A few weeks ago I told you about a debate going on in my house. My children had come to me wanting to add another pet to the two we already have. So enthusiastic to the idea, they willingly participated in a debate about it. It was the Great Hamster Debate. We traded debate barbs back and forth like a high school debate team high on methamphetamines and Mountain Dew. The debate ended in a stalemate but that only stoked the flames of my children’s excitement for a hamster. They were coming up with names for the yet to be purchased hamster (Princess). They were figuring out whose room Princess would reside in and what type of exercise wheel we (“we” meaning me) should buy.
Since the debate clearly was unable to render the conclusion any of us wanted, something else needed to be done. In the spirit of democracy and to get my kids and wife to be quiet about it, I opened up the voting polls to you the readers. I not only asked you to weigh in but told you that however the vote came down, that is how my family would rule on the hamster.
Here is how it played out.
The votes came in fast and furious from my website, Twitter, and Facebook. Seeing as how ¾ of my family skewed towards owning a hamster and thereby being possibly prone to miscounting or blaming a hanging chad (and since ¾ of that ¾ are too young to be on Facebook or Twitter), I took it upon myself to count the votes. They were counted and recounted. My recounts made Florida in 2000 look like a middle school Student Council recount. Every day new votes came in. Every day the result changed.
Then, one day the voting ended. The polls closed and I was left with the answer to our Great Hamster Debate in my hands. I protected the results like Price Waterhouse protects the Oscar winners. I can tell you, not since 1876 when Rutherford B Hayes edged Samuel Tilden by a mere electoral vote, has this country seen a vote this close.
I wanted to wait until the kids got home from school. I was prepared to deliver the answer to my children when they walked through the door but something occurred to me before they came home. It had been a few weeks since I had posted the debate and since that time, the enthusiasm for Princess waned. My children began to forget.
No talk of Princess, exercise wheels or where the hamster would be sleeping happened in weeks. Their kid DNA actually had filibustered the vote (well, actually filibustered me announcing the vote). I forgot, given enough time, my children, like most children and most of America, will forget about everything not in their immediate line of sight or actively being reported by TMZ. Talk of soccer games, what was on the Disney Channel, if they could have cereal for dinner, and whatever else happened to go by their eyes took Princess’ place.
My children helped to prove my point about why we should not buy a hamster in the first place. Everyone would have forgotten about Princess except for me (and the dog who still licks her lips when she hears the word ‘hamster’). Just a few weeks ago the only thing my kids could focus on was Princess. Now the hamster had been pushed to the backs of their minds somewhere behind remembering to clean up their toys.
Patience isn’t a strong suit of my children so having to wait for votes to be tallied only worked in my favor. Halloween, which came in to play during the tabulation helped. The Disney Channel, play dates, and ice cream also assisted. Today, my kids have gone over a month without talking about Princess the Hamster. In turn, I have not uttered anything about that rodent and I placed my wife under a gag order or else face serious sanctions by me (I’m hoping she doesn’t figure out that I am completely bluffing because if she were to say something about it, I wouldn’t do anything). I am careful to have a quick trigger on the remote whenever that ridiculous Kia commercial with the rapping hamsters comes on and have gone so far as to teach my kids some Spanish (The ‘H’ is silent. ‘H’ as in Hamster? I am a genius).
So the result of the Great Hamster Debate of 2011 has fallen by the wayside like most things in Congress these days. My children were undone by their own limited attention spans. It is too bad too, because before I even finished counting, I cracked. Actually, my wife strong armed and guilt tripped me in to agreeing to purchase the hamster. The point being, I would have been willing to get them the hamster they had so quickly forgotten about had they not so quickly forgotten about the hamster and even though the voting ended in a tie…seriously. A tie.