Sunday, November 06, 2011

“The booby prize or the yoyo” I never had any children so sometimes my brother or sister would have me babysit for my nephews or nieces. It was in the early 1980’s and I was living in Lemoore, California. I was babysitting my nephew Chad one evening who was four or five at the time. We needed some milk so I decided to take Chad and go on a field trip to the store. At the front of the grocery store was one of the new vending machines that had a crane with a long arm on it. For a quarter you could get three tries to win a toy. Chad wanted me to give it a try. He said “Uncle Jim, I want you to win the yoyo.” I had never done this crane thing but it looked easy enough. The only problem was I barely had enough money to buy the milk and had one quarter more so I decided to go for it. The first two passes I was able to get zero plastic eggs out. I started to question my own sanity. Why had I ever agreed to this? My manual dexterity is awful. I hate most things mechanical especially when trying to win something for a small child. The pressure was on but on the last try I got one of the clear plastic eggs into the arm of the crane. I could see that it wasn’t a yoyo but thought that perhaps Chad would be happy with any prize that I won once he got it. I got it into the shoot to come out of the vending machine. We opened it up and it was a small plastic chicken. I told Chad that it looks like we won the booby prize. Chad who was usually very calm and laid back yelled at the top of his lungs, “I DON’T WANT THE BOOBY PRIZE I WANT THE YOYO!!! He was still upset when his parents came to pick him up. We left the store and I felt both ashamed and guilty for not winning the yoyo. I learned two huge life lessons that night. First don’t set children’s expectations too high and always take more quarters than you think that you’ll need to the grocery store.


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