He came into the kitchen where I was partaking in the culinary arts.
“There’s nothing to do,” he sighed dramatically.
“Oh, come now,” I said, and suggested several fun and wholesome activities which may have included things like Taking Out the Garbage or Sorting the Recycling or Winning the War on Dust with Our Friend Duster.
He wasn’t impressed.
“It’s just so boring,” he said, his whole body dissolving into the chair.
I thought about it and I got the (recently delivered from the local rotisserie) chicken and vegetables ready for dinner.
He was bored because his favorite gaming device was unavailable. On the one hand, I could definitely relate. The one time my Kindle wasn’t charged, I almost flatlined. And I don’t even want to talk about the Time That My iPhone Disappeared for Twenty Minutes. I don’t think I exhaled until it was safely back in my loving arms. So I get it. I’m no Luddite.
But I also, like many parents, grew up during a time without personal gaming devices. Sure there was Atari and Miss PacMac, but that was for the Stephen Hawking among us. I had to entertain myself with things like books (paper, at that!) and paper dolls and …well, as I carved the chicken I had a brilliant idea.
“Hey, are you ready to have some fun?” I asked my son.
He looked at me with suspicion.
“What?” he asked.
I called his sister over and as the two of them stood before me, I reached into the chicken and TaDA’d the wishbone.
I held it up with joy and pride, not unlike the Circle of Life scene in The Lion King and when I looked at my children’s faces, expecting to see similar joy and pride reflected on them, I was disappointed.
They looked…grossed out.
“What are you doing?” My 14-year-old daughter asked.
“Can you stop that?” my son begged.
“It’s a wishbone,” I explained, handling it now as though I was mid-archeological dig. “A wishbone is an important bone that the chicken has.”
They looked nonplussed, assuming that nonplussed means couldn’t care less about whatever I was talking about.
“Now that I’ve extracted the wishbone,” I went on, “it will have to dry. And when that happens, the two of you can pull on one side each.”
My kids continued to look nonplussed in the First Degree.
“And then what?”
“Well, whoever gets the middle part, makes their wish come true,” I explained. I remembered the wishbone being one of the more exciting activities from my childhood.
“I wish my XBox was working again,” my son said.
“I’m going to do my homework now,” my daughter said and left the room.
I guess I don’t blame them for not being excited about the wishbone.
Maybe they’re too old for the magic of tearing apart a chicken carcass and playing tug-of-war with one of its bones. Maybe it’s my fault for not introducing them to it earlier.
Or maybe wishbones belong to a bygone era, an era without gaming devices and the Internet and DVRs.
But I still remember the excitement I felt when I got a wishbone and a chance to have a dream come true. I’m saving this one for a special occasion.