As children, we often make choices which lead to consequences. Sometimes these consequences happen naturally (don’t tie your shoe – trip and scrape a knee), while other times they involve parental intervention to take place. Usually these interventions are needed so the kids don’t turn out to be complete turdnuggets, yet sometimes in hindsight we’re still left wondering why we were punished. To be fair, parenting is probably the most difficult thing to do – and it’s not like a baby comes bundled with a ‘How To Raise Your Child’ manual when it pops out a uterus.
The most I’ve ever feared my parentals (my father in particular) in regards to oncoming punishment occurred when I was sevenish. I had my new friend Colin over to stay the night. The family decided that it would be a fine idea for everyone to hang out together, eat a pizza, and watch a movie for the night’s activities. However, somehow my sister ended up with the power to choose the movie from our well-worn VHS collection. Being the standard 5 year old, she chose her favourite video – ‘Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch’.
For those readers who were never raised into the Air Bud series of movies, allow me to enlighten you to their premise. Essentially, the original Air Bud movie revolved around a boy getting a golden retriever dog, who turned out to be a star basketball athlete. With every movie, a new sport was shown to be in the dog’s repertoire. This Buddy film was the fourth in the series, and involved the dog playing baseball, getting kidnapped, and eventually becoming a member of the Los Angeles Angles Major League Baseball team. It wasn’t my cup of tea.
Colin hadn’t seen the movie 5000 times before like I had, so he was pretty fascinated by the pro-athlete pup. I however, whipped out my original Gameboy and booted up my game of Pokémon Red, playing by the light of those lamp-cable chords that attached to the top of the system. Now, being seven and not really all that up to scratch with a game which is like 50% reading, I skipped most of what characters would say. This isn’t helpful when you have to navigate through Mt Moon. I’ll spare you the details – basically you need to take one step to illuminate a cave to get past its puzzles and twisty halls. I never lit up the cave, instead I spent hours upon hours of wandering aimlessly. I literally stared at a black screen hoping I was getting somewhere for hours.
Anyway, by the end of the movie, I had somehow managed to actually get through the entire cave system. I can’t really explain just how overjoyed I was with this achievement. Hours of work had just payed off. Well, turns out my parents weren’t really all that happy with me not offering to share my Gameboy with Colin throughout the entire movie. They called me on it while we were rewinding the VHS, and so naturally I offered the brick of plastic to my friend for a few minutes.
He handed the game system back to me in a powered off state. Powered. Off. For those of you following along at home, that means I wasn’t the one to follow the customary procedure of saving the game before powering down. As it turns out, Colin didn’t save. That means those hours of aimless wandering were now undone. I felt that fantastic gut-drop when you realise you’ve lost something dear. However, that wasn’t it. On the way up to my bedroom, my parents casually noted that for being inconsiderate there would be more consequences. I wasn’t feeling all that great when I climbed into bed.
Now, a couple of days went past. Every time I saw my dad, I got super nervous, and would try to slip away from view – hoping that his words from the sleepover would be forgotten. Walking on eggshells was hard work, but if it meant I could avoid some restriction I’d take it. I had just settled into a false sense of security, when I was walking down to breakfast one morning. Halfway down the staircase I realised my father was waiting for me at the base. I froze. Eyes locked. My knees started shaking. My hands went clammy. I feared for my Charmeleon and what would come of him.
‘I haven’t forgotten’ were the only words he spoke before moving on into the kitchen. In that moment, I was more fearful than I’ve ever been before. The likelihood of the matter is that my parents probably didn’t realise how traumatic this was for me. In the end I think they took away my Gameboy for a day or something. I don’t know. That’s not the point.
The point of this all is that what’s not scary for some people is downright terrifying for others. Social anxiety, depression, poverty, etc – it’s all out there, and more often than not you have a lot of people in your life struggling, and you might not even know it. Keep an eye/ear/nose out for them, and help out where you can. Don’t overthink things too much, but try to be a little sensitive. A little can go a long way.
rip to the clefairy that was never given a chance