March 23, 2007

The Capitalistic Monger?

This is posted by Spike

Economists make predictions about human behavior based on “rational choice theory,” which, in a nutshell, means that they assume that when faced with two options, a person will choose the one that he or she thinks will leave him or her better off.

So an interesting thing has happened since the last time I posted; Pixie has turned into a semi-rational human being. Watching her become more and more so is of great interest to me (in no small part because, knowing her mother as I do, I don’t know how much more rational she’ll get - she might have already made as much progress as she’s going to).

The most simple manifestation of this behavior is plain-old bribery. Here’s a typical conversation.

Me: Pixie, can I have a hug.
Pixie: No.
Me: Please?
Pixie: No.
Me: Do you want some pudding?
Pixie: Yes.
Me: If you give me a hug I will give you some pudding.
Pixie: Sure, Dad.

This has worked 100% of the time so far. Even more disturbing, consider the following conversation.

Pixie: (seeing me eating some pudding): What's that?
Me: Pudding.
Pixie: Daddy, I like you. I looooobe you. You my friend.
Me: Have some pudding, sweetie.

Yes, indeed, folks, she is becoming a rational human being before my eyes. There are other words for this. One of my college professors always talked about parents who wouldn’t bribe their kids for fear that they would turn them into “capitalistic mongers.” But honestly, isn’t it just a lesson they have to learn in life. I mean, if Pixie does something good and I tell her “you’re such a good girl” is that really so different than Pixie doing something good so that I will give her a cookie?

You might wonder where this is all going. Consider another conversation:

Hollywood: Spike, why don’t you ever post?
Me: My friend Jay told me my last post was terrible.
Hollywood: Oh, honey. I love it when you post. Will you do it because you love me?
Me: I’ll think about it.
Hollywood: Some marketing company offered me a free MP3 player, if I would write a review of it.
Me: And?
Hollywood: You can have it if you write the review.

Ladies and gentleman, I bring you the Insignia 4GB Video MP3 Player.

Aesthetically, its beautiful; sleek, black and shiny.

I am not a big fan of the spinning wheel, mainly because it is plastic and feels cheap. Other wise 10 out of 10 on looks. Pictures on the screen are really clear. I can’t imagine watching a movie on the tiny screen (although you certainly can watch movies on it), but it’s plenty good for showing pictures of, oh, say, your two-year-old.

My real complaint is with its functionality. It’s just not that easy to use. It is supposed to play on blue tooth devices, but I couldn’t figure out how. It has a folder for audio books, but I can’t figure out how to get stuff into it. I can’t figure out how to make playlists on it. I will probably figure it out eventually, but the mark of a good piece of electronics is that it is so easy to use you couldn’t possibly get it wrong. This device falls well short of that. I am sure that I will love it when I get it all figured out, but I don’t like having to invest 10 hours into learning how to use something that a few more hours of careful planning when they made the device would have obviated.

There you have it, folks. Sorry this post is neither witty, nor sarcastic, nor schmaltzy, nor funny. But rest assured, gentle reader: you won’t hear from me again until Hollywood makes me another offer I can’t refuse.


Sarah said...

So your love for me isn't enough to get you to post, but a 2 ounce piece of technology is? This marriage cannot be sustained on mp3 player alone...

Mrs. M said...

This is great. I love it!

The Wiz said...

I want pudding.

Adam said...

wiz, didn't you learn anything from this post? i'm waiting for my hug. . .

Jim H said...

Good one, Adam. I'm very impressed.

I'm the type that makes the choice that will get me yelled at least.

Heffalump said...

Are you saying that your wife's blogging is usually schmaltzy? Hmmm. Witty, sarcastic and funny can all be taken as compliments...but schmaltzy? I am not so sure about that...

Joseph said...

Hi. Yur reveiw m3p playor good. nise job say good with bade. Hope companie stil give free. You want make more moni? Heer offur: evryone own outter space, so it siad. I want buy yur slise outter space. I live Europe must pay euro. I give 5 euro yur slise space. 6 euro if star, 7 if blackewhole. I want be reel estatemagnet. buy now wile prise low. Probleme. I need see yur space prawpertie. You have spacecar or uFO? I pay gas. Have insurense too.It groundefloor oppurtwonitie actnow limitid timeonly call today.

Sarah said...

And I thought people from L.A. were weird...

It's true, I'm the total schmaltz. It's all I can do to keep all my posts from oozing over my little girl. I'm still waiting for everyone to discover my secret blog that just has pictures of puppies wearing sunglasses and me dressed up like Minnie Mouse. Until then I can hide under this guise of sarcasm - but it's just a crumbling facade.

Anonymous said...

I saw you were posting and I thought that Sarah had the baby!

Your review of the MP3 player was excellent and I'm glad to see you love Sarah so much that you'd do this for her :)

compulsive writer said...


Would you go to work every day without someone bribing you with a paycheck? I thought not. And neither would I.

So I have no problem with, say, my recent experience of using a big batch of raw--yes RAW, people (but no children were harmed in the writing of this comment)--chocolate chip cookie dough to obtain the following pledges from three of my children:

15-year-old: clean his room and stop saying "frickin'"

11-year-old: quit thinking and saying that I love and treat all her other siblings better than I love and treat her.

7-year-old: quit making that horrible and loud "I'm-talking-like-I'm-high-on-helium" voice.

And finally, said 7-year-old totally knows how to operate an i-Pod. Now there's some true functionality for you.

jay said...

Let me see if I have this right. You were reluctant to write this post because I mentioned that your last post wasn't up to your usual comedic standards. So, instead of just agreeing to write it gratis like you normally would, you held out until Sarah offered you an mp3 player. In other words, you received a free mp3 player BECAUSE of my criticism of your last post. Seems like you owe me big time for your new mp3 player, buddy. :P I'll take a pizza lunch anytime you're free.

Good post. Glad to see you're back in action.