer."

He sat at my computer anyway, and after just a few clicks, said, "Yeah, you do. Look, you've got pinball!"

"Well, whaddya know...."

The Kid sat down and began playing. Over the next two weeks, he had his name listed for four of the five high scores. (The fifth was my sister.) "Don't you wanna play?" he asked.

"No thanks," I said again. "I don't play games on the computer. I don't have time."

You know what's coming next, don't you?

Yesterday I sat down at the computer to check email. Before I shut the computer down, I saw the icon for the pinball game. I figured, "Well, I might as well see what this is all about." I click on it, and launch into playing pinball on my computer.

I use up my three balls, and the game is over. My score: 30,000. I click on the high scores button and discover that The Kid's high score is 3,900,000.

Well, maybe just one more game.

An hour later, my son comes home from school. "Dad,... what are you doing?"

Uh-oh. I've been caught. I try to position myself in front of the computer screen, so he can't see, but of course it doesn't work. "Oh, nothing....Just a little ... pinball. I'm just going to finish this one game, and then I'll get off."

About ten games later, I finally did it. I scored 4,000,000. Yeah, baby! By this time, my wife is home, and she sees that I've been wasting my time playing pinball, but it's too late now for me to care.

The high scores come up, and I type my name in at number one. The Kid's name moves down to number two. I can't wait to see the look on his face the next time he visits and turns on the computer!!!

If you want to read another story about The Kid & his brother, The Samurai, visit my wife's blog. And please, if you've scored higher than 4,000,000 on pinball, I don't want to know....

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