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Reliable Source: How Tetris Ruined Christmas ‘89

Marion Cox | 26 Dec 2009 10:00
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My plan would probably have worked if I hadn't rolled so poorly on my Wisdom check. As soon as I opened the wrapping, I noticed that the box too could also be opened without much effort. I couldn't resist the temptation and I resolved to free the Gameboy from its cardboard tomb and play for just a few minutes before returning to my bed.

We all know that even the best laid plans sometimes fail due to unforeseen circumstances. Nintendo, in their infinite wisdom, had set the volume on all new Gameboys to maximum by default, a fact I was unaware of when I turned the thing. The resulting "ding" was so loud that my father instantly shot out of bed as if he had just heard that the Red Army had landed in Chicago and were marching towards our tiny Midwestern town. More than anything dad feared communism forcing our family to share the 30-foot mobile home with six other families, the commie pigs!

I didn't have time to switch the Gameboy off, instead I figured that sitting on it might muffle the sound. At least it might give me enough time to come up with an explanation. My father quickly ran into the living room with the hunting rifle to see his son peeking out from behind the Christmas tree, surrounded by discarded wrapping paper with the theme to Tetris playing out of his butt. I stammered, trying to craft the perfect lie to explain the situation. "I was um," the words failed me, "getting a... getting water and tripped over the..." I looked down "Extension cord! I landed on the present and it opened by itself, and I um... it just turned on!" Dad regarded me as if he was still determining whether to shoot me or not. Instead, he put down the gun and started digging around in the kitchen drawer. Was he looking for a skillet to bash me to pieces? I was actually relieved when he produced a black plastic trash bag.

Without a word, Dad gathered up all of the gifts around the tree and tossed them in the bag. Throwing it over his shoulder, he stormed out of the house like a skinny Saint Nicholas in reverse, while Soviet Tetris music from the Gameboy accompanied his march out the door. I could hear the music playing until it was eventually drowned out by the roar of our rusty Chevy Caprice (dubbed "The Submarine" around town for its bright yellow paint and faded wooden paneling.)

Dad came back hours later with no presents, locked his door and never said a word to any of us about what had happened. Nothing at school changed. No one paid any attention to me and I never got on the baseball team or made out with Stacy King, though maybe that was for the best. I heard she gave Jon Greeseman a case of crotch-itch and he had to go to a doctor.

I know Christmas stories are supposed to be uplifting, but it's a little hard to be positive when you are spending Christmas talking to a cactus that bears an uncanny resemblance to one of the prawns from District 9. I wonder how many buzzards I would have to lash together to make a glider capable of flying to a nearby town. My best guess is six; those bastards are pretty big.

Does anyone know what peyote looks like? I might as well die happy.

Marion Cox found himself in the desert, but didn't really think much of who he found.


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