The Year of No Gaming… Day 070…

The Year of No Gaming… Day 070… after the break…

The Year of No Gaming… Day 070…

I can’t believe that it’s been 70 full days (formally, 77 informally) since I have played a single computer game. Wow.

First, let me dispense with some odds and ends that are non-gaming related –

Sorry for that left-hand turn the other day…

Look… I thought that the green light was for me. Yes, I realized too late that I should have waited for the additional arrow as well. My bad. I’m too used to green lights meaning just that – Go. I don’t use too many green lights where the arrow really matters. Fortunately, no one got hurt and no one was rash enough to plow into anyone. So, if you think of me as a jerk, well… I can’t help that. Just think of me as the guy who made one minor mistake that, thankfully, didn’t amount to much other then me having to hit the accelerator a little harder then normal once I realized my traffic snafu.

To the Asian lady I might have blown off…

OK, let me explain – I’m busy. I don’t like browsing when I shop. I walk into a grocery store, I get what I need, I wait in line for the check-out counter, I pay, I leave. Is it a guy thing? Probably not, I’m sure that ladies have places to go and people to see as well. It’s just the social norm that guys are a bit more brief then the ladies in the grocery store shopping department.

I get it – We live in a crappy economy and people need whatever job that they can get their grubby little mittens on. Your job is standing at a demonstration booth handing out samples of food that no one really wants to sample. It’s a thankless job. I sympathize. I’m guessing it wasn’t your first choice for a grand career, either. Having said that, can you really blame me when I blew right past you while trying to shop? I’m busy. I don’t have time to try out your… Whatever it was you were trying to sell me.

Finally, to the ladies… Stop smiling at men. It sends the wrong signal. Yes, you’re trained to smile at us when you’re on the job because it’s customer politeness. However, men have a built-in knee-jerk (emphasis on the “jerk,” am I right, ladies?) reaction when women smile at us. Our reaction usually amounts to, “Hey, she wants to have sex with me.” Fine, deny it publicly but the brave men are the ones nodding in approval at the moment. So, unless there’s an NC-17 rated bedroom scene lying just below the surface of that smile, most guys don’t want you to smile at them because that’s considered deceptive advertising.

So, in conclusion – Sorry that you have a sucky job. Yes, I understand that it was your job to smile and pretend to be polite to me but just stand behind your booth (which shouldn’t be there in the first place but that’s a whole other post) and ignore me unless you honestly think I’m Prince Charming.

To the Idiot Who Thinks a Wet Highway Is Fun To Pull Stunts On…

Threatening people with firearm violence is a bit taboo in this day and age and more then just a tad illegal so I won’t do that. Nevertheless, your unnecessary display of driving prowess on the highway a few days ago scared the living spit out of everyone behind you and probably the people in front of you as well. Yes, what masterful spins and “fishtails” you displayed with your squealing tires. I’m sure you’ve practiced a lot in parking lots. A highway is different; There are cars coming towards you minding their own business. There’s a sort of “gentleman’s handshake” (OK, it’s more like legal written law) that people who drive do not purposefully drive like their car is about to careen off the road and slam into a tree. That’s reckless behavior and the only reason why I didn’t panic further was because I drive slowly and was far enough behind you that I didn’t need to slam on my brakes hard.

If, on the very slim chance, that your spin-outs and fishtails were genuine then, you sir, seriously need to stop driving that car and get it fixed post haste. Or, just stop driving period. Probably the second one.

Observations about not playing games for 70 days…

I think one of the reasons why I used to play computer games is that it fills the void in your life to feel important. Listen, I get it – You’re a CEO. You’re a brain surgeon. You’re someone important and have a vivid social life and a satisfying sex life and a fantabulous property with a gorgeous spouse of one gender or another with 2.4 kids, a white picket fence and 1.3 pets. Most of us aren’t that. We’re not important. We’re pencil pushers, office cubicle lab rats of one stripe or another. We say “Do you want fries with that?” or “Do you have a membership card with us?” far more frequently then we should. Not even Photoshop can save us.

Your life is exciting and wonderful. Our lives consist of us clipping coupons and looking for a job that doesn’t obliterate our hope for humanity.

When you play a computer game, though, you’re a spaceship commander. An elite commando warrior. A private detective. A legendary warrior. Your goals are vast – You are tasked with vanquishing a terrifying galactic empire. You’re blunting the invasion of an alien horde. You’re solving an international conspiracy. You’re managing a restaurant empire. A theme park empire. A railroad empire. Colonizing an alien planet. Winning the World Cup, Super Bowl, World Series, Stanley Cup… Fill in whatever the top prize of your sport is. Gold medals. Whatever.

I have come to realize after 70 days without playing computer games that computer games give you a sense of purpose. Very few of us build the metaphorical Pyramids of Giza. we print reports and throw them at other desks. We file reports. We work a cash register. We answer phones. We will never be involved with something greater then ourselves. Building statues or monuments or participating in once-in-a-lifetime events is something that doesn’t happen everyday, or once a week or even once a decade.

Maybe I’ll get used to being… Not a spaceship commander or a leader of a plucky band of colonists trying to tame a wild unknown. Yet I miss the taste of adventure that comes with first-person gaming. I miss the positive feedback of, “Hey, thanks for clearing out that dungeon of skeletons and rats for us. Here’s some gold and some magical trinket.” You don’t get that positive feedback in real life. You don’t even get rejection letters anymore. In real life, you get nothing which is a lot less then what you get in a computer game.

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