It’s always sad when kids get the Grandparent Version of a gift they wanted for Christmas. An entire industry of crappy toys has been created for grandparent shoppers. You know that shelf of Xbox 360 games in Wal Mart, with titles like, “Super Fun Kart Racing,” or “Monopoly/Yahtzee Double Pack”? Those games that make you wonder, “Who the hell is buying that?” It’s grandparents.
It’s sort of like when someone shows you a picture of their pet cat, and it looks exactly the same as the other 5.8 billion cats roaming the Earth. When a grandparent sees two action figures side-by-side on a shelf in Wal Mart- one being a fully articulated Master Chief action figure complete with battle rifle and hand grenade, the other being Super Stretch Bungee Man- the only difference they see is that one costs 10 bucks, and the other costs two bucks. Grandparents don’t understand the Rules of Lameness that govern action figures. Basic stuff like, if its wearing a purple jumpsuit and the box brags that it has ‘super karate chopping action,’ don’t buy it. Or, if it costs two bucks, there’s a reason every single ten-year old has walked right past it. Wal Mart was waiting for a 75-year-old, like you.
And those action figures of baseball/basketball/hockey players? The ones that are frozen in a single ‘dramatic’ pose? Those aren’t action figures. They’re target practice for your cooler action figures.
Even worse than getting a lame version of a gift you wanted? Getting a gift you didn’t want. Like a set of HB soft lead pencils. Or a gift card to the bookstore. Getting that type of gift is like a stab to the kidneys. It just hurts.
Mind you, a girl I knew in high school actually asked her grandparents for stuff like graphing calculators and protractors. But she also ate Triscuits and trail mix, so she’s not exactly representative of a normal 16-year-old.
Now that I’ve gone through my first semester of university, the type of gifts I want for Christmas have completely changed. Never mind a $30 gift card from EB Games. I want a card that guarantees me at least one bobo class next semester. A card that ensures my professor will say stuff on the first day like, “I don’t believe in final exams. You don’t have to write any essays. I award points based on how many times you can blink in a 30-second period.”
Or even better, “The final exam is hands-on. You have to beat Halo 3 in less than two hours.”
Looking for more?
Get the best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.