Wednesday, February 8


Believe it or not, there was a time when I was even lazier than I am now. I know, wow, right? Well, I'll admit that I had a little help in the form of marijuana, but all it really did was bring out my full slug potential. The pinnacle of my slacker/stoner/loser phase was the summer that I lived at the beach, which didn't help matters at all. Nothing motivates a nineteen year old more like being forced to wake and bake and hit the beach. Sure I had a job, but it was at a movie theater with two screens and my biggest worry there was trying not to burn myself on the popcorn kettle while high, which I did a few times.

Now, for some reason, playing video games seemed like a really great thing to do with my time while under the influence of The Pot. The house we lived in came with a Nintendo and one game: Super Mario Brothers. Two if you count Duck Hunt, but no one does because it was only good for taking a break after 3 hours of straight Super Mario.  

Up until this time, I had never played SMB. My video game exposure hadn't expanded from the arcade (look it up kids) or my home system which consisted entirely of Pong.  Indeed I learned that smoking copious amounts of weed* and unfettered access to a video game console weren't a good combination, because it quickly became very apparent that I have no impulse control whatsoever.

I stayed up till all hours of the night and played non-stop. I developed calluses on my thumbs, although that was probably compounded by my Ms. PacMan problem. I had a friend that worked at a place called Foosball Palace, and

I'm a little guy. Little arms, little legs, small features. A little guy.
although it was certainly no palace, it did have a kindly owner that rigged his Ms. PacMan machine for me so I could play for free with  unlimited Coca Cola privileges, basically enabling my addiction by tweaking me up with caffeine. Embarrassingly enough this whole "lost summer" wasn't my first foray into a gaming shame spiral. The year before I'd discovered the gateway game, Tetris, on a friends computer. I'm not lying, at one point I had to be literally dragged away from it. For months afterward, I saw beautiful, colored shapes falling in my dreams. Thankfully, all of this was long before Jeff VanVonderen could get involved and tell me that I was surrounded by people that "loved me like crazy, but weren't going to love me to death."

I eventually I took on the nickname "no-friend-o," due to my reluctance to leave the couch and participate in any activity that took place away from the TV. That changed after a mini intervention, and I backed off my relationship with Mario, filling my time instead other boys, and alcohol, like a good old-fashioned girl should.
The Super Mario addiction died after I left the beach house, mostly due to lack of access. Then, the whole system became obsolete and I instead turned to Grand Theft Auto (mainly for the rampages). However, when we got a Wii I discovered the new Super Mario and for awhile spent any extra time I had trying to spin and jump my way to happiness. I even tricked Piper into thinking that it was a cartoon so I could play when she was awake. Not my best moment. Eventually, I gave up when I got stuck in a secret world and couldn't catch a ride on some stupid dandelions.

Then, this past Christmas, my husband bestowed upon me a heavenly gift. Wii credits. Basically, it was a gift certificate to download games onto the Wii. As I perused the selection, I ventured into the "classics" category, and there it was. In all its glory. The original Super Mario Bros. I couldn't download it fast enough. Suddenly it all came rushing back to me, the increased heart rate, sweaty palms, and the cursing, oh the cursing. When I held that controller, and heard that music, it was like being embraced my a heavenly angel. I told Mark "you know I was once addicted to this, right." He did not. After about two hours of straight, manic play, he said "how did I not know this about you?" Well it's not something that you go around telling everybody. Kind of like how he had a stash of comic books, oh I mean graphic novels, that I didn't know anything about. 

I learned very quickly that this time around Piper wasn't fooled by my "it's a cartoon" trick. Oh no. She saw the gleam in my eyes and sweat on my brow and decided that she wanted to try her hand at the fun. I was hesitant first, because they say that addiction is genetic and I didn't want her to go down the same, dark path that I had. Then I realized that it wasn't exactly heroin, so I handed her the control.

Wow. After a few days of frustration, you should see that kid move. Jumping mushrooms, gettin' coins, jumping for flags. It's crazy. I justify it by telling myself that she's learning hand/eye coordination. Actually I must confess that I like playing with her because after she clears the first level, she thrusts the control in my hand because she doesn't want to get "eaten" by the "mean ducks." So really it means that I get to play with a cheerleader.

I figure that she'll eventually get tired and move on to something else like she has with everything (we've got three baskets of toys to prove it). Until then, she's learning how to properly slack on the couch while Mark teaches her not to "play scared," as opposed to what he calls my "avoidance strategy." Before you judge me, understand that I think it is important for TV moderation, "be it two hours a day, either education or football, so you don't ruin your appreciation for the finer things in life." I couldn't have said it better H.I.

* I really feel like I should mention here that "copious amounts of weed" are no longer involved in my SMB marathons. I really don't want a pop-in from DFCS. They might find my meth lab. Kidding. No, really. I don't have a meth lab, but I'm pretty sure my neighbors do.


Kate and Dennis said...

I was gifted the Anniversary edition of SMB for the Wii last Christmas. OMG. I played non-stop and even called in sick a couple days to play. Dennis told me I needed to get help. Needless to say, now that the bambino is here, I haven't had much quality time with Mario. Sad face.