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Entertain Me!

Will our appetites for entertainment ever be satiated? On community Facebook pages, old Harold often see parents asking what things are available in town for kids to do. When I was a kid there were no computers, Netflix, Amazon or Apple TV. We had radio and black and white TV, then colour TV and eventually cable TV for a short time until Dad thought we were spending too much time in front of the boob-tube.

We had card and board games, and one Christmas we got Pong, the first ever low-tech video game. We also had loads of Tonka toys and the great outdoors to destroy them in. We road them down hills, staged epic crashes and blew them up with firecrackers. We also had a few battalions of toy soldiers and frequent games of cowboys and first nations. We had bikes for transport and to fly down hills and launch over makeshift jumps. We built tree forts, dug caves, and raced hot wheels cars down hills for the equivalent of pink slips. If you came inside and complained you were bored, parents did not look for ways to entertain you, you were put to work.

Honestly, why does everything your kids do have to be entertaining? Perhaps it would serve them better to do more things that were satisfying. Maybe help an elderly neighbour, find some volunteer work or get a part time job. It seems these days, many kids are spending the better part of their youth playing video games and living in a virtual rather than the real world. I guess it’s physically safer, but what about mentally? And how does this prepare them for adulthood? When putting together a resume, I don’t think proficiency at gaming will go a long way, unless of course your kid aspires to be a professional gamer.

Old Harold also wonders if many of the video games are actually fun. Are chickens pecking a pad to get feed entertained, or do they just want the reward? I guess the first couple of times it’s a thrill, but after a while the novelty wears off. In addition, with video games, the more rewards you want, the greater the challenge and the greater the frustration. If you then succeed in passing all the levels, what do you get? A whole lot of nothing other than bragging rights with your online friends.

Let’s break it down, however, playing video games might actually set your kid up to be great at an office job. Sit at a computer 8 hours a day in a cubicle with no sunlight, ulcers from stress and hemorroids from sitting. Lack of movement and poor diet set them up for metabolic syndrome (i.e. obesity leading to type 2 diabetes and blood pressure/heart problems), and then after work, they play video games as they have no other interests or ways to replace rewards from pecking a game controller.

Old Harold is pretty good at doling out advice on how to raise your children. My rant is likely driven by jealousy because I’m useless at gaming, and have watched everything on Netflix, Amazon Video, Youtube and Tiktok. I’m not good at motivating myself to do household chores or volunteer to help anyone. I’m bored and need to be entertained or at least find something satisfying to do. Perhaps penning this column will spur me on to bigger and better things, unless of course it’s just another tactic to avoid doing things that really need doing.

Peace out


Harold Splatt, a long time resident of Lacombe Alberta, provides us with his colourful commentary on life as he sees it.

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