Sunday, 20 November 2011

The Greatest Gift I Never Played

Let me start by saying I’ve received some great Christmas gifts over the years. As a kid, I spent countless hours creating hundreds of baked goods by the light of a 10 watt bulb. The year Santa showed up with our very first video game system was a definite hit (Atari’s Space Invaders, anyone??). The Christmas Eve my brother & I discovered our new Walkmans under the tree was a huge score! (NOTE: IF you were born after 1985 just picture a huge iPod!)

But none of them hold a candle to that one gift that resulted in choirs singing, spotlights beaming down and sheer & utter happiness prevailing. The year I stumbled down the stairs with messy hair and crumpled pyjamas with half-opened eyes and saw it. The gift that made all of the waiting and hoping and praying worthwhile. Yes, it was every little girl’s dream.


That’s right – my happiness that year was found at the bottom of a plastic 12” shark. *Sigh*…

I was too young to be able to actually watch the movie that was sweeping the nation, or even know when or if it was actually safe to go back in the water.  But I knew it was a big thing and come hell or high water I wanted to be part of it too! So forget the dollhouse or the Barbie or the colouring books – it was the Jaws game that was destined to make my Christmas complete.

So there it was at the top of every Christmas list, shared with every mall Santa, circled & dog-eared in every toy catalogue & flyer we received. I wanted – no… I NEEDED this Jaws game to be under my tree Christmas morning.

Thankfully, Santa Claus has a reputation of delivering. Of course, as kids we may not be aware of how many miles Santa may have to cover, how many shopping malls he may need to frequent, how many favours he may need to call in to locate the desired item… All that mattered was that come Christmas morning, my Christmas wish had come true. There amongst the Christmas tree tinsel and orange-filled stockings lay the most beautiful hunk of plastic my 6-year old eyes had ever seen.

I immediately ignored the other gifts that Santa had so generously left to keep my Jaws game company, and got down to business. I gently took the beloved shark out of its box and lovingly set up all of the pieces according to the directions. The goal of the game was to carefully pick the various items out of the shark’s mouth with a hook. If you weren’t careful – SNAP! The mouth snapped shut and the game was over. Seems relatively straightforward, doesn’t it?

So the shark was set up in its place of honour; the plastic tires, boots and other random paraphernalia were strategically placed throughout its mouth; I had finished limbering up and had the hook in my hand ready to rescue that first piece of junk from this fierce competitor. I spied the spare tire leaning haphazardly against the anchor and knew it was an easy rescue. I leaned in slowly – taking all angles into consideration – carefully hooked the inside of the tire and ever so slowly began the extraction process. Slowly….. past the anchor… over the rubber glove… around the old shoe… and……


I never played that game again.

(Sorry Santa!)

Do you have a favourite holiday gift that you'll never forget?
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