So, I have the best ruminations while I’m driving, and always have a tentative outline for the thoughtful and amazing philosophical ideas I’d like to talk about… and then by the time I get to the computer I’m reduced to staring at it dumbly and thinking about lolcats. Sigh.

But, OK, here’s a real topic I’d like opinions on. The kids and I have been hanging out with friends who have Xboxes, and Jack has picked up his mad gaming skills remarkably fast. It’s kind of cool to watch him, because historically physical prowess was not on his short list of accomplishments. Unfortunately I’m unsure what I think about it. I know there are many people who think television et al for children is mentally stunting at best and possibly neurologically damaging at worst. (And to be clear, the whole tv=autism theory makes me snarl, so that’s not what I’m validating.) I concede at a basic level why the utopian ideal can include kids running around and free playing their childhood away, but I also know quite a few wickedly smart people who spent their formative years in front of electronic devices, so I’d also concede the argument that technology doesn’t have to be the Bradbury-ian doomsday harbinger.  

Whatever, point is, I’m hesitant. First because he’s only 5, and I just never thought that would be an issue already, the whole video game fascination. His perserverations can be stunning, and this seems like it could be Pandora’s Box. Secondly, and the actual crux of my concern, is whether to shell out the money to buy one of these systems. I’m not too worried about how much time he spends on it (for now), we’ve hashed out roughly 30 minutes each time he has the opportunity to play it, but those babies cost a couple hundred dollars, and I’m conflicted about buying one just because he assumes he’ll get one, or because it gives me a small measure of pride to know he excels at something so… blerg.. normal. 

Does that make sense?  Basically I don’t want to give in to his confident (and increasingly materialistic) entitlement to everything he wants, but man it makes me happy to see him happy and developmentally ahead at something. That poor monkey struggles with so many things kids his age wouldn’t even realize they do intuitively, and maybe this could be an opportunity for some self confidence. Or, it will be the beginning of a long and obnoxious fight with a time-sucking obsession.

So there you go. I’m  not panicked, just thinking about it and wondering what you all think about gaming, kids, parenting and why Sheryl Crow is popular when she’s always off-key and annoyingly screechy in parts of every song she sings. I had quite the phenomenally shitty day yesterday, and I’m jonesing to have a stimulating conversation.

[And if nothing else, everyone should read this and laugh, because it reminds me of the notebooks my girlfriends and I would write in during junior high classes, giving them back to each other during passing periods – though let me be clear we were FAR more innocent than this group. In fact, if you’re lucky, I’ll post a picture I have on my hard drive of me in 7th grade in one of those black and white photo booths. Big bangs? Braces? Making a goofy face that somehow resembles palsy? So hot. Good times.]

Ready.. go.