This past weekend our friends the Lucky Sevens came over for dinner. They have two kids that slot nicely in between our three, and the five of them usually have no trouble finding some scheme or other to occupy themselves when we get together.
This time they all disappeared into the basement and while the adults were chatting, we could hear quiet, followed by a crazy uproar of shouting and squealing, followed by quiet, repeat. We were curious, but no one showed up with blood or a broken bones and we’ve been parents long enough to know that if no one is crying, you leave well enough alone.
Later at dinner we asked them what they had been playing and it turns out that my darling daughter, Gal Smiley, age 11 3/4, had started an underground Hexbugs betting ring.
If you’re not familiar, they are little electronic bugs that you can put on a plastic course, kind of like a Hot Wheels course, and they vibrate when you turn them on and sort of jitter around and move places. What Gal Smiley was doing was setting up some sort of course challenge – the first to break out of a closed space, or the last one to remain on an elevated bridge perhaps – and then taking Monopoly money bets as to which hexbug would win.
Winners got their investment back plus 10%. Losers lost it all.
I gotta tell you, I wasn’t sure if I should be mortified or proud, but I was certainly leaning towards proud. The inventiveness! The entrepreneurship! The drive!
And yet, you know, the vague illegal nature of it all. This must be how Bernie Madoff’s mother feels.
Gal Smiley loves nothing more than the exchange of money, and she is always hustling to make a buck. We’ve already called her for a future career in sales or possibly stock trading. But this is a whole new area for her. Our daughter, the bookie. The heart swells, does it not?