New York Times
Tamagotchi Diary Day 5
May 7, 1997


HANDS ON / By JOE HUTSKO

Tamagotchi Diary: Day 5
Sundry Competing Interests


Day 5
Weigh In:
9:00 a.m.
5 years
2 lbs. 0 oz.


SAN FRANCISCO -- Before I go into what's up with Tommy, I need to apologize to two people. First, to Tomas, who sent the following e-mail in response to Day 3's diary entry. (He was particularly upset with my description of his failure-to-thrive Tamagotchi: "It was appalling: a gnarly blip with one eye and some sort of appendage, perhaps a single finger.").

To: Joe
From: Tomas
Subject: RE: Alive and Kicking

The humiliation. I can't ever show my face in public again! The horrible things you wrote about me. You took my na´vetÚ and made it sound almost pornographic. The shame.

In describing Tomas's aborted first attempt at raising his Tamagotchi hatchling, I meant only to demonstrate how, if at first you don't succeed, you can try, try again. Which, as yesterday's entry pointed out, Tomas had done, and to good effect. Still, despite my phone and e-mail messages to him, asking for an update on his little Joey's health, I have not heard from Tomas. Maybe they are enjoying Tomas's day off together (and what with that near bit-kidnapping, they deserve a little quiet time together). I can only hope that I haven't permanently offended Tomas and his little green-shelled sidekick. (Tomas, if you are out there, please check in.)

The second apology goes to Drew who, after reading about himself appear in the Diaries, said that he sounds like "a curmudgeon." Definitely wry in humor, yes -- thankfully, yes. But a curmudgeon? No.

Competing Interests

Anyway, an update on Tommy: He hit the big Five this morning, waking promptly at 9 a.m. Before I forget: Did I mention his new sleep-ware? Before turning off his light for the night, I noticed something different about his living space: he'd somehow found or spawned or willed himself a little bed. Or futon. Or something to sleep on. On previous nights he just floated off to sleep. Now he had a bed. It appears he has a tiny patchwork blanket too. Unless those are pajamas. Life's little surprises.

He's behaving beautifully. Eating, playing and eliminating as if on cue. And not a single discipline problem yesterday.

Even on his best behavior, I have to admit he's starting to take his toll on my mind share. It's not that he's all that much trouble. It's just that he's brought up all these thoughts and feelings about my own brother Tommy, whom I generally think about for only moments at a time. I've already mentioned in a previous Diary entry that I am supposed to be hard at work rewriting my first novel so that it can appear in serialized form here on CyberTimes, as soon as possible.

Yet the virtual Tommy and the late Tommy together now demand almost constant dealing with. The former, I know, can only go on for so long -- according to the Bandai literature, a life span of three weeks is an exceptionally long one. However the other Tommy, it seems, is here to stay until he, like cyber-Tommy, is ready to go off to his home planet or plane where he can rest peacefully ever after. Not at some pre-described pace, but rather when he is good and ready. Or I guess when I'm ready -- good or otherwise.

Further Dreamscapes

Unlike my Tamagotchi's night, my sleep was filled once more with dreams about my brother Tommy, who died when I was 19 (he was 21). In the dream, my sister and I are driving a monochrome version of my brother's car, the one he'd passed away in. It is an old Dodge Dart, immaculate. AC/DC on the radio. We are heading out to the mall. Maybe we're bent on buying ourselves some Tamagotchis, some future version of ourselves that back then we had not the remotest inkling of. I don't know. I can't see in the back seat or behind me. I don't remember a rearview mirror. So I can't tell if my brother is back there, with us, to take along to wherever we are going. I don't know if we ever got there. When I awoke, I only remembered that we were journeying, somewhere.

The dream didn't make me feel sad, just more aware of my brother's departure. Maybe it's like the movie "Poltergeist," like I've got to convey him to some other place. Since last night, I've been looking at my Tamagotchi a little differently: Is that the point of his unexpected installment into my life? To have entered at this point, and act as some sort of vehicle meant to drive my lost brother out of the places he's been hiding in my head and heart, off into a shiner place, where I can look at him without feeling sad? Is that what's happening?

Negligent Behavior


Day 4
Weigh Out:
4:52 p.m.
5 years
2 lbs. 4 oz.

I want it to hurry along then. Get it over with. I think that's why I decided to leave my Tamagotchi on my desk while I worked out at the gym. I figured he was old enough now to be left alone for a little while. Plus I missed my gym shorts without the pockets. Before I split, I made sure he was fed, happy. I thought about him once or twice while working out, at the burrito shop, then coming up the hill, wondering as I got closer to my home if I'd made a mistake. I went right to him when I came inside.

He'd left me a little present -- a pile of pixilated droppings. My first thought was that he had done this on purpose, to spite me; except for when he slept, I don't think I've ever not checked on him or played with him or fed him every half hour, 45 minutes at the very most. But then I saw that he was laughing, bursts of happy-rays coming off his head. By the looks of it, he'd found himself a new play thing. I promptly cleaned it up and then fed him a snack, played his little guessing game until he was fully four-hearts full of joy on his happy scale.

I'm happy he's happy. But I want to concentrate on my rewrite now. I suppose I may have to trade my nonstop fussing over him for the possibility that he may not turn out altogether perfect after all. I need to think about that. And everything else. Like: Will tonight hold more strange dreams, more of Tommy's hidden agenda?


Tomorrow: Day 6: Secrets & Myth-Making



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