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    Smile Video Game Poetry: The Biggest Gift

    This is one of three Christmas gifts that I have written for the Retrogaming Roundtable forum. I hope you enjoy them. If you make comments about them, then just remember, like the days of renting VHS and BetaMax video cassette tapes, to "Be kind, please rewind!"

    The Biggest Gift
    It wasn't long until Christmas
    When they had given me their lists
    I had bought many expensive lots
    I had gone online and to the shops
    Until my wallet threw on the stops

    The spouse and the children had gotten so much
    Asking for a few things for myself and such
    Surely wouldn't have been a financial crutch
    But now the day before Christmas
    Something seemed to just be amiss

    No one was talking to me
    All they were interested in was TV
    Or their cell phones and online glee
    (Sitting in a room full of people
    can be so very lonely)

    I tried to make conversation
    Hoping that someone would chime in
    But the conversation died as soon
    As my sentence found its end
    (Were they strangers, family, or friend?)

    No one had stopped by
    It was just the core family
    No Great-Aunt Gertrude
    No little Bernie
    Nor any of my friends did I see

    Now it is Christmas day
    But my spouse and kids might as well
    Be a million miles away
    The tree's shadow is filled with gifts
    At least three dozen presents there stay

    But the room seems cold to me
    (And I don't mean the icy scenery)
    The kids only want to chat online
    With Kelly, Don, or Brad
    There's not even board games to be had!

    Look at those gifts under the tree
    If only they could possibly see
    The pricey things worth so much money
    I bought them the shiny and new
    All of the major consoles too

    For my dear I bought a new PC
    But scanning the name tags
    I just don't spot anything for me
    Did they forget or can I just not see?
    I am starting to get angry!

    Could anyone blame me for being upset?
    I mean would it have killed them to get
    Me just a few presents or some fun kit?
    I work all of the year to keep them warm and snug
    To find myself at the end of the year getting snubbed?

    I married this person for better or worse
    But I'm starting to wonder if it was a curse
    I look and I look yet all that I see
    Is a room full of indifference
    And disinterested apathy

    These children whom I raised
    From before they were wee little toddlers
    Seem completely unaware of their
    Mother or father
    Like they can't even notice

    Or simply can't bother
    My significant other looked up
    Time to store these feelings in my gut
    (Discretion for others is so sublime)
    I guess it is finally gift-giving time

    I suppose my emotions are only mine
    That is OK; do not worry; it is fine
    After all, it is Christmas time
    And selfishness is a bit of a crime
    Perhaps a little happiness I'll find?

    Supper has been eaten
    Dessert, as always, was sweet
    But a little human kindness
    Would be the nicest treat
    Though gift opening is the next feat

    My spouse has decreed
    That present time is now
    My children dash for
    their gifts and how!
    All I could think to myself was, "Wow!"

    The youngest began to separate
    Each of the gifts according to name plate
    The others moved presents like shipping freight
    Working through the entire yuletide spate
    Every one to find out its festive fate

    But what was this? I could hardly believe
    There were presents for everyone
    (That includes neighbor Steve!)
    But as for my somber and moody self
    I couldn't find any "gift from an elf!"

    Yes, I was glad that their electronics
    No longer consumed their eyes and their thoughts
    As their individual gift piles grew into great big lots
    But while everyone got a nice pile of swag
    I felt like I was the town's most unwanted hag!

    I know that Christmas is more than what you get
    But not a single present? I call forfeit!
    They even got fancy things for our pet!
    Just look - just look at all the gift paper fly
    But no one, not any one, spared a thought for this guy?

    I asked the youngest if there was anything for me
    But he couldn't hear as he kept diving under the tree
    Everyone else was simply too busy
    To glance up or pay attention really
    But how and why could this ever be?

    Oh, what does it matter? Every day is the same
    Today might be Christmas but it is only in name
    I shouldn't be selfish; I should think of the rest
    But sometimes retreating to my own little world seems best
    (Ironically they treat me worst than a guest)

    Sure, now that the phones are gone
    A different focus found a new dawn
    Perhaps I should retire with a feigned yawn
    Nobody has a single thought about myself
    I guess I could see what's good on the old game shelf

    "Hey there, lost in thought?"
    It was the voice of my youngest tot
    Wow, this year he grew like a shot
    I guess next year he'll be at the
    Middle School's lot.

    "Sorry, I was a bit out of it."
    "Well it is present time, so quit!"
    "Say aren't you just a fire spit?!"
    "Sorry about that, but I have something for you!"
    What? Really? Could this possibly be true?

    It was small so it was no wonder I couldn't see
    "I found it all the way at the back of the tree."
    I was nearly in tears - I hadn't been forgotten by my family!
    "Go ahead, open it and see!"
    "Yes, dear, it's from the kids and me."

    As I looked around at them and their new game stations,
    Two Xboxes, four Nintendos, and two PlayStations
    And my dear spouse with a souvenir from our last vacation
    I remained dumbstruck and stood at my station
    Hardly able to believe the changed situation

    "If you're not going to open it, I could give you a hand."
    How could they know? How could they understand?
    For being so self-absorbed I felt like a big ham.
    "I guess I should open it instead of just stand."
    "Hurry up, you silly goose, Christmas ain't planned."

    I tore open the paper once I was past the bow
    And I hate to admit it, but wouldn't you know?
    When I saw what I held tears filled up my eyes
    Those crazy folks had been telling little white lies
    Hidden behind their dresses and Christmas ties

    "Oh my gosh, how could you afford such bliss?"
    "If we hadn't gotten you something for the holiday,
    then that would have been terribly amiss!"
    "Yes, but it's too expensive, I can't accept this!"
    "Don't worry, don't worry, I chipped in with the kids."

    But this? This? This was the Nintendo World Championships!
    The fabled N.E.S. gray cartridge worth a fortune in bids!
    My mind raced as one is wont to do
    How much money must they have flown through?
    A few thousand dollars at least must be true!

    Wait, I know. I couldn't be dumber.
    They must have bought some reproduction or another.
    "Oh, I say: You must have bought this repro on eBay."
    "Oh ho ho ho - no how, no way!"
    "What, no, you can't say-"

    "We worked part time jobs this past summer."
    "I acted as a grocery runner."
    "Our band got a few gigs with me as drummer."
    "I was a movie extra in Storms of Thunder."
    "I worked as an apprentice plumber."

    "Plus I managed to sell our old Hummer."
    I was shocked. I was stunned. I couldn't believe it.
    And here earlier I was throwing such a spoiled fit.
    Here they were, all united as one
    To buy me something significant and fun

    But what mattered most to me wasn't the cost of the prize
    Which had managed to bring the beginning of water-works to my eyes
    Nor its rarity nor the nostalgia I had;
    My family's kindness is what made me glad
    And so my Christmas was merry, not sad

    "Get over here! It's time for a group hug!"
    "Yes, you too, Josh, don't be a bug!"
    "You are the best family I know!"
    "Hey Dad, look: It's beginning to snow."
    "Well, gosh, kids, look at it go!"

    So that's how our Christmas went this year
    What started out bleak ended with cheer
    I still can't believe they got me that rich game,
    My collection won't ever again be the same.
    But truly the warm heart was the best thing to claim!

    ~ THE END ~

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