A while back, a friend of mine made a bet with his two teens that he could stay off the internet longer they they could and he noted that after a bit of “sure, Dad, whatever…” snickering and such, they took him up on the offer for a month. Well, I think it may have been the lure of less to no chores for the month as a reward and I think there was a small amount of financial bribery (which isn’t really “bribery” if it’s in kept the family and it’s agreed upon, right?). CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.
I got a kick out hearing this because I know for a while he’d been trying to get them to spend more time with each other and less time glued to tiny screens when they were in the same room. I knew he and The Wife were big fans of board games and silly outdoor fun, but the kids? Well, they were when they were younger, they were. But now they did school activities and were busy with them (a few clubs and team sports, from what I understand). But at home, phones, tablets and teen gossip ruled the roost so much that on some days, even the TV went un-watched by the kids. Neither of them is into video games as a hobby, although there is a PS4 in the house that gets regular use (Hi, Dad!). Anyway, it seems that things were going well for about a week, when I get a phone call asking if I had any cartoons in the movie library…
The deal was no internet use save for checking work or school email or urgent family/friend related messages (no “Donna just broke up with Sam!” stuff unless it was actual life or death), and as it was summer, school was out and both parents have jobs that don’t require any nosy, noisy social networking (and neither parent uses or cares for those services). Netflix was not a family thing either (It’s not for me, as well – I’ll need to one day write about my time with the brilliantly flawed streaming thing), so when it’s movie time there, the ol’ physical DVD or Blu-Ray library was the way to go. But they didn’t have cartoons any more, as the kids say they outgrew them (Ha!) and all those tapes and discs went to a local charity years ago. They all watch some disc or tape movies together (a working VHS and old analog TV are also in the house) and even go to the movies from time to time. But usually, the kids go alone or with friends, as not everyone likes every movie, of course.
The request came after a (very) light argument where one kid was trying to recall some cartoon he’d seen when he was a wee one, but his sister was sure that the show wasn’t the show he was thinking about. In the middle of all this, I get a call from a Rather Amused Dad and yep, those kids needed some help because they couldn’t use YouTube (rules!) and well, I had a few DVD’s here that would make them fight less while keeping them entertained (I hoped). So I put together a care package and maybe 25 minutes later, Driving Dad rolls up, both kids in the car eyeballing the bag I was handing over like two hungry dogs ogling fresh meat.
He stepped out of the car and took the bag, noting that the kids came with him because they didn’t trust him NOT to use his phone on the way over to check stuff. I laughed and he also noted that they were both trying to outdo one another with their non-use competition and that Daughter Dear want as far as to buy a broken phone off a friend and smash it with a hammer in front of the family to show how SERIOUS she was. I was told Her mom just looked out from the kitchen (she went to get herself a drink) and calmly told her that her real phone was upstairs in a locked drawer and if she was SERIOUS, she’d pick the lock and break that one, too.
Of course, The Defiant One said that now really busted phone was a SYMBOL of her SERIOUSNESS (insert lioness roar sound effect here). When I heard this, I was imagining her doing a Dog Day Afternoon scene afterward just for effect. I shot her a thumbs up, but as the windows were closed, all she did was shake her head and mouth a “What?” at me, then as she rolled the window down, I put my thumb up again and said “Good going on the protest thing!” and she just rolled her eyes at me and then the window went back up. The other window rolled down and Teen Wolf asks if I was talking about his sister’s “Attica Moment”, and I laughed because at least one of them appreciated the film or at least, that scene. The window went back up. Air conditioning is a good thing in the summer heat, isn’t it? I decided to not to do my Al Pacino impression because yeah, some old coot yelling about Attica for no reason would be a bit weird in public.
Daddy-O told me that after the phone smash, her brother just yawned and went for a run around the block, with his sister dashing after him yelling all the way “He’s gonna cheat, I KNOW IT!”. She’s a fast runner, too. But no, He was literally going for a run around the block for a bit of exercise, probably wishing he’d come up with that broken phone thing first. So, anyway, what did I get them all to keep their sanity levels somewhat less frantic? Well, a few clues are in the pictures, but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out (SUSPENSE). It was a lot of stuff to watch, spread across a few decades because, hey, why not?
Okay, HINT: Not everything was a cartoon, but some were based on them or have enough references in them that they could be animated or re-done as cartoons of a sort.