We have a miniature claw game at home, like the kind you see in arcades. It was made to hold candy, but Stacy had the great idea of putting Milk-Bones in it, and now every morning we come downstairs and sit down at the Claw Machine, Bailey sitting expectantly at our hip, drop plastic coins into the machine in an effort to win Bailey a bone.
The machine plays that classic circus music as you grope mechanically for a bone (you know the song – dent-denna-dent-dent… aw, hell, just watch the video – it’s not good, but it will give you an idea of what I’m talking about). I guess the circus song was in the public domain, or maybe no one wanted the rights to it, because once the circus music comes to town, it’s in your head forever.
As the time begins running out, the music speeds up, the dog starts getting nervous and barky, and sweat starts breaking out on your top lip. Bailey’s attitude is: “WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?? Get me a Milk-Bone!!!”
It reminds me of the kids when they were younger, before they understood that money comes from work, and that work, while it can be fun, is also work, and sometimes it’s not easy to come by.
The dog sits and whines and looks very frustrated, but I sit and think about how similar this is to my day-to-day life, trying to bring home the Milk-Bone, watching it slip through my claws time and again, and the excitement we all feel when I manage to snag one. That’s when I’m reminded that life and the claw game are hard, but they’re also winnable, and they’re good..