Monday, October 03, 2005

Game Store Confidential ~ Wyatt

The three things that have meant the most to me in my life beyond the usual candidates we all have; such as family, friends, church, patriotism, military service and whatnot, have been my children, my involvement with games and my involvement with motorcycles.

Yes, kids are “family’, but having been married and divorced enough times that I’m writing a self-help book about the subject, I have to separate children and family. As for my extended family… they can “bugger off”, as the Brits would say. I’ve been gone from Texas for so long I wouldn’t recognize them, nor them, me. This is probably a good thing. Not having a close connection to them has been a real financial boon for me.

My dad and mom are still alive and kicking, thanks to really good genetics and just plain stubbornness and I consider them and my kids to be the real family.

Motorcycles are a solitary pastime for me. I don’t belong to clubs, riding groups or anything organized. If I want to ride my Harley I just get on it and ride it. If I don’t need to stop and take a leak, then I don’t. No annoying female passengers nudging me in the back when we pass a gift shop or rest stop. No riding buddies honking at me to slow down or to pull over so they can put a fresh Tucks pad on. Just me.

Games, being interactive and requiring at least one other human being, are a fine substitute for having a circle of friends to ride with, drink with or root a football team on with. I can move anywhere in the country and within a matter of weeks be sitting around a table with a bunch of like-minded Geeks having a great time over a board game.

Women (sorry girls, I don’t mean those of you reading this, I mean those who aren’t reading it) are interchangeable. Well, at least they have been for me. By and large I get along with them and while I’ve never had any problems getting involved with women, it can get a bit messy when the time comes to part company. I’ll get back to you when I figure out how to make that painless.

Then there are my children. Believe it or not, they are even more important to me than games or motorcycles. I know that may shock some of you, but it’s true. Anyway, I have three of them.

Jaimy is my oldest. She worked in my store as her first job and I fully intend to write about that one day. It was hilarious because she’s a real looker and the effect she had on the gamers is legendary in Idaho. She’s currently an agricultural biologist with the US Customs Department in Chicago. She’s married to a semi-struggling artist who, big suprise, she met when he used to come into my store in the days I sold alternative comics. If you like the style of art I refer to as Urban, look him up and buy some of his stuff. His name is Noble Hardesty and apparently enough people buy his art for him to be considered a professional.

Marshall is my next oldest. He worked in my store as his first job. It was hilarious because he really wanted to work anywhere else…preferably somewhere that had actual attractive young females as customers. Marshall turned down an outstanding career as a programmer with a Defense Department contractor when he was 20 and working there on a summer internship. He stated firmly that creating government spy software was not part of his lifetime plan. He is also married, to a nice, attractive young woman and they run some sort of network solutions and web business in far northern California. Marshall made his first fortune at age 14 by selling his Magic cards at about a 4,000 percent profit.

And now to the subject of my contribution today. My youngest son, Wyatt.

I’ll be the first to admit that at my age I have absolutely no business having a 3 year old boy. And he is three today… even though I don’t think he knows it, or particularly cares. He will though, enjoy the cake and the additional construction equipment that he’ll receive for his party.

I am completely and unalterably addicted to this little guy. Wyatt is nothing like my other two children and they were pretty darned special when they were three… well… Marshall was special because I didn’t actually tie him up and keep him contained to a small closet until he was 18… but Wyatt is different.

I have never been around a happier, more affectionate and more charming child. He is a bug catching, backhoe-loving, motorcycle-admiring little tank. He rarely cries even though I already can count three scars (little ones) on his handsome face. He does throw fits, but then so do I when I don’t get what I want. He has three older half-sisters who haven’t got a clue what to do with him so he hasn’t decided to talk a whole lot yet, he just orders them around in Wyatt-speak and they oblige him like little robots in skirts.

Of the three kids, I think Wyatt will be the gamer. Jaimy and Marshall could care less about board games. There’s an attitude and intensity about this little guy that I sense will develop into a love of the mental process and handling of cards and pieces that games require. Wyatt, I think, will fall naturally into that niche.

One thing, for those of you who don’t have kids, that is a common misconception about toddlers and young kids is that they have a short attention span. They don’t. They have an attention span that is easily satisfied, not short. There’s a world of difference. This morning I got into my Urban Assault Vehicle and Wyatt wanted in. So I put him in my lap, fired it up and sat back to operate the throttle and brake while suggesting that he ought to turn this way rather than drive over that horse or turn back to the right rather than take that gate out.

He drove around the upper part of Mosquito Acres maybe three times and then he was done. No mas. Finito. If my dad had done that with me on my 3rd birthday I’d have happily driven the truck until the fuel ran out. But not Wyatt. He just wanted a taste and then he wanted to head back inside and see if there was anything left to break… or whatever he went back inside to do.

There’s just something about this kid that is compelling and unusual… maybe it’s his compassion and joy in just about anything he’s invited to participate in, or perhaps it’s his willingness to take a struggling earwig and put it in his sister’s hair or maybe it’s just plain old dad loving his own kid. But I think my next 15 years are going to be as much fun and as fulfilling as the years while my two older children were growing up.

I’m pretty sure Jaimy and Marshall are going to make a ton of money… so I haven’t paid close attention to my retirement account. I just hope Wyatt becomes a game geek in addition to whatever else he chooses to do with his life. I get a warm feeling about the notion of me being a crotchety old game geek, rolling up to the house on my Harley (probably a Trike by then), pulling a copy of the latest and greatest new game out of the saddlebags and going inside to teach the young whippersnapper a thing or two about life.

A nice image, for me.

Happy Birthday Wyatt.


Joe Gola said...

Happy birthday, Wyatt! Give your old man hell!

Anonymous said...

I knew it, I knew it - you're just a big marshmallow after all, aren't you, DW?

Happy birthday to the little guy!

gamesgrandpa said...

Happy Birthday to Wyatt!

I can't believe I have grandchildren older than him.

I sincerely hope Wyatt does become a games geek. As you know, my grandson is well down that road already, and has been going that way since about age 4. For those of us who consider ourselves in that category, it's with a lot of pride that we see offspring moving in that direction.

I would not have referred to my children as games geeks, but they do love to play some very nice games every weekend at our house, and my adult son easily wins more than his share. On second thought, maybe they are geeks -- just not to extent I am.

I wish you many, many happy years of gaming with Wyatt (you old sentimental softy).

Coldfoot said...

Happy Birthday to Wyatt, and Congratulations to you, DW, for having 3 wonderful kids you can be proud of--a tougher job than any you have to fill out an application for.

BTW, I released MY kids from the closet when they were *14*! At a time when most kids are just hitting their stride, mine turned into thinking, reasonable people. Go fig.

Phoeniix said...

Well ... you are a softie inside afterall ;) What a wonderful heart-warming story you've written.

A very happy birthday to you son, Wyatt.


Anonymous said...

If I had kids we'd be 3/3 in terms of what's important to us. Too bad that's not gonna happen. I'll have to settle for dogs over kids.

I'm sorry you've had such trouble with women, they aren't all so bad. Oh yeah... I would have to add my wife to my list. She never makes me stop the bike to go to some stupid artsy shop and she likes BBQ with a cold one as much as I do.

Anyway, I wish your son a happy birthday and many more.

Coldfoot said...

I would actually buy DW's self help books.

Heck, I would pre-pay for the series.

GrillTech said...

Have a Great Birthday Wyatt. Dang that was a fast 3 years. Seems like yesterday he was just a bundle in his car seat..

Anonymous said...

Good luck on the gamegeek project and happy birthday to the victim of your nefarious scheme. Two out of three of my kids seem to be developing in that direction nicely. Be prepared for playing some games that aren't as exciting as theyy could be. (Killer Bunnies springs to mind...)
Your allowing him to drive and the picture bring back memories of my childhood. My home from 5-college was on three acres that had been the corner of my grandfather's farm. My father worked in the auto industry, but we raised pigs, chickens and, for a few years, rabbits. There was also always plenty to do on my grandfather's farm. We live on a decent sized lot in a subdivision, that being the compromise between my upbringing and my city-girl wife's. So my kids won't get some of the opportunities that I had, like tending livestock (before and after school, shovelling manure driving traactors, baling hay, riding minibikes in the back lot and having a pony. I wonder if the benefits that they have are worth it; close library, a school where FFA isn't the be-all, end-all of the social life and friends their age within a mile. I guess only time will tell.

DWTripp said...

First off.. I an NOT an old softie! I am a hard, hard man. But I admit that kids are my weak spot. I'm certain the little guy would be appreciative of the nice comments and well wishes.

Secondly... for Coldie's benefit, I am actually writing what might marginally pass as a self-help book about men and marraige. Whether it will actually help anyone is questionable, but it's a fun project. My older son just bought the domain today for the book title and as the project progresses over the next several months I'll make sure you get the irl so you can order it.

Both my older kids, who have read the first several chapters, assure me it will sell but they suggest I change my name and start wearing disguises once it's actually published.

Y'all have fun with your kids and/or dogs.

Christopher Stogdill said...

I'm sure the little bugger'll be a gamer...hard not too. I hope you are saving a few of your gems for him instead of eBaying the lot....

I think we should get him into HackMaster as soon as he starts reading...

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday to Wyatt! If you figure out the secret to converting him into a gaming geek, let me know, I have a little brother that evades my every attempt and I hope to have a youngin myself ... in a few years after I take my grand tour of America.