Noah has just unwrapped his second Pokemon Booster pack. My sister, his auntie, bought him the extra pack as consolation.
His usual Sunday afternoon Pokemon tournament was canceled. Not enough players showed up. I guess the Fathers chose other venues for their annual celebration.
On Mother’s Day, the place was packed with dads (many whom I’d never seen before) accompanying their progeniture. Perhaps, on their day, Mother’s love ‘breakfast in bed’ followed by ‘a day without kids’. The best gift a dad can give a mom. Perhaps also a sign of an impoverished male imagination.
In my case, Noah negotiated with my sister to show up early Sunday to treat me to brunch. I pretended surprise. Of course I already knew all about it. He’s only nine, so my sister had to make sure it was alright with me.
So I was treated to really nice french toast with maple syrup on a breezy terrace. Then we went to Noah’s tournament only to discover it was canceled. hence the two Booster Packs.
Because my sister is nicer than me.
Noah waited until we got back home to open his two packs. Every week he gets one pack,the price of admission to the tournament. This week he got two. A total of twenty cards.
For weeks he’s been belly aching that he never gets a special card…
“Because, dad, everybody but me has gotten, like at least, one special card, you know with the foil, yeah because those are worth a lot of money and often they’re like real useful when you play. So, yeah,it sucks, that I never get one.”
“Not surprising, Noah, it’s a lottery, you’re no more or less lucky than anybody else.”
“I swear dad. Everybody has gotten one except me.”
I can’t argue. I have no proof. And if he believes it, it’s true to him.
So all the way home today, he rubbed the closed packages trying to divine the extra heft of a special foil card.
“Ohhhh, dad, I so much want a special card.”
Back home he clears the table, sets out his two packs and takes a deep breath. He opens the first pack tantine bought him.
“Good card, lame card, lame card, pretty good card…”. He’s visibly trying to stay positive but I can hear the sucking sound of disappointment.
“No special card. Ahhhhhh!”
He breathes again. It’s Father’s Day, so he’s making every effort not to bitch. He knows that when he bitches I bitch back. Whining annoys me beyond reason. It activates all my guilt mechanisms.I feel somehow responsible for his disappointment. I feel responsible for everybody’s disappointment.
And I don’t like it.
He pulls off the wrapping and turns the cards face down to prolong the moment before disappointment. He turns them over, one a time.
“Not bad, bad, suckish, not bad…”
He’s halfway through the 10 cards. Suddenly he freezes, his fingers are feeling up one of the cards. His eyes widen, his mouth drops. He turns over the card very slowly.
“Oh my God! Oh my God! OH MY GOD!!!!”
My sister and I freeze. His tone is so overwhelmed that it’s hard to distinguish if it’s pleasure or pain.
“OH MY GOD!!! OH…MY…GOD….!!!”.
And we’re non-believers.
“OH….dad….OH…MY….look look, look how cool this is….OH MY GOD!!! this is a special foil Pokemon Catcher card. This card is worth a fortune. Feel how cool is the texture.”
I rub it. It is in fact full of interesting patterns in overleaf.
“Tantine, feel this card.”
She does so.
He’s lost in breathless wonder.
“And it’s like the second booster pack you bought me, tantine, or else like the next guy would have had this card. Imagine?”
He moves the card this way and that so that it catches the light.
“And you know dad, this card is like worth sixty-five dollars.”
“Really?” I’m skeptical. The booster packs cost four dollars fifty cents.
“Really dad. If I can go on the computer like for a minute, I’ll show you.”
He doesn’t even search. He knows exactly where to go.
“Look dad, look.” He holds the card up to the screen. It’s the exact same card and it’s worth…..sixty-five dollars!
“OH MY GOD! This is the most awesome Father’s Day ever!”
Happy Father’s Day!