Who we pretend to be . . .

It seems all my most recent posts come equipped with an italicized prologue/apology.  My writing schedule of late (see previous post) allows  only for penning randomized thoughts rather than focused diatribes. 

Fisch wrote to me a few months back, citing his concerns over a former classmate’s downward spiral due to World of Warcraft.  “Back in high school, Larry could have kicked major ass, dude.  Samurai sword in hand — you know he has five or six replicas from Highlander — he could have . . . have . . . I don’t know, vied with the rich and powerful.  Made a difference in the world.  Tried to conquer it, and crush all lacrosse-playing douche-bags beneath his thumbs.  Instead, he’s teaching Spanish at a local college and hosting Magic tournaments at the local comic shop every Friday.  It’s unhealthy, man.”  

Fisch by nature is an idealist — he also cares little for lacrosse or the brainless bullies the sport occasionally empowers.  His mother has planned his presidential campaign since his thirteenth birthday.  A mind for politics, law, and changing the world has little to no use for fantasy or the MMORPG scene.  Building digital characters and hunting pixelated loot has no worth since it carries no currency in the real world.  This may be true, but still I wonder about his ‘self-evident’ conclusions of WoW, not to mention our private fantasies and self-identity. . .  This is my reply:

Continue reading

Wonderdog

My uncle once owned a dog that did not love him. Despite his owner’s constant adoration, affection, and regular meal offerings, the mustard-colored mutt escaped the confine’s of both yard and house with a regularity that would have impressed Steve McQueen. Whenever my uncle arrived home from inspecting train wrecks — that was his job — he would discover the yard empty, his food untouched, or the window screen torn asunder.  At such moment, my uncle would race down the street to our house, load my brothers into his truck, and slowly circle the neighborhood, shouting ‘Ralph!  Ralph!” — for that was the dog’s name — ‘Godammit dog, where are you?”

Ralph would always emerge a day or two later from the woods, wet from a swim at the reservoir, or covered in briars.  At which point, my uncle would hug and kiss the doe-eyed convict, while muttering in a sing-song baby voice “Such a goood dog!  Such a goood doggie.”  Ralph would be chained of course for another week or so, before his master would forgive his past transgressions.  The dog, who knew nothing of redemption, gratitude or the human parole system,  would immediately celebrate its freedom by running into the woods for another three or four days, chasing squirrels and sniffing deer pellets. Continue reading

Love’s Labors Lost

The latest edition of ABC’s Bachelor will choose his bride/soul mate/future tabloid scandal next week.   Mom and Katie are all a twitter, forcing me to hurl this question out into the void:

Assuming of course that the young man’s intentions is that of ‘true love’ and the hopes of the young ladies likewise lies in martial bliss and not just winning a TV game show,  which for all intensive purposes the show operates as; and assuming that all the buzz words concerning ‘chemistry’ and ‘connection’ and ‘marriage’ and ‘life-long partner’ contain a fraction of what these words represent . . .

If twenty or so girls (or men, The Bachelorette is equally guilty) profess their love/attraction to one guy (girl), how — when all the unsuitable contestants or prudes are removed from contention — can you honestly believe the affections of one or two?   In short, if all these girls fall for one guy with little to no knowledge of his hopes, dreams, fears, religion, favorite bands, or least favorite vegetable apart from his looks and his wallet, how can you trust any of them?  How can the affections of one be more trustworthy, authentic if the affections of many are so freely given?  Moreover, how can watching said program edify your faith in Love itself?

Admittedly the show sells itself as a train wreck, but with so much carnage, it makes one rather apprehensive to travel at all.  The single life keeps getting better and better.

Like Ants Cursing the Rain

Hillside of a golf course

“So what exactly are you saying?” Dasad asked, stirring the wasabi.  “That Star Wars should be added to the New Testament?  Some sort of sequel to Revelation?”

Murph gurgled some imperceptible response from his miso soup, inciting a sudden fit of coughing and drooling.  Dasad sighed and returned his attention to the green lump dissolving in his soy sauce.  Murphey had invited Dasad over the house for pizza and games earlier that week.  Dasad had accepted the invitation but neglected the hour-old pizza already ripped to shreds by the fraternal horde, Murphey’s younger brothers and sisters.  Sensing some internal struggle between hunger and disgust within his friend, Murph had suggested carry-out at the local sushi place.  Lenten Fridays restricted most fast food without scales and fins — excluding Taco Bell whose mushy meat remains to this day a zoological enigma.  Carting their repast home, Murph had suggested some minor alterations to 2010’s Holy Week. Continue reading

Parked

My travels today found Mom and me in search for water-proof fleece, rain coats, and other camping essentials for Kevin’s end-of-year school trip. Inspired by the beautiful weather, thoughts of a pleasant drive, and absolute necessity for the items by tomorrow morning, we drove off to the local L.L. Bean store for some much needed shopping.

Now Mom and I possess two different philosophies in terms of parking our car:

My philosophy:

  1. Locate the first available parking spot, preferably as far away from other vehicles.
  2. Pull into spot.
  3. Put car in park and remove key from ignition.
  4. Hike the two miles to your destination (Frankly I need the exercise, and we all should try to walk more)

Mom’s philosophy:

  1. Drive around through the maze of parked cars for the closest spot possible.
  2. If you pass more than ten parked cars, you have gone too far.
  3. If no parking spots are available, continue circling the parking lot like vultures until someone leaves.
  4. Upon finding a spot extremely close in proximity to your destination, pull in.
  5. Put car in park DO NOT TURN OFF IGNITION
  6. Look about you and wait twenty minutes, if you see anyone pulling out of a parking spot closer to the mall, quickly leave the secured spot and jump to the closer one.
  7. Repeat until parked adjacent to handicapped spots. Then if the mall is not closed, shop.

Honestly — with only a little exaggeration — Mom loves to capture that “close” spot. It’s the competitive streak in her, that blood-thirsty Celtic-warrior stare that melds onto her face whenever we play volleyball or softball. A trait we ironically share as years of video gaming have unearthed the battle-lust in my genes as well (particularly at Mario Kart and Tekken). Losing to Dasad’s Ryu in Street Fighter, usually prompts hours of intense training afterwards and a few hurried matches with my younger less battle-hardened cousins. The fact that few of them have played the game before or even know what buttons to push, bite, or gum is inconsequential at this point. I simply need the victory, the knockout, that cybernetic affirmation that I am still a man.

Yet when it comes to parking, I simply do not possess my mother’s patience. No sooner would I pull into a parking spot ten rows from the entrance to Nordstroms, then a Honda begins pulling out several rows ahead and Mom would shoot me that expectant disappointed look, suggesting “We could have parked closer if we hadn’t rushed.” Yes and we could, losing gas and shopping time in the process. However I do not say this. One thing I have learned in all my years of parking and gaming, sometimes the best victory demands a timely retreat. And no dishonor can be found in yielding to the chidings of your mother from time to time. Indeed it is good for them to vent now and again. Our two miles walks to the mall are rarely silent.

“Ooh . . . Murph, honey, you missed that spot. If I sat down here so that no other cars could enter, and you ran back to the car . . .”

“Come on, Mom . . .” I sigh, promising to grab myself and her a large mall-bought fruitshake before the afternoon ends. After all we need something to sustain us for the long hike back to the car . . .