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6:28 a.m. - 2008-10-04


I am so excited.

Every year around this time, I'm grilling Andrew over what he wants for his birthday/Christmas.

Because ... with Aspergers ... the kid doesn't communicate things like that to us. He may want something specific like a new car or something but instead he tells us he wants everything he sees.

Which may or may not be Aspergers. Shit. The kid may just want everything he sees.

But this has always lead to a small toy store being purchased around this time and stuffed around a Christmas tree only to be opened by a little boy who likes 2-3 of the gifts and the other 4,612 get crammed into his closet until Yard Sale Day.

Not this year.

In August I decided that I was not going to have a replay of what happened last year.

Last year I went on a quest for a Wii.

Unfortunately, my quest never came with plans of sleeping on the sidewalk in front of Best Buy all night in order to possibly win a chance at purchasing one of the four Wiis they would have delivered overnight.

So Andrew didn't get a Wii last year.

Truth was ... Andrew didn't even know what a Wii was then.

He does now.

And there's a brand new Wii stuffed behind Susie's suitcase in her closet right now. I found one Wii console at Circuit City and snatched it up like Paris Hilton collecting another case of gonorrhea.

Along with about eight games and eight "Guides" that help him get through the games.

(The kid is REALLY big on the guides. He has one guide for a Nintendo DS game that has fallen apart because he took it with him everywhere this summer. It even made its way into the bathtub somehow, hence its "fallen apart" look)

So for the last two months, all he has talked about is getting a Wii.

...For his birthday, November 2nd.

My wife swears up and down that a Wii is a CHRISTMAS gift and not a BIRTHDAY gift.

I agree.

But man, we are dancing around this subject as delicately as possible.

Because whatever we get him for his birthday will be completely forgotten about six weeks later when the Wii shows up under the Christmas tree.

So, while you want the kid to have a decent birthday present, that present is really just a holding pattern for what's to come.

Last night we went out to dinner and I made the suggestions that we went to Toys R Us afterwards to browse for ideas for birthday presents.

Andrew was keen on the idea.

We walk in and he makes a beeline ... A BEELINE to the video games section.

There he finds the holy grail of stuff to look at at Toys R Us ... the guide for Super Mario Kart on Wii.

Andrew has watched every single Mario Kart Wii video there has been made on You Tube.

He knows this game like the back of his hand.

He doesn't own it. Never physically played it.

But he knows the short cuts, the hidden point places and everything there is to know about the game.

So I stay with him while Susie browses up and down the aisles for anything that we can give him on November 2nd that won't cause a meltdown because it's "not a Wii".

He saw a couple of Nintendo DS games that he'd like plus some "Cars" playsets since he's starting to get into "Cars" again a little (the movie ... not actual cars).

But the whole time we walked around that store, he carried that Mario Kart guide with him with his little finger serving as a bookmark separating the pages he's memorized from the pages he has yet to see.

As we left and were walking through the parking lot, I asked him if he saw anything he'd want for his birthday.

"Yeah," he said. "The guide for the Mario Kart Wii game."

"But Andrew, you don't even HAVE the game. You don't even HAVE a Wii."

(My secret perverted thrill? He has the game, the Wii AND the guide in his Mom's closet already.)

"I know, but Santa's going to bring me one and when I get it, I'll want to know how to play and where all the secret areas are. I don't want to wake up on Christmas, have a Wii and not know how to use it."

Good point. At least the kid's thinking ahead.

I came up with the bright idea that when we got home, he needed to write a letter to Santa, asking for a Wii and Mario Kart and a Mario Kart guide.

That way, we're off the hook on his birthday. We can just point to the carbon copy of the letter and say "Santa's already going to do his best to get you a Wii. We didn't want you to have a Wii for your birthday and then that's all you got on Christmas too."

Of course, Andrew would be quite cool with two Wiis. He'd be even cooler with a Wii for every room.

Jeez Louise, this thing had better be worth all the coin I've dropped so far on it.

I get the sick feeling I'm going to throw my shoulder out on Christmas morning trying to rescue Princess Pink from the evil Wario though.

Might have to dip into my illegal Mexican painkillers that morning.

Sarah Palin.

I'm just not buying what that lady is selling.

I understand why she's where she's at right now.

But I think it's time for a little "Shame on you, republicans".

I can understand why they'd want to go courting the disillusioned Hillary supporters and try to woo them over to their side.

But you don't just bring in any woman off the street to do that. Pick a woman with a little more than two years of experience in public speaking.

Somebody who has an idea of foreign policy beyond "I can see Russia from my front porch!!"

She seems like an authentically sweet woman ... one of us ... the middle class working team that makes up America.

But I think my local librarian has a better grip on world affairs than Sarah Palin.

(In all fairness, my local librarian is a chatterbox and will talk your ear off over just about anything. She's really in the wrong field of work if you ask me and the dozens of people who glare at her while they're trying to read quietly in the library.)

The same argument could be made for Obama and how his lack of experience isn't much better.

But Obama has been in Washington and the Senate long enough to have an inkling of how it all works.

Plus Obama's smart.

Palin's a former local sports reporter.

There's a slight difference there.

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