I really like it when readers email me their stories to post here on The Sting Of The Scorpion Blog, I like reading them all. I especially like the stories that I can relate well to, such as the following story, because I was an 80’s kid. Being born in 1968 I can remember most of the 70’s, how things really started improving in the 80’s, and as a young adult when the 90’s started. But, I remember being the kid who “caught” my parents pretending to be Santa Claus red handed. I had always wondered how an old fat bastard got around down here in southeast Texas, the humidity had to make him sweat something fierce. Plus, having a fireplace was more like a decoration, it wasn’t meant to be functional, it was meant to be the eyesore in the corner where all the junk collected. As a kid I grew up and lived in the same house for 16 years, never once was the fire place used. My mother installed lights in it to accent the seasonal array of plants she would put in it to fill the void. Our winters are mild here to say the very least. But, this isn’t my story to tell, I turn y’all over to read the story of another disappointed 80’s kid.
Fortunately, I’m guessing, I don’t have a horrific Christmas tale of woe to share really, Scorpion Sting. Let’s just call it the “God-awful, just heinously suck-fucking-tastic family Christmas story”, okay? What I do have, however, is a tale of complete parental letdown, a tale of epic Santa denied disaster, and ostensibly the end to ever seeing the world of gift giving the same forever.
Do you see this here? That Tabletop Pac-Man circa 1983? Yeah, well, that’s all a young Spirit Fingers wanted for Christmas. And how could anyone not want this wonderrific arcade game styled in true arcade fashion making for the unique opportunity to eat ghosts, cherries, and power pellets right at their frigging fingertips? This was THE quintessential gift item. Yah, Cabbage Patch dolls were for over exuberant baby-lovers, Freezy Freakies gloves were for nerd-junkies and future Fox 5 weathermen, naw, the Tabletop Pac-Man, that, my friends was for cool kids with skillz, the ones who wore Jordache not Wrangler, had crimped hair not crispy bangs, who prided themselves on acquiring over 50 Garbage Pail Kids, not those who played Uno with their cousins on Friday nights. Yah, knowledge of the T.T.P.M meant you’d actually been in the mall arcade with real high-school kids, if only for a few seconds before your mother grabbed you and said you’re too young and they probably smoke “reefer” in there.
So, I’d dropped hints about this thing. Showed everybody the picture in the Toys R. US (parental nightmare) catalog. Put it as the NUMBER ONE gift on my Santa letter, which was stamped, mailed, and shipped directly to the North Pole of course. I even confirmed this fact during my phone call to the man himself. (In the 80’s parents calling taped phone recordings of “Santa” so their kids could “talk” to him were popular) and felt I had done all I could to secure the gift. I stopped smacking the ever-living dog shit out of my brother for breathing. I washed dishes for two weeks straight without an increase in allowance, AND smiled graciously when my Nana mentioned some lameitude about pink and blue Barbie themed legwarmers. (which I actually received to my shame)
Everything was all set. Cookies were set out. PJs were on, off to bed I went, secure that Santa would bring me the toy that I could play, but was also excitingly portable so you could bring it to taunt all your friends who just got LEGOs or some other “thinking child’s” toy. Now, every parent knows no kid goes directly to sleep on Christmas eve. They all just lay wiggling in their beds in a ball of hope and Santa magic straining to hear reindeer or the jingle of bells until sleep forcibly takes them. So instead of bells or a distant “Ho, Ho, Ho.” I hear a battery operated whirring, and a chorus of whines and staccato electronic bleats and bleeps…very odd for a house built in the 1950’s to make. I creep downstairs to the kitchen to find my father and mother bending over a TABLETOP PAC-MAN game blustering and cursing AND fucking playing the shit out of my Christmas gift like they’ve been doing so for frigging weeks! I’m appalled, I’m mesmerized, I’m thrilled…I’m really fucking angry. Their excuse, “Well uh, we had to know if what Santa brought you…um, earlier, actually worked, because how could Santa really check everything that leaves the shop, right?” Bullshit, fuckers.
In twenty seconds I’ve learned there’s no Santa Claus (assholes), parents lie (assholes), and videogames are way cooler than anything ever if one can lead you to being an asshole in front of your child, and then of course, send them to bed and expect unadulterated joy when they open their NUMBER ONE Christmas gift in six hours that has already been sullied by the hands of Santa Claus thiever of Jesus Christ day veritable joy hijackers…i.e. the people who created and birthed you.
— Just Another 80’s Kid