It feels good to help others, doesn't it?

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2006/10/26 03:01 -04:00, original URI:

Last Christmas, a man named Byron had a problem:

Due to an unfortunate and marriage-threatening miscommunication, I have an Xtra Xbox 360 that appeared under a tree this morning (magical video-game elves in the forest or something). Before we return one to the retailer, is there any interest in buying one from me?

Now most people were of course not on email since it was literally Christmas night 2005, but as usual I was (as a lonely Jew on Christmas and all). But I couldn't bear to see a marriage dissolved due to hardware problems and games, so I stepped up and offered to help. :-)

I have been resistant to playing games on computers for a long time, mainly because I already spend so much time on the computer that I figured if I got hooked on an XBox no one would ever see me again. So that XBox with a wireless controller, headset, ethernet and HD cables sat on my shelf for a long time, never opened and never used. But I figured at least I had contributed to someone's marital bliss, so I didn't mind. I knew I'd be able to do something with it,some day.

So the last time I was back in Cleveland (for my grandmother's 90th birthday), I mentioned to brother-in-law Zach (well, brother-out-law I guess!) if he had an XBox. He started to explain that he didn't, and he was actually holding off on the XBox 360 and waiting for Sony's new offering. I mentioned that I had this XBox if he was interested (subject to approval by my sister, his wife -- there is no sense saving Byron's marriage if I ruin my sister's, right?), and he said yes so fast that it scared me.

I think this turn of events did disappoint my father a bit since he was the backup in case my sister decided to ixnay on the xboxay, but I think he got over it. He was still enjoying the present that Zach, Meredith, and I went in on for their anniversary, after all.

Anyway, I was reminded of all of this the other day when Meredith sent me a piece of email where (among other things) she pointed out to me "You have created a monster in my husband with that damn xbox" which was probably hyperbole since a) I recall a smiley there and b) Zach was a technofreak long before the XBox (at the time he was just waiting for the latest PlayStation to come out, after all, and he corrupted my father into the church of Tivo and HD long before!).

But it tells me that I may have helped convert a member of the family away from the evil Sony if he was enjoying the XBox, at least. And he obviously is enjoying it. Plus now I know that games would make a suitable gift in the future....

It feels good to help others, doesn't it? :-)


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Mihai on 26 Oct 2006 1:05 PM:

So you had an XBox 360 around the 2005 Christmas, when people would have killed for one, and you did not even opened it?



Michael S. Kaplan on 26 Oct 2006 2:43 PM:

Well, no one managed to kill me. Maybe if those folks had spent more time on email they would have gotten this one? :-)

Zach on 29 Oct 2006 11:51 PM:

As the Brother-In-Law in question, I thought it prudent to chime in.

So far, the XBox360 has been one heck of a gift. I, for one, am thrilled that he chose to keep the Xbox unopened during the 2005 Christmas season, since it clearly went to its happy final resting place.

I recently have been playing the new Tiger Woods Golf, and am eagerly awaitng the release of Call of Duty 3 (on Nov. 8th).

I am a convert from Sony for the moment, but since the Playstation 3 is currently still vaporware, and Nintendo's Wii seems to once again be the last in the pack, Microsoft seems to be the way to go.

It remains to be seen how Microsoft competes against Sony in the # of Games available.... a battle that Microsoft lost in Xbox vs. Playstation 2.

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