The Pink Flamingo

I think my distorted view of the dollar began at a very, very young age. I can almost pinpoint the exact moment when things went amiss…

I was about seven-years old and it was my birthday so my family celebrated at a Chuckie Cheese-type establishment. After several hours of skeeball, animal claw and whack-a-mole, my parents blew the last call whistle on game-time. I immediately shoveled my armload of tickets onto the prize counter, never taking my eyes off of a pink flamingo Beanie Baby knock off that had my name written all over it. But, much to my disappointment, I was a hundred tickets short. The angst-ridden teen behind the counter haphazardly offered me feather pens, plastic teddy bears filled with bubble soap, sticker books with chintzy clowns on them, but my attention wasn’t on his measly penance, I needed to find Plan B and fast. I hustled to my dad who had reached his fun-limit for the year. But, once he heard the quiver in my voice and saw the crocodile tears pooling in his birthday girl’s big blue eyes as my limp, deprived hand weakly motioned to the pink flamingo between sobs it was go-time.  My dad zoned in like a Vietnam sniper. His first target, my brother. He tried to con the poor five-year old into giving me his tickets as a “birthday present” but his little heart was set on plastic handguns that will break before we get home. My fury towards the toddler burned through into his soul while he collected his winnings but I wasn’t giving up.

My dad never skipped a beat, he stomped over to the counter where my tickets still lay unclaimed. He shoved fifty real, non-Monopoly dollars at the pasty clerk and pointed at the pink flamingo.

But, to my horror, it didn’t fly. The clerk stood firm. There was to be no bartering in his court that day.

I did not, in fact, get my much-deserved prize, however, I did learn that if I don’t have enough tickets, there are always backup options.

Since this dastardly day, I have since tantrumed my way into getting a pony, puppies, cars, apartments, computers, more cars, tuition and a tab that more than likely exceeds the federal deficit. But, I think I might actually be growing up since it’s been a few months since I’ve even needed my dad’s deep pockets. I mean, sure, I still blow my paychecks in two days and then live off of PBJs for the next two weeks until I can spend it on steak dinners and cigarettes but I’m trying to wean myself off of the parental teat. Maybe I’m just trying to erase God’s memory so, by the time I conceive, Karma won’t be lurking with a pink beanie baby and 18-years of payback.

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