Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pinball Spouses

In the pinball community, you frequently come across lamentations about ze women. I mean wives, or significant others, who frequently act as the voice of restraint preventing pinball fanatics from spinning out of control and filling every spare inch of home space with pinball machines. In many cases, the wives are mentioned as the ones delivering "no". The voice of reason, devil's advocate, the bad guy.
WTF, hon?  The kids need new shoes and you go NIBing X-Men??

Think about it from their perspective. It's big, heavy, expensive, and serious competition for your time. And it's not as if it stops at one, right? Pinball may be part of your childhood nostalgia, but girl gamers were less common in those decades; odds are, there's less of a bond there for them. I admit, I hate reading "my wife said no" or "my wife has given me a set restriction of three machines" (which is typically followed by, "but now I'm up to seven!") Ideally both spouses should support each others' hobbies within financial reason. It's just tough when you're comparing a $100 handbag to a $6000 piece of game furniture.

It's not always a bad thing, though. The obsession sinks its teeth in you deeply when it bites and it's easy to go too far. It's not just the thrill of the hunt for good deals on well-maintained older machines, it's also that more new machines are coming out right now than ever before since the turn of this century. Stern just released X-Men, and odds are good they'll be releasing Avengers before the year is out. Wizard of Oz is also on the verge of shipping. Any one of those will run you 6 grand plus, so if you want one, you better believe it's not something most of us can do as an impulse buy.

So what's the solution?  I don't really know.  In our case, since we're both stoked over pinball, there IS no external voice of reason. No drag, no coefficient of friction. We have to rely on maintaining our own personal levels of restraint and reason. And that can be hard. I'm gunning for an X-Files, even though we've been quite greedy over the summer and grown our collection as fast as we could. The husband is making smart proposals like opening a secondary checking account that we put spare funds into for pinball purchases. So that we aren't over-extending ourselves. But then I'll get a text about his being tempted by a sweet Avatar Limited Edition machine that just came up for sale. It's a good price, and in really lovely condition, but we don't even WANT an Avatar. Temptation rears its ugly head again.

I still want that X-Files, though...

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