I remember back at Star Lake when I got home from school I would come in the back door and usually my first stop was the bathroom. Whenever I would come home and see the Santa toilet seat cover and bathmat out, that was the sign that Christmas was close (yeah that and not the calendar). My Mom would usually decorate during the day when I was at school and I’d get so excited to see Santa’s face on my toilet (um…). Then I’d run out and go check out the tree and the rest of the decorations. I still have those Santa covers and they are in our bathroom now as I write this. Hopefully it has the same kind of effect on my kids when they see it.
That first year on Burnside I became officially cool when my Mom got me my first Atari 2600 for Christmas which came with the game Combat. I didn’t get any other games because I don’t think they realized that you needed to buy most game cartridges separately. I didn’t care though – I got the Atari I had been wanting ever since I saw the rich kids collection back in Fox Lake and one day I was going to have just as many games as him. My video game addiction had officially begun (Thanks Mom).
That Atari became my focal point. Between that and that new channel MTV (you remember, the one that played actual music videos all day) I was content. One time I had a sleepover and both Brian and Billy slept over. It must have been near Valentine’s Day because we were eating heart breakers. Brian ate a bunch all at once and grabbed his throat – “I’m choking… give me another one”. We laughed uncontrollably for at least a half hour at that one. I fell asleep and woke up at like 6 AM and they were still playing and eating all of my candy.
I used to get so frustrated when I lost a game that I would repeatedly slam my controller down on the floor. I also would bite the joystick (I’ll show it who’s boss!) and both of my joysticks had chewed tops. I probably went through like 10 of those things. My Atari never learned it’s lesson though – it continued to whoop my ass for many more years to come.