On Christmas morning many years ago, when I was about six, I looked under the tree and found a present I had been yearning for – a dart gun.

I suppose my brother and I put up a target and started shooting. I suppose further (because I don’t remember clearly) that we broke a thing or two. The upshot was that my dad confiscated the gun and never gave it back. I was deeply hurt, it wrecked that Christmas for me and I have never forgotten.

I was reminded again when I read about the school teacher dad in Toronto who searched high and low for the perfect gift for his 15-year-old son. He bought a hard to get video game at an on line auction for $90.

After he came home from work, the father found « my innocent little boy smoking pot in the back yard with two of his delinquent friends. »

The father promptly confiscated the video game and proceeded to sell it on an on line auction for a reported $9,000. He said he did so to p unish his son and discourage him from smoking dope.

This transaction provoked a storm on the blogosphere. Some bloggers sided with the disgruntled father. Others accused him of « publicly humiliating » his son.

What do you think?



  1. 1
    John Says:

    Neil, I think you probably mean a BB gun as opposed to a dart gun. You couldn’t even « shoot someone’s eye out » (as they say in the movies) with a dart gun lol.

    Nothing about this story sits well with me.

    You mean to say that a father bought his son a $90 Christmas gift – gave it to him before Christmas – found him smoking up – took the gift back – then sold it used for $90,000 on the internet. Smells like a set-up to me. If not, the biggest fool in the story is the ass who paid $90,000 for the game.

    If this was attempt by the father to teach his son a lesson (which I doubt), I suspect he failed miserably. If it was an attempt to make money (which I suspect), it appears he may have been more successful.

  2. 2
    John Says:

    oops got too many zeros in the selling price. Still a lot of dollars…but very little sense.

  3. 3
    Chimera Says:

    I, too, have had something personal and important to me confiscated by an authority figure (a teacher, not a parent) and never returned. I was screaming angry about it for weeks afterwards, but for the life of me, I can’t remember what it was.

    I lived. I didn’t hate school more than before. I don’t remember that teacher very well. And nobody died or went to jail.

    I don’t know from video games. But look at what you said about that parent, Neil: He searched high and low for the perfect gift for his son. He put a lot of love into that search, doncha think? It’s not the money, but the time and the effort he put into the search that count.

    Then his son does something risky and dangerous, not to mention illegal. Out of fear (?) for his son’s future, the father takes away the toy? But did he take away the love?

    The personal touch of the story stops at that point, and the whole thing becomes apocryphal. As I said, I don’t know from video games, but who would spend that much money ($9000.00) on one?

    I disagree that the parent publicly humiliated the son. Whoever it was who wrote the newspaper story did that. If it actually happened. Which I’m beginning to doubt.

    I wonder what Snopes says about this story.

  4. 4
    John Says:

    If this story is indeed true, I disagree with the actions of the father. If what his son did brought him pain and disappointment and diminished his sense of trust as it well might have, I think he would have been better off to discuss it with his son and come up with a consequence more fitting the wrong.

    The old you hurt me, so I’ll hurt you approach accomplishes very little other than allowing the perpretator to say, « Now we’re even. »

  5. 5
    Joe Agnost Says:

    « The old you hurt me, so I’ll hurt you approach… »

    That’s not how I see it.

    The way I heard the story was that the dad hadn’t given the gift early – but when he caught his son getting high he told him about the gift and said he’s going to sell it instead. That was the punishment. What’s wrong with that?

  6. 6
    John Says:

    I’m just not sure what selling the kid’s Christmas gift for a $8910 profit on a very public forum is meant to teach the kid.
    Why not just return it???

  7. 7
    Joe Agnost Says:

    « Why not just return it??? »

    What would that teach the kid that selling it on e-bay wouldn’t? Why not make a profit since you’re not keeping it?

    I don’t think the ‘selling it for a profit’ part of this story is relevant. The punishment is NOT getting the gift.

  8. 8
    Chimera Says:

    « The way I heard the story was that the dad hadn’t given the gift early – but when he caught his son getting high he told him about the gift and said he’s going to sell it instead. That was the punishment. »

    Ah…that changes the flavor somewhat, and it makes me think the story is an outright lie. The kid didn’t ever see the gift, but was told it existed. Perhaps it did, but I think not.

    This — if it actually happened — was an angry parent trying to teach a kid a lesson. Maybe it’ll be taken the way it was meant and maybe not. Both of them will learn something from it, one way or another.

  9. 9
    John Says:

    « The punishment is NOT getting the gift. »

    No, the punishment is not being able to give the gift.
    The kid never had it. It’s no great loss to him.

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