Last week I inadvertently put my cell phone through the washer. Don't do this. Though your phone will come out smelling springtime fresh, it won't work anymore. So I went to the Cingular store and was shown all of the phones that I could Google with and listen to U2 on and one that would, ironically, do my laundry for me. The saleslady looked at me derisively when I finally decided on one that would simply make and receive telephone calls. I gave my old phone, the clean one, to the kids to play with. I thought they would think this was a neat and unexpected toy, and I was right.
The Quartet's mother is anti-video games. She never played them, has never understood why people may want to play them and has forbidden them in the house. I used to play some games, not a lot, I wasn't one of those kids who spent hours and hours playing day in and day out, but I enjoyed a little Pitfall, Mario Brothers and, eventually, Bionic Commando. So JP doesn't really know the first thing about video games. He's seen some friends and cousins play and seems to enjoy watching other kids play more than actually playing himself. But he's been walking around with the dead phone pretending to play video games and I don't know if this is imaginitive, sad or incredibly manipulative. He wanders around with the thing flipped open saying, enthusiastically, "I'm pretending to play Sonic." It's not as though we deny these kids bicycles or soccer balls or even a TV in their room with loads of DVDs to destroy at will. It's just video games. And real, working cell phones.