My Electronic Quotient


He should have been my Godchild. Instead, he was given to some man named Tom who lives in Georgia to look after his moral and religious soul.

In October I wrote about his sister Haley who calls us Tio Fwan and Tia Won. She calls us this with genuine affection and respect. His brother Geoffrey, the middle child, also calls us this and sees us as family (these are my wife’s best friend’s kids – did I mention that my wife is Geoffrey’s Godmother?).

To this one, their baby brother Gavin, probably the result of one wine glass too many and a missed dosage of birth control, I am ‘Can I Use Your Phone?’ said in the voice of a small child who has not yet developed his mature speech patterns. I know he loves me but the manner in which he distributes his affection is much different than his siblings – but he does love me.

Gavin’s siblings spent a lot of time in my house because they were babysat by my mom. Naturally we are very close to them because we used to see them almost daily. When Gavin was born, because my Mom was now working and had sworn children off completely, we didn’t think we would be as close to him as the others. We were wrong.

Gavin treats us with the same love and respect he treats anyone. It’s all about your electronic quotient. Blackberry users get just a little love. Smart phone users with games and pictures get some affection. If you have an iPad in hand, you are blessed with adoration. Refuse him your electronic device and you are met with the greatest disdain that can ever emanate from a tiny human being (followed by a wailing fake cry). He will toy with your feelings until you give in to him because his spurts of melancholy will force you to give in to him. He will wear you down. Couple this with the notion that he is cute as hell and you instantly join the club of the many who spoil him rotten.

The other day he inadvertently (I use this term loosely) scratched my head and made me bleed. Of course he did this with love, followed by a battle over the device with which I am now writing this post. He was trying to hold my face and make me see reason. Instead he carved a piece of steak out of my forehead with his bare hands. ‘Now, can I use your phone?’ he said without any hint of remorse being traceable in his voice.

What have we done I ask myself?

While I may not be responsible for his mortal soul and his religious education (because Uncle Tom, the great and powerful from the hills of Georgia has been bestowed this honor from afar), I am certainly going to continue to pray for him. And I will continue to pray for his parents and siblings too. With Gavin in the house, running the show, I think they are going to need a little help from a Supreme Being (since my local, non-Georgia presence apparently was just not good enough).


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