Tag Archives: children

Fun and games

“You killed me! That’s not fair! I was about to shoot you in the head.”

These words from my five year old cousin Ryan as we played a video game with the objective of repeatedly gunning each other’s avatars down in post-apocalyptic settings. He’d been playing the game alone in the basement for hours before coming upstairs looking for opponents. My father was his first choice, but he refused to get up from the recliner and the Fox News pundits, so I would have to do.

Ryan led me downstairs to the finished basement apartment he shares with my aunt. He rattled off what the square button, the triangle button, the circle, the R1 trigger, the R2 trigger, and both tiny joysticks do. It took me a moment to realize that his little boy voice was telling me information I’d need to know. Next it was on to selecting the optimal location for our looming bloodshed. “The abandoned amusement park is my favorite, but it’s locked.” He explained that he’d have to kill many before its fun and games would be available to him.

As we began the battle I realized I had made a mistake. I hate video games. I hate them because I’m bad at them. It’s one thing to be bad at Mario Brothers, with its flying squirrels and princesses trapped in castles. It’s quite another to be bad at a game with impressively realistic graphics and noises, down to the crisp sights and sounds of shells flying and blood splattering.

In addition to my cousin’s experience and my utter lack thereof, I also had the added challenge of my aunt excitedly showing me clothes and accessories she’d just unboxed from an eBay purchase. “Isn’t this handbag great?” “Do you think these flares fit?” On one side of me pink and silver saccharine things, on the other, war and guts and masculine gore. And there I was in the middle: “That’s so pretty! Wait, which gun should I use?”

After one round I accepted that I was less navigating the muddled waters than drowning in them and politely took my leave. My cousin was disappointed. “You’re not fair!” he whined before he turned back away to reload a solo game.

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Voting Day Blues (and Red States)(hahah!)

The other day I woke up in the middle of the afternoon to the sounds of children yelling and screaming, and I got a little concerned that some kind of disaster had struck.  But then I realized that I live directly across the street from a public school.  It’d been summer, so this mid-afternoon commotion had been on hiatus.  But now it’s back.  In full effect.  Monday through Friday. 

This afternoon I woke more around dinner time and rather than children screaming, there were sign-wielding democrats screaming!  Primary day!  The day when public schools everywhere are transformed into polling locations!  Normally I only get out of bed to eat or relieve myself, but today I got out in an attempt to fulfill my civic duty.  It was great.  To feel like a citizen.

I threw on pants and a t-shirt and booked it out of my building.  I didn’t bother to brush my teeth or my hair–there’s no superficiality in politics, just as there’s no crying in baseball. 

Even in my disheveled state (pun intended, New York), the sign-wielders handed me a flyer and asked, “Are you going to vote?!”  And I declared, “Yes!”  And they exclaimed, “Good!”  I really felt part of something, ya know?

I have no idea what the story behind this image is.

I have no idea what the story behind this image is.

Unfortunately, upon entering the public school, I remembered that I’m registered as an Independent, so I couldn’t vote in the primary at all.  All the women behind the folding tables consoled me as I cried big, civically unfulfilled tears and they told me everything would be okay–I could come back in November.  I threw a bit of tantrum.  I said, “I hate the system!”  They nodded sympathetically and recommended I move along. 

I trudged back to my apartment building.  I was really looking forward to wearing one of these: