How not to play Pokemon

My 11-year old son recently asked me to sell his “rare” Pokemon cards on ebay, including one that he has four copies of. I tried to explain that nothing that is available at Target could really be considered rare, but to no avail. The cards weren’t worthless, though: after a little research, I determined that they would fetch 50 cents to a dollar, on average. Since about half the cards had creases and bent corners, and considering how tedious it is to listing multiple items on ebay, Micaela and I agreed that the 18 cards netted $15.52. We then mailed them to the 7-year old son of an out-of-state friend.

A few days later, Keenan asked how the sale went. “Twenty dollars,” I replied, already backpedaling. In fact, he had been hoping for a lot more. Skeptically, he walked over to the computer to review the bidding statistics. That’s when I realized we had reached a new life stage. Too old for transparent parental ruses, but still too young to understand economies of scale.

I felt like a loser. Like Blaziken after getting hit with an Electron Crush. But I was able to recover the cards – they had been delivered, but not yet opened. “We sent you the rare cards by mistake!” I told our friend. “We meant to sent you common cards.” Very technically, this was not a lie. Now they are scattered on the dining room table, awaiting further action.

Postscript: When I was about my son’s age I had an ancient 1959 baseball card that had to be worth a fortune. It was Gene Conley, a Phillies pitcher whose lifetime record – I just looked it up – was 91-96. Despite being a very rational kid, for years I persisted in the belief that Phillies cards were more valuable than those of other teams, especially the Angels, Indians and Astros that seemed to dominate every pack. I still remember my shock when the guy at the baseball card shop offered me a quarter. I was so offended, I’ve kept Gene Conley to this day.

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