The Tale of the Green Game Boy

green game boy

Imagine it’s your 10th birthday. You are surrounded by your family, finishing up with cake and ice cream. You know what that means – time to open presents! Your excitement grows as you open the first box from Mom and Dad. It’s full of clothes. You smile and thank them, and move to the next present from your aunt and uncle. The box is heavy – it has to be something fun. It’s a stack of books. Mom nudges you to thank them, so you do. When it seems like all hope is gone – your grandmother hands you an envelope. You read the card out loud and open it in hopes that something falls out. It’s your lucky day! A crisp $20 bill falls onto your lap! Your mind races as you begin to imagine the possibilities! Will you go to the movies? Buy a pet snake? A hover board? A guitar? The options of what you might buy are endless! And just like that, the birthday party is over, and you are begging your mom to take you to the mall.

Does this situation sound familiar to you? As children, the majority of us were probably in this very situation. Getting cash for a present or as a reward for doing something good made us feel like millionaires. In some cases, maybe that cash wasn’tmoney thrown away easily obtained.

I started working when I was about 11, clearing tables at my uncle’s diner. I worked on the weekends, and it wasn’t an easy gig. I woke up before the sun was up, lifted buckets that weighed more than me, and learned to deal with the many different personalities that I would encounter later in life. I definitely can say I worked hard for the money I earned.

That money burned a hole in my (apron) pocket faster than I made it. I daydreamed about my impending shopping spree while I stood on my stepstool and buttered toast. At the end of the work day, I would be begging my two older sisters to dri
ve me to the mall.

Here’s where my big lesson comes in.

I remember it was a Sunday, and I had worked both days that weekend. I went to Target with my eyes on a lime green Game Boy Color. The Game Boy was in stock, so I bought it with a game that probably was not on sale. After all, the Game Boy was useless without a game, right? I played that thing all night, trying to get as far as I could in the game until my mom caught me up past my bedtime. Monday morning came, and a busy week of homework and hopscotch began. The Game Boy sat on my nightstand and wasn’t touched for days.

The next Saturday, I thought all day at work about the money I spent on something I used once. I realized it wasn’t a good choice, and came up with the perfect solution. I would return the Game Boy and buy something else! I hitched another ride to the mall with my sister, and brought the Game Boy, in its original box, to the customer service desk. The person working the desk asked me if I had opened the box. I cringed as I knew what was coming, and gave him my honest answer – yes. I couldn’t return this electronic because I had taken it out of the box. I was seriously bummed out, and so mad at myself for making a hasty decision to buy something I really didn’t want. I saw that Game Boy as money down the drain.

Now I’m 25, and I would like to think I am a much wiser spender. I’m usually good about buying clothes and shoes on sale or with coupons, but I do love to buy gadgets. When it comes to buying things I know I really don’t need, I think about it a little longer. And the longer I think, the more often I decide that something will soon have the appeal of that green Game Boy.

Author’s Note: When I tell the kids in Pre-K through 4th grade this story, they look at me like I am ancient! Apparently, Game Boys are not “cool” anymore!

One Response to “The Tale of the Green Game Boy

  • gratia gosselin
    1 year ago

    We have all had a “green game boy” moment at all some point. Mine may or may not have involved Nike Cortez sneakers… (back in the 80’s, the first time they were popular; I am so old)

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