I took my 7-year-old daughter to the place where my mother once scouted my Christmas games, which was a neighborhood store where the proprietor capped paregoric and topped cheeseburgers from behind the same apron.
"It's a parking lot," my daughter said.
"Yes, but we can pitch pennies after five."
"Take me to Santa's workshop."
My daughter wants a football helmet because blocking gives her a headache; a stuffed-anything animal because the one they use for first base is dead; a football; and a football game for Rickey, since the quickest way to a boyfriend's heart is a direct pass. She says that the good thing about a football compared to a doll is that the football does not usually leak.
Whereas I selected games from the shelf beneath mouthwash, my daughter has the opportunity to observe games in a specialty store and be waited on by a Toy Executive, who seems anxious to match a game to your psyche. If you are concerned about your mental capabilities, for example, you may train on I.Q. (Reiss Game Inc., $8.95—prices of this and the following games vary by store and state).
There are more games than there were 20 years ago, primarily because this society has come out against discrimination. Adults may now retain their imaginations because of an expanding adult game market, which provides an outlet for victory without accompanying tennis elbows.
My parents generally played cards until I went to bed; therefore I never knew what was wrong with my electric football game until I was old enough to identify the aroma given off by beer. Teams moving right to left seemed to choke near the end zone. My father, competing into the night with other fathers, had spilled Coors around the 10-yard line.
Adults and/or executives may now hurl wadded requests for better working conditions through a tiny hoop similar to a basketball goal, which fastens onto a regulation executive trash can. Adults are now permitted to act their ages.
I left my daughter for a few minutes because my checkbook was in the car. By the time I returned, the games department had begun construction on three new shelves. There are more games than there were 20 minutes ago, never mind 20 years ago. There may be more games than there are ideas (The God Game, Start Your Own Religion, American Publishing Corp., $6).