Christmas in Time
More than at any time of the year, ‘tis the season for almighty mistakes, confidence tricks and broken toys. From scammers to all sold out, ‘tis the time to be savvy and aware.
So, in fond memory of the last few weeks of pre-Christmas frenzy, let’s pause and consider the “Grinch Awards”.
My pick for 2017, a certain well-known coffee brand touting their plentiful pod coffee machines for sale with the not-so-available-expresso pods. In fact, virtually non-existent pods. The sales person seemed to take delight in informing us, ‘No, you can’t get the pods in store, you must order them on-line,’ or, ‘You could try our specialty shop…somewhere…around.’
I can see in the post-Christmas future, many unhappy returns of that product that refuses to give.
Which reminds me of marketers from Christmas-past to which I personally give the “Scrooge Awards”. Remember the ‘90’s? Some of us do. Actually, I don’t know who was responsible, but I blame the marketing gurus of the day. In their small marketing minds, they decided board games were on their way out. Heading for the exit, no, actually, already passed into board game after-life, my much-loved game of my youth, “Careers”. I couldn’t find it anywhere new—not even in the city with a population at the time of three-million, Melbourne where we lived in the 1990’s.
In defiance of this board game ban, I designed my own game, based on “Careers” but updated and more Australian. I called my creation, “OZ Jobs”. The general wisdom of the day, with no access to Mr Google, were friends and family who reckoned my game had to be 10% different from the original. I figured that the game I was creating was for my personal use, and I doubted the creator of “Careers”, if they were still alive, would ever come into my home and see this construction of cardboard and coloured pencil, so how could they sue for copyright breech. Anyway “OZ Jobs” was different.
My Dad came to visit. We worked together on this “OZ Jobs” project. What a challenge! What a learning curve as Dad and I realised there’s more to creating a game, than brilliant ideas.
Soon after completing this prototype, on a visit to Adelaide, my friend presented me with a Christmas gift. She rubbed her hands together and smiled. ‘You’ll never guess what I found at a garage sale…’
Oh, joy! I parked “OZ Jobs” in the craft cupboard, glad I didn’t have to even come near the possibility of being sued. And then I introduced my young sons to the real board game, “Careers”.
Back in Adelaide, Dad dreamt about “OZ Jobs”. On his next visit to Melbourne, he asked me for the “OZ Jobs” prototype. I dug it out of the cupboard and handed it over. ‘He’ll never do anything with that,’ I thought.
Years rolled by and I forgot about the game. Had the real “Careers” and other board games to occupy my growing boys. Board games may have been going out of fashion, according to the all-wise marketers, but we loved board games as a family. Best part of Christmas!
We moved back to our hometown, Adelaide and settled into our new home. Now, it was Dad tapping his pockets and grinning. ‘I’ve been working on your game.’
“OZ Jobs” was the first of Dad’s projects as he progressed to dozens of original games he dreamt up. In the last few years before he departed from this life, when I’d visit for coffee in the morning, he’d greet me saying, ‘I had a dream about a new game…’ Some of the games he invented, we tried out at Christmas.
In 2012, he was talking about attending a board game convention. I remembered what the toy salesperson said some 20 years ago, that board games were on their way out. And here we were, in 2012, Dad planning to attend a board game convention.
He never made it, but the point has been made. As we look to the future, the reality is, the gurus of speculation, those authorities on market future forces, have no idea. Often, the powers-that-be want to manipulate us. For their yachts and mansions.
Yet the real gifts are within each one of us. This gift of creativity is often activated from lack of supply, of either money or unavailability. None of us know what the future holds, but we can make the most of each day, in the present.
But as for that short-sighted marketing coffee-pod “grinch”, the future’s not looking good. Their shop in our local Westfield has closed—permanently. Was it the result of cheaper compatible brands in all the supermarkets? I guess we may never know.
As for “Careers’, I did buy that new about eleven years ago.
Again, another Christmas gone, our man-made gifts all opened. I’m reminded that Christ and his gift of Life is for every day. Give God the glory every day. Only God can deliver every day. He is faithful. Every day. Always.
As Psalm 96:8 says, “Ascribe to the Lord glory due to His name…”
© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2017
Photo: A Mother of Invention: Hologram, Tokyo © Lee-Anne Marie Kling (nee Trudinger) 1984