Daily Elysium: Gamers With Kids
It's a bit difficult to achieve the Gold Standard; causing thirty-five million dollars worth of damage from a high-speed, nitrous powered, head on collision at a busy intersection is not an easy goal, though it is certainly worthwhile. I mean, sure the mini-vans are nice to use as a launching point, but it's critical to get one semi to jack-knife into another and roll the passing bus. Once you get that, just sit back and rake in the damage points as taxis and company cars shatter against the carnage. Still, even then, twenty, maybe twenty-five million dollars is an average run, way short of that thirty-five million I need for a real sense of accomplishment.
Certis already talked about Burnout 2, so I thought I'd see if he'd borrowed a clue from a neighbor or something and actually knew what he was talking about. As it turns out, his clue lending neighbor is on to something, as Burnout 2 is a visceral game that will leave you chucking maniacally while tumbling vehicles shatter in glass and bent metal. This is, of course, a good thing, or so I normally think. Except, today as I rubbed my hands together and grinned as though determined fishermen were trying to reel in the sides of my mouth while innocent drivers panicked in slow motion carnage, a question again struck me, one that's been troubling my gleefully evil moments lately.What the hell kind of father am I going to be?
As October 7th approaches I find more and more of my time and consciousness consumed with the idea that all too soon a very small, very helpless, lump of flesh that some will try to convince me is a human will be completely dependent on me as one of only two resources it has at its disposal. This is, of course, utterly ridiculous. I don't even have a firm handle on exactly how to keep myself from chronic peril for any significant length of time, and I'm pretty sure the only reason I'm still respirating on a regular basis is because somewhere someone is diligently convincing others not to kill me. If I ever find that person, I fully intend to buy him a beer.
So, it's with some concern that I ponder the question of what to teach a child who, if one believes in nurture over nature, is a blank slate upon which I will scribble. I think for the first few weeks I'll video tape everything I say and do around the baby so Elysia, and possibly a team of psychologists, can analyze the data for any serious errors. So far I've got it on good authority that I shouldn't teach the boy to drive in the first few months of life, that I should not ask him to bring daddy a knife for a good long while, and I shouldn't feed him steak until he at least has a tooth. That's pretty much the extent of my solid parenting knowledge.
Also, some people say I shouldn't teach him to play violent video games.
This could be a problem, because I grew up a child of Warner Brothers cartoons, and if Bugs Bunny taught me anything it's that violence is the funny part. A brief examination of last night's Rainbow Six: Raven Shield game with Certis, Pyro, and I bears this fact out, as we mindlessly completed level after level, mostly talking about the subtle artistry of Buffy: Season Four and Five, until Pyro laid a live grenade at my feet. I like to think my character looked down and his eyeballs popped out in a hilarious awwoooga kind of way. From there on out, the night degenerated into mindless comedy as Certis, Pyro, and I devised rationalizations for killing one another.
I think again: what kind of dad does a man like that become. Shoot your friends, it's fun ... and funny.
I imagine hearing my boy trampling down the hall toward the echoing sounds of carnage drifting from Daddy's Fun Time Room, only to be intercepted by my wife who will say in a patient, and I think disappointed voice, "no no, daddy's playing one of his angry games ... again." She will say that last word 'again' in a very loud and stern voice that is meant to penetrate the reverberating explosions and remind me that, on a basic level, I'm a bad person. It's a troubling vision, but an inevitable one.
Usually, I write an article like this and I have some kind of resolution. The reason for this is partly that I think people like the standard arc of narrative even in their commentary: introduction, conflict, maybe more conflict, a short nap, and resolution. The larger reason is because I like to convince myself that I have all the answers. But, this time, I've got nothing, only a nagging troubling sense that a man who takes such pleasure in the digital carnage of a catapulting SUV or inept counter-terrorists and the grenades they handle, is not fit to explain the world to small impressionable humans.
On the plus side, I painted the nursery a lovely shade of blue this week. It looks quite nice, and I'm pretty sure the paint fumes will help to push my troubles aside. The colors .... how they swirl and swirl.