Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Mom's Video Game Games

I am having a great time with Nick's new video game.

No, I'm not playing. I haven't played a video game since the last time Nick was sick.

"Mom, will you play a game with me?"

"Honey, I'm terrible at those games, but if you don't mind how terrible I am, then I'll play."

So, we had a good time setting me up in pink and purple armor and got going. Then, right there at the beginning, it started to go wrong, oh so wrong.

"Mom, you need to look up. It's the toggle on the left. No, your other left. Now, just point your gun at the hive and shoot. There, with the target. No. Look down and aim. Behind you. Follow me. I'm over here. No, the other way. No, mom, you have to move the left toggle down so you can see where you're going. The right one moves you around. Then, when you get the hive in the cross-hairs, you shoot. Use the right trigger. You just changed guns, Mom. Mom. No, press the X button. You're shooting straight up, mom. That's... No....Stop..... Hide behind..... Aw, now you have to wait to respawn."

Meanwhile, he had eliminated about fifteen of the hive and was battling against the big guy somewhere and I couldn't find him. I died, respawned, hid, tried to catch up, tried to look up but not straight up at the sky, tried to shoot and run at the same time, tried to run and see where I was going at the same time, tried to avoid the purple streaks that were killing me, and wait patiently every time I had to respawn. I finally found that if I gave up trying to shoot anything, I could almost look around and run at the same time and keep up with Nick.

In the meantime, Nick got bored and frustrated, switched the mode of the game, and started shooting right at me while I was still trying to figure out where I was after I died and woke up in another place.

"Hey, you're spawnkilling. No fair!" I said. Nobody likes a spawnkiller.

"Mom, you stand there for an hour before you take a step. That's not spawnkilling."

"Yes it is. I wake up and there you are shooting at me."

"It's not waking up. It's spawning."

"Exactly. I spawn awake and there you are, shooting at me. You don't even give me a chance."

"Okay, I'll give you more time."

"Good. I need more time." I respawn and almost have my bearings. I'm running toward where Nick's character is standing and then he starts shooting at me again.

"I'm not having any fun. You keep shooting at me right after I figure out which way I'm going."

And that was the last time I played video games with Nick.

So now, I have a new game to play with him. I think it should be a Seth Rogan movie. Were you around the other day when I complained that Mike and Nick were watching YouTube videos of people playing video games?

Basically, these people think their banter is funny, so they play the video game with their cameras set to their faces and the rest of us in the world have the ultimate privilege of watching them sit on their asses talking to the TV while they play stupid video games. And that's somehow supposed to be entertainment. I think it is for video game nerds.

And as I watched Nick and Mike watching this YouTube video, Seth Rogan's face popped into my mind. He's got the camera set to his face. He's using his entire vocal range to narrate this game. He's cool. He's funny. There's a pile of candy wrappers, pizza boxes and beer cans tossed around him but he doesn't think that shows up on camera. He's wearing his pajama bottoms under a cool T-shirt and doesn't realize that viewers can see them too. The movie moves back and forth between his impression of himself over the Internet and the conversation between video game nerds about him in an entirely different home where they are playing his YouTube video.

Today, Nick is wearing his bluetooth ear set thingy. I picture him in our living room as the Seth Rogan character, capturing video of himself to be played later by other video game geeks.

I just got home from church. I'm played by someone like Melissa McCarthy, only older since she's not old enough to have a teenaged or twenty-something kid like Seth Rogan playing video games.

"Hi! I'm home," I shouted as I came up the stairs.

"Shhhh!" Mike said. "He's on Bluetooth."

"Oh, that thingy in his ear that keeps blinking? Okay."


"Oh, sorry." And I walked back through to the kitchen. Mike quietly sat on the couch.

I carried my groceries around in the kitchen and forgot myself.

"Hon, do you want brisket for dinner tonight? I bought a brisket if you want brisket," I yelled from the other room.


"Oh, sorry."

And I went back to unloading groceries and chatting to Mike and Nick in my head as I put stuff away.

"Sweetie, I bought you two bags of raisin bran. They didn't have the Maltomeal stuff at QFC, so whenever I'm at the Farmhouse Market, I have to get extra so it'll last you for a couple of weeks."

"Mom! I'm on a mission!"

"Right. Sorry, hon," I said, but by then my mind went around some kind of corner. You know the corner I mean. Those days when nothing is going right and something breaks in your mind and suddenly you're driving seriously slowly because of the tailgater behind you. Your you pick your nose and wipe it on the counter the day you're really sick and after waiting for a half an hour to talk to the pharmacist about an over-the-counter prescription, he's condescending and all he'll say is that what you want is in aisle four on the left.

Yes, I am ashamed to say my mind careened around a corner at that moment and I was an older version of Melissa McCarthy. I walked into the room and held out a glass of liquid toward Nick.

"You are ultra, dude," Nick said, but not to me.

"This is my favorite gun. See, isn't it a good gun." He's still not talking to me. I wait for just the right moment. It's coming.

"Did you see that nube?" he said a bit too loudly.

"Honey, here's your laxative. You should take it now so you don't get constipated later." Spawnkill number one.

Now, Nick mouthed an emphatic 'NO' at me. Finally, eye contact. He can't kill me with those eyes. He can't kill me with those eyes. I walked back into my kitchen. Another plus is that he was trapped in front of the TV and can't get up and get into my face either. In fact, he couldn't say anything rude at all because it might have hindered his view of himself on this mission. I almost finished loading the dishwasher and there was slimy goo on my fingers from a bowl that someone didn't rinse out. I walked out into the living room, still holding the bowl and looked at the TV.

"Dance! You're at the dance pavillion. Dance!"

"Mom! Stop!" He whispers fiercely as he tries to cover the microphone. Spawnkill number two.

I walked casually back into the kitchen and dropped a tablet onto the little door of the dishwasher. I didn't shut the little door thingy because it never springs open and I always have to run the dishwasher again. I thought about my next attack.

"Honey," I yell to Mike from where I stand. I am at full volume. "Did you schedule that colonoscopy yet? You're past due."

And I peek out of the kitchen. Nick has sunk down into the leather chair, his face four shades of pink. Nailed it. Spawnkill number three. I considered walking in front of the TV again and farting loudly, but even around that crazy corner, I had my limits.

And that is my favorite way to play video games.

Yes, Melissa McCarthy, you have permission to play me in the movie even though you're way too young and you're prettier than me and way funnier too. You could probably blow me out of the water with what you yell from the kitchen at someone like Seth Rogan playing video games and recording himself for YouTube. But please pick someone younger than Seth Rogan so he'd be young enough to be your kid. I hate when casting gets that stuff wrong and I'd never believe that old person is her kid. That's the problem with all the Botox and pouty collagen lips and shit. I never believe that face has lived for five minutes let alone borne a child and nagged for fourteen years straight. After fourteen years of continuous nagging, I deserve to have some wrinkles and if you're going to play me in the movies, you'd damned-well better have some wrinkles too.

Thank you for listening, jules

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