iPads should come with a great big warning on the box. In your face. In upper case. In "danger red". A harmony warning, a parent warning, some kind of "Family Insanity Alert"; that's what's needed. Because an iPad is like inviting a scene out of Die Hard into your home, or a (collective noun fans, enjoy) "crash" of charging rhinos.
Never welcome a vampire through your door and never bring an iPad into the house. At least, not if you have children.
You see, I have 3 children, the youngest aged 3, the oldest 6. And they love their iPad, formerly, very briefly, once upon a time, my iPad. Let's be clear: "My iPad" for about 5 minutes. For those 5 minutes, I loved that iPad too, but then it was appropriated, seized, taken from me, and unlike Liam Neeson, I lack the skills to take it back.
"Daddy, can we download Angry Birds?" That was all it took, and the rest is history, a cautionary tale where I enter the kitchen blurry-eyed and craving Nespresso, where 3 children trying to divide themselves into 1 App is like navigating a rocky start to a bad day in Basra. 3 into 1; the math can leave blood on the walls.
Every morning is the same. Before I'm even close to caffeine, it's tipping-point carnage. My 3 year old daughter drops her shoulders and lets out a shrieking war-cry that sits somewhere between Boadicea and a smack-addicted banshee. Her 4 year old brother is immune and unmoved, but for his gunslinger stare, that flicks briefly right, judging the distance to the knife drawer. Their big brother splits the second of indecision and lunges forward to claim the iPad prize that bisects his sibling's face off. John Woo would be hard-pressed to choreograph a finer set-piece.
The iPad is too big for my blender. I tried one morning, pre smoothie, post coffee. Looking for dramatically destructive alternatives (for I too show enthusiasm for self-conscious melodrama), I have contrived scenes hell-bent on throwing the “Family iPad’s” fate open to the judgments of the Gods.
I fling open the kitchen door, tear the iPad from their tiny-handed (but surprisingly strong) grip, declare to my amused brood, "Right, that's IT!", and Frisbee it out into the garden. I've done this precisely 3 times.
"Daddy's wanged the iPad again", they inform Mummy, as they race to put on their Hunters.
I should also explain, our house assumes an elevated position, the kitchen running on to a terrace - that then drops a good 18 feet down to the garden below.
With a decent elevation and a little effort, iPads can travel. I can get range, I'd say an easy 40 feet, with a 3-quarter strength Frisbee-ing.
And has the iPad once fractured on impact? Has it hell. (The Gods are clearly Apple-lovers too.) It does however make conspicuous divets.
Only lightly soiled, with actual soil, I've also dropped the iPad, accidentally-on-purpose, into the bath, but it just seemed to provide a helpful cleaning, suitable for removing grass stains.
You get those moments when you sense you are not at one with the cosmos, that there are greater universal forces (like Apple) in play, and that these forces may not be on your side.
I realize I have no choice, that I can't break the pattern but must instead ride the curve. For me, no more playing Tablet-Frisbee. You can’t break what’s borderline indestructible.
Maybe inviting one vampire into your home is unwise, but once you have, maybe your only choice is embrace the inevitable, throw a house party, fill the tub with ice cubes, Coors, and juicy blood bags.
One iPad in the home is a disaster, but I’ve now cracked the code. I just need to go buy another two.