As a child, there was one absolute truth that I lived by. I was always right. It’s likely that I’m not the only one who grew up with such a “truth”, and I’m certain that I found myself in trouble far too often because of it. You might expect this story to be heading towards criminal acts or minor misdemeanors but that didn’t happen. Instead it simply left me in a constant battle with my parents who had to be taught that I was, of course, always right.
One day, around 1988, on a beautiful Summer day, my mum took it upon herself to remind me that I should be outside enjoying the sun instead of being stuck inside playing computer games. In hindsight, she was probably right, but the 10-year-old me was deep into a Chase HQ race and the idea of leaving it to bake in the garden was not at all appealing. I made this clear to my mum, perhaps too clear, as she then pulled the plug on my TV and reminded me who the parent was.
After spending what felt like an eternity with my parents and younger sister, I was granted reprieve to return to my game whilst lunch was prepared. However, I had an idea that I knew would be a winner. Whilst my mum slaved away in the kitchen, I collected together everything I would need for my afternoon in the garden. The look on my mum’s face as she delivered plates of food to the garden table was priceless.
Next to our house, in the garden, OUTSIDE, was a pretty good recreation of my bedroom. An extension plug trailed through the open dining room window and my rather bulky-yet-portable TV stood on my dad’s workbench, along with my computer equipment, all hooked up and ready to go. I think my mum admired my ingenuity, who wouldn’t? The good news was, I had won, my mum had wanted me to play outdoors and I had fulfilled that criteria. Unfortunately my afternoon in the sun wasn’t as exciting as I had hoped – I could barely see the picture on my TV thanks to the bloody sun!
A few years later I had a very similar argument with my mum but by that point I was a teenager and she really shouldn’t have crossed me. Instead of shifting parts of my bedroom outside, I became the owner of a Sega Game Gear and simply spent my time sprawled across the lawn, hidden under a parasol, playing Alex Kidd and Sonic the Hedgehog.
As a parent myself. I am fearful of the arguments that I’ll no doubt have with my offspring, but I’m sure none will end with them dragging expensive computers out into the garden in order to prove me wrong. Hopefully!
Image of the Sinclair ZX81 can be found at Andy Taylor’s excellent Flickr photostream.