Shakespeare, in his play Othello, has his character of Iago describe jealousy, the close kissing-cousin of envy, as the “green-ey’d monster”.
I rummaged around the attic and basement of my emotions and feelings in preparation for this post, but I had a tough time uncovering anything or anyone that I was truly envious of. I have everything that I ever dreamed of when I was little. I still have my parents who love me. I have a wonderful wife, three fantastic kids, and (until the move to the Continent) a satisfying career in the fabulous world of software testing. We make enough money so that we do not want for anything.
I am not envious of those who are more famous than I am.
I am not envious of those who are more successful than I am.
I am not envious of those who are more wealthy than I am.
People who are more famous, successful, and wealthy than I am have (for the most part) worked harder than I have and are doing something(s) that I’m not. There it is and so be it.
However, tucked away in the closet of my brain (behind the vacuum cleaner) was a dust bunny of envy that I will now share.
I now fully grasp the fact that I am insanely jealous of my children. I am pig-biting jealous of the fact that my children have entertainment and gaming opportunities that went beyond my imagination.
I can still vividly recall being a nine-year-old tyke and drooling over the Sears catalog. I would spend hours just staring at the pages of Toys section because there was one and only one toy I wanted for Hannukah that year.
I would have gladly forgone my presents for the other seven days of the holiday if my parents would have bought me Mattell Electronics Football. Solely consisting of six buttons and a “screen” that displayed red LED light, this hand-held game looked to my mind as if it would keep me entertained for hours.
My joy was boundless on a December night in 1977 when the game was indeed in my hands. Sure enough, the game did provide for hours and days and weeks of entertainment. This game started my love affair with Mattel Electronics as I went on to own (courtesy of my parental units) Mattel Electronics Baseball, Mattel Electronics Basketball, and culminating with Mattel Electronics Intellivision.
If you click on the links above and see the games that kept me occupied, they are laughable by today’s standards in terms of graphics and playability.
Today, my two sons have the iPod Touch. This device from Apple is not a one-trick pony like the handheld devices from Mattel Electronics as their device can play a mind-blowing variety of games. My kids just browse the iTunes Store and grab what they want. The graphics are stunning, rich, and realistic as they far surpass the red LEDs and 8-bit blobs I played with as a youth.
I stare at this sleek device from Apple, this portal to a world of entertainment that would have stopped the heart, spleen, liver, and various other organs of that nine-year-old boy clutching the Sears catalog and feel the tentacles of envy envelop me.
The worst part of this envy is that it can never be quenched. No matter how hard I work, no matter how much I sweat, no matter how creative I become, that 1977 version of little Nolan will never know what it is like to launch a red bird into the pig, to cut the rope, or to be the last Battle Bear standing.
The green-eyed monster chuckles and laughs at the long-ago Nolan that lives in my memory.
I so wish I had all that cool stuff back then.