You can find them in arcades, amusement parks, toy stores, movie theaters, and even restaurants. No, I’m not talking about video games or pinball machines. I’m talking about the game of chance, the money pit of all games, the home of a thousand stuffed animals…I’m talking about the CLAW!
In a world of DSi’s, PS3’s, the Wii, and Xbox, you would think that nothing else would compete. But, for my six-year old daughter, this is the farthest from the truth. If there were an Olympic game for the CLAW, she would be a gold medalist! My daughter lives for this game! Her prize bounty of stuffed animals is so large we can’t even see her bed anymore. With each one I secretly give away, another one soon fills its place.
She strategizes her thoughts and our weekend outings with how she can play the CLAW. This game is always at the forefront of her mind. She tries to figure out ways in which she can manipulate my husband and I to the point where we will appease her “need” and go places where she can get her “fix” (we’ve learned to pick our battles). Every cent of her weekly allowance ($2) is saved for the CLAW – for the next stuffed animal – no matter how big or small – that will soon join forces with the army that has taken over her bedroom! And, being the enablers that we are, my husband and I have even started a CLAW fund for her “good deeds”.
Everyone in life wants to be a winner. For my daughter, conquering the CLAW is the only win she needs.
The scary thing is, she is REALLY good at it! I’m not saying it because she is my child. I’m saying it because it’s the truth. It’s bizarre how good she is. Unlike the typical “sucker” (been there, done that) who continues to feed the machine with dollar after dollar or quarter after quarter as the slippery, silver CLAW picks up, only to drop the prize within inches from the opening and he walks away with nothing, my daughter continues to beat the odds.
Most recently, she was in Toys R Us with her dad who took her to play the CLAW as a reward for doing a good deed. She was given $5.00 and a few smirks by the staff who watched nearby. Lo and behold, on her first try, she won a pink unicorn followed by FuFa, a Yo Gabba Gabba character (Nickelodeon Jr. fans will appreciate that). The Toys R Us staff were amazed as they commented, “Wow, she’s really good. We’ve never seen anyone win that game.” Her next win occurred a few days later at Hard Times. The stuffed animals in the CLAW “cage” were plush and a bit more expensive looking. $10.00 later, my daughter had won three stuffed animals. With each win, we shout joyously praising her for her uncanny CLAW skills. If she only had this much focus when doing her homework…smile.
When it’s all said and done, I decided to write about this not only to give you, the reader, a chuckle, but also to say that I feel very fortunate that in a world of such ugliness, this is one of our biggest worries – AND – really NOT a worry at all. Looking back in 10 years, I know this will be one of our fondest memories.