Tulsa’s kids are the 5th most spoiled in the nation
8:00 AM EDT on June 12, 2012
As a moonlighting blogger, organized lists are pretty much my favorite bliterary device. My affinity towards order and rank doesn't stop at cheeky Tumblr posts though--VH1 could be counting down "40 Most Unoriginal Dubstep Songs" or "500 Suggestive Double Entendres Used on Three's Company" and I'd watch every single minute of the entire five hour program, even if the only commentators they could recruit are washed up American Idol and Flavor of Love contestants.
As you can guess, nothing delights me more than when my dear old Tulsey Town appears on some sort of national ranking, no matter how random or seemingly inaccurate that list might be. Last week, Yahoo used some sort of scientific method to determine that Tulsa kids are the fifth most spoiled in the country, outranking cities like Dallas, Atlanta, and Los Angeles, home of Suri Cruise and Carlton Banks.
When I read this article, I immediately thought it had to be a bunch of crap. I mean, we all know that the cost of living is significantly less here than it is in other parts of the country. I mean, were all economic factors properly accounted for? How are we possibly spending more on our children here than they are in Washington DC or Boston?
This investigation, I deemed, would require some field experience with today's youth. The problem is, I don't have very many nine year old friends, and for some reason the parents of the ones I met at Chuck E. Cheese had a problem with me recording their children talk about their home life. So, that plan was scrapped, and now the conclusions drawn in this analysis all come from a retrospective case study of the subject I know best--me of course.
I grew up in one of those classic neighborhoods in South Tulsa that's the real-life version of what they show on Desperate Housewives and the early days of Weeds. Golden retrievers, mini vans, booster club signs, and basketball goals lined the streets. Every family was young, everyone had a cabin on Grand Lake and a deck boat, and everyone's kids were secretly smarter than all of their friends' children. It didn't matter if your kid ate paste and still couldn't read an analog clock--they were destined for great things, and a gilded upbringing was the cornerstone of preparing your child for their very, very bright future.
As a child, my mother exclusively dressed me in the latest Gymboree jumper-and-bloomer sets and took me to her grown-up hair salon to get "the Rachel" haircut and my unibrow waxed before I lost all of my baby teeth. Although as a teenager I grew to love my mom's habit of bankrolling my moderately priced haircuts and a name-brand wardrobe, my eight-year-old self just wasn't very appreciative. Sure, I was ambitious and wanted to be popular--but to a kid, that meant having coolest toys, a decent T-ball batting average, and a pantry stocked with the most colorful cereals.
As luck would have it, my fresh-off-the-boat Chinese mother and I had different perceptions of what being "cool" truly meant. While my friends' moms doled out individually wrapped Dunkaroos and Capri Suns at snacktime, my mom served us Vienetta on porcelain plates (rest in peace, you creamy concoction you). My friends all joined Little League teams and pee wee cheer squads. My parents made me enter piano competitions and go to opera camp. My friends had birthday parties at the roller skating rink or Big Splash, and my eighth birthday party was at Harmon Science Center. When the 96' Tour Championship came to Southern Hills, my friends all got to leave school at lunchtime. I didn't get to sit in the air-conditioned tents and eat the smoked salmon crostinis until class was over because according to my parents, my "education" was too important for them to compromise for a few days.
My parents way of keeping me from becoming a complete brat manifested itself in strange and random ways, but when it came to "it" toys, I predictably didn't stand a chance. I finagled my way into owning a Tamogotchi only because it vaguely sounded educational. My measly 12-piece Beanie Baby collection paled in comparison to my next door neighbor's dollhouse filled with every stuffed animal in Ty's collection, complete with a plastic shield protecting the original attached heart-shaped tag. They had ponies and Nintendo 64s and Nikes that lit-up when they walked, and all had I were Nancy Drew books and stupid Yorkie that humped my mom's throw pillows all day long. I had two American Girl dolls, but my BFF had seven. My friends all drove Barbie Lamborghinis, and I drove a Barbie Jeep.
It felt like I would never get ahead in the cruel world surrounding me--that is, until I caught wind about a shipment of Furbys arriving at our local Toys R' Us, the SAME week as my ninth birthday. The stars had finally aligned in my favor. I was going to get a freakin' Furby, and all of those ghoulish monsters I called friends who could out-climb me on the monkey bars and tore through my fragile arms during Red Rover would finally see who's boss.
I would finish this story (it involves an elaborate PowerPoint presentation I made for my Dad on Netscape detailing exactly why owning a Gremlin-esque talking robot was imperative to my social standing), but I just re-read the last couple of paragraphs and I think I've pretty much made my point. I now understand why kids from Jenks and Union High School were the only ones at OU who still wore their senior class t-shirts on campus. Now I see why I met staff members from Outrageous Kid Birthdays on the last three incoming flights to Tulsa I boarded. It's now dawned on me as to why a handful of my friends are such entitled assholes. Touché Yahoo, touché.
Follow Chelsea on Twitter at @xCawoodstock