Don't get me wrong. I love my son with all my heart. It's just that I work two jobs, six days a week...
His birthday was coming back around. I quit trying long ago to surprise him or beat around the bush and sneak hints out of him about what he might want. Now I flat out ask him.
It's kind of like saying, "Give me the bad news first." At this point it's like, "Let's just get it over with."
Let me recap for you over the years... take a look around his room here. You see that box there on the bookshelf? That was five years ago. My son, the kid notorious for not being able to finish or commit to anything, asked for that of all things. It's one of those 3D puzzles with the foam pieces that comes together to create a castle. I thought I was being slick when I got him the one with fewer pieces...
I mean, those are cheap gifts. It's not that big of a deal but it's the principal of the matter. Doesn't he understand each one of those represents a solid 5 hours his old man has to put in working with his tired old hands? But it's like he started testing the boundaries, like he wanted to know how far he could push me.
"Fine. We can get a dog but I'm not going to be around enough to take care of it. So you have to sign this contract saying you will train it, feed it, and take it out to the bathroom every single day. Deal?" That contract is still on the fridge. Let me tell you, nothing is binding any more. Back in my day a man could look another man in the eyes and give a firm handshake and that was enough. Now, it means you'll end up giving all your money to paper towel companies because your son can't keep his end of a bargain.
Look out the window there. Take a guess how much that trampoline gets jumped on. And here we are at last year's "most important gift ever because I want to get strong." What does a 13 year old kid need to be buff for? I tell you it's because he watches too much of them wrestling shows. I was proud of myself though. I told him "No son of mine is going to use a Bowflex. You're getting free weights." That kid has never been scrawnier.
Which brings us back to this year. You know what he asked for?... A frickin' acoustic guitar.
"But dad, I need a really good one so I can learn efficiently and effectively." I asked him if he even knew what that meant (of course not). "Well that's what the guy on YouTube said, and he has a lot of lessons on there I can learn from. And I can print tabs, too. I really want to do this, dad. I'm going to stick with it until I'm the best!"
Why don't you just play Guitar Hero like the rest of the kids? "I want to do the real thing, pleaaaaase."
Update: Six months have gone by. There it is, the best acoustic guitar I could afford, leaning in the corner collecting dust next to that 3D castle. All because he never took the time to figure out how to tune it. Someone ought to make a YouTube video about that.