On the first day of school, the pre-school teacher asked a little boy if he knew his numbers.
“Yes,” he said. “My grand-dad, he taught me to how to work with numbers.”
“That’s good,” said the teacher. “Let’s see what you know… What comes after three?”
“Four,” answered the little boy.
“What comes after six?”
“Your grand-dad did a good job,” said the teacher. “Let’s try one more… What comes after ten?”
Confidently, the little boy answered… “A jack.”
A few weeks before Christmas one year my son Cael (seven at the time) burst in very excited. “Dad I know what I want for Christmas… Bendaroos!!! I saw the commercial on Nickelodeon and they are amazing!” I asked several questions trying to discover more specifics of exactly what a Bendaroo was – I discovered that they were super strong string dipped in some kind of wax that you can bend into whatever you want.
Cael must not have been the only kid amazed with Bendaroos that year as my wife Lana and I could not find the product anywhere. So, on Christmas Eve day I drove in a snow-storm to a Walgreens in Altoona to find what must have been the last box of Bendaroos in the state of Iowa.
On Christmas morning Cael unwrapped his box of Bendaroos, jumping up and down yelling at the top of his lungs at the site of the box. After we were done opening presents I could see out of the corner of my eye Cael beginning to play with his Bendaroos. As I walked closer I could see the disappointment in his face. “Dad they don’t do what the commercial showed. Not even close. They don’t even stick together. You can’t make anything that they did on TV, it falls apart.“ I took some time to explain the dark side of the marketing world to him, but only being seven years of age I didn’t think any of my words registered.
After a few months after the great “Bendaroo Fiasco” Cael and I were watching TV together and he saw another ad and he looked at me and said “Dad, I bet that’s another junky Bendaroo toy”. At seven he learned a very valuable lesson – not all that glitters is gold.
I will leave you with some Christmas wisdom of reverent Dr. Seuss …. ”And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” Merry Christmas!