I came across a story about a 3-year-old boy in Nebraska who somehow wandered away from his home and was found inside one of those claw machines inside the bowling alley next door playing with the toys, happy as could be. As a parent, it stirred up my claw machine memories.

If you are the parent of young children, you've probably dealt with the claw machine at the local grocery store or fast food joint. For just 50 cents, you get a chance to test your skill at using a crane-like machine with the loosest grappling device you ever saw to try and grab a cheap stuffed toy made in China that probably cost about 4 cents to make. Most parents I know try to keep their kids away from them, knowing that their money will be wasted.

Or if you're like me, you let the kids try it out, lose the money and then say "I told you so."

The only problem is, most of my kids have had some success with the darned things. When my oldest daughter was 5, she begged to play one of these machines. I went with the method I just described, thinking she'd lose her money and be done.

No such luck.

She scored the biggest teddy bear in that infernal contraption out of the gate. Now my 8-year-old son has the bug. He, too, has had success, so he wants to try all the time. There goes my coffee change.

Back to the little boy in Nebraska. If that happened, I would be in a world of hurt.

I wouldn't have nearly enough quarters, or the luck to get him out!