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Frank Hooks

Frank Hooks

Dad Blogger

Frank is a professional mechanical engineer, general contractor and HVAC/R contractor in the state of California. Frank is a graduate of University of California at San Diego with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering. Frank is president and CEO of Systems Operation Services specializing in mechanical engineering and contracting throughout southern California building industry. However, his biggest vocation is husband and father.

Frank is adding bloggist to his resume, so that he may share thoughts and musing of marriage and fatherhood with you. No expertise is offered or implied.

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Death to the Goodie Bag

Picture this. It's your son's 16th birthday and he has a handful of friends over for bar-be-que and playing some games on the Wii and maybe some Xbox Live. Every one has a great time. The tangy bar-be-que sauce is still tingling between the teeth. Another teenager just dominated in Wii tennis and has bragging rights to all of his friends. We have a nice birthday cake and sing. When it's time to call it an evening, I stand at the door and hand everyone a goodie bag containing a Maxim magazine, a pack of condoms and a tall boy of Budweiser. What? Is he crazy? Don't let my kid over to their house. Easy everyone! This has never happened and will never happen at our house. I just want you to keep that gut reaction and take 5 minutes to mull over what you consider to be a birthday goodie bag.

Let's go back in time for a minute. In the 1970's, I probably went to quite a few birthday parties as a boy. You usually got together in someone's backyard or went to the park. You usually played hide 'n seek or kick the can or maybe smeer the queer. You brought a small present, had some birthday cake and called it a day. I do not recall ever being handed a goodie bag upon leaving a party. So this means that sometime between 1980 and 1995 this horrible idea was born.

I'm going to surmise how this came to be. It was little Johnnie's sixth birthday. It was the end of the party and he was opening his gifts. Now, little Eddie walked over and grabbed a gift and started to open it. This is obviously inappropriate behavior and needs some kind of parental response. So Eddie's mom, pulls him back and tells him not to touch the presents. Five minutes later, Eddie goes over and does it again. Now, Eddie's mom is flustered and doesn't know what to do. Oh my goodness, the party is unravelling. Johnnie's parents don't want their boy's moment in the spotlight to be ruined, so they decide to appease Eddie. So Johnnie's mom finds a small little used toy and gives it to Eddie to quiet him down. Here we have it, the first version of the goodie bag. I would say that if little Eddie couldn't behave after being told not to touch the presents, then he should have been restrained or removed from the party. This would teach everyone to keep their hands to themselves and birthday parties could have gone on as they always have.

Instead, the goodie bag has had exponential growth in meaning and in style since the first one. The mantra now is that every child needs to be special and not feel left out by not receiving some kind of present. It comes in colorful bags full of beanie babies and candies and pencils. Somebody had to drive around all afternoon to buy all of this stuff and then sit around for an hour to assemble the goodie bags.

The great thing for me is when I pick up one of my kids from a birthday party, as we drive off, all three of my kids start to fight over the contents of the goodie bag. Should I turn around and drive back and ask for two more goodie bags? Usually, about fifteen minutes after we get home, the contents of the goodie bag usually ends up in the trash. Death to the goodie bag!

Tags: Frank Hooks Family & Friends Humor Kids

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