Wherein Video Games Consume My Life (Again)

Pardon my absence.

I don’t really have any good excuse.

I’ve been playing video games, lying on my bed, in my room for untold hours a day.

Well that and trying to find a job.

“Come back in 3 months when you’re really pathetic.” seemed to be the message of the people in my alma mater’s career development, who very nicely told me to “keep looking, keep positive and talk to everyone you know.”

We stared down my resume together in the career office as I looked down the list of internships marking off mentally why I wouldn’t be calling them for jobs.

1. Only worked three days where no one liked me.

Check.

2. Laid off (with rest of interns, to be fair) and then when asked for feedback was told “Stop smelling so bad”.

Check.

3. Had the director call me on the phone leaving angry voicemails about my inability to properly pack boxes.

Check.

4. Director was sleeping with real estate agent of place we were squatting illegally and job was suspended for a week to put up leaflets about her missing dog.

Super check–that may be the worst one.

“Be positive.” The nice woman told me. “Just let them know where you are in the world. You may think they might not like you, but hey, it’s been years. Who knows what they think now?”

***

“So what are you doing now?”

A family friend had been instructed to “reach out to me” to talk about life in the entertainment industry.

“Well, I graduated college about a week ago.” I responded.

“Ah,” He interjected. “Go no further. I know what you’re doing. Sitting on your couch and getting drunk at 2pm. Don’t worry, man. I was there.”

And that seems to be the expectation of me, generally speaking.

Less of “Why-don’t -you-get-a-job?” and more like “Well-you’re-fucked-in-this-economy-anyway-oh-look-at-the-time-ttyl.”

But this sort of attitutde is dangerous, because it seems like the less-and-less structured time I have, the more I devolve in to the last known state of unstructured free time I ever had: childhood.

***

“But do they ever actually eat pizza?” Rob asked me.

We had settled down in his lunch break, editing a cooking show for bachelors/Jews, to watching the opening of “Samurai Pizza Cats” just for me to prove to Rob they were real.

“But I don’t get it.” Rob told me. “I get the reference to TMNT, but do they actually eat pizza?”

“Well, uh, yeah.” I countered. “Didn’t you see it in the intro? They were eating pizzas, like at the end there.”

“No.” Rob responded with a sigh. “They were not eating pizzas. They were getting them ready to be delivered.”

“Well, I think I remember them eating pizzas.”

“Nick,” Rob turned to me. “They’re cats.”

“Samurai Pizza Cats.” I reminded him.

“Cats.” Rob continued. “All they eat in the intro are fish. Because they’re cats. Cats don’t eat pizza.”

I was less certain.

“But they’re Pizza Cats.” I offered.

Rob sighed, unwilling to take on this sort of folly.

I sat back a bit.

“Let’s go to Muppet Babies.” Rob offered, conciliatory.

I obliged and we watched that into on YouTube.

“Hey!” Rob declared. “Isn’t that scene from Ghostbusters?”

“I bet they owed Jim Henson favors.” I offered.

“Probably blow.” Rob offered up and gave his beard a scratch, a beard he hadn’t shaved despite 82-degree weather.

“Hey, one of the commenters thought Miss Piggy was saying ‘just close your eyes and beat your meat and you can be anywhere.”

“Actually that’s pretty disturbing.” Rob pointed out.

An awkward silence.

More beard-scratching.

We ran the gamut in that room, going next to Warner Brothers and skipping some worthy Nickelodeon, but not before checking over the worthy DuckTales and the inter-related Darkwing Duck.

This prompted more conversation.

“So what was Scrooge Duck’s relationship to Donald Duck?” Rob asked. “And was Donald Duck also Darkwing Duck.”

“No, fuck no.” I told him. “Look, Darkwing Duck doesn’t even look like Donald. And Scrooge is Donald’s Uncle. Ditto those little ducks from the show.”

We kept watching.

“Can you believe they actually made a show called Chip and Dale, Rescue Rangers?” I asked. “They’re fucking chipmunks.”

“What the fuck are they supposed to do? Eat nuts and get rabies? And then eventually get run over by some hick on a service road?”

“Ch-Ch-Ch-Chip and Dale! Rescue Range-as!” Rob offered, with an olympics-style fist-raise.

From there, it was the usual stuff we’d seen before: Tiny Toon Adventures, to Animaniacs to eventual spinoffs Pinky and the Brain and Freakazoid!

“I used to want to be that dude from Freakazoid.” I said. “‘Nerd computer-case.’ I think it was because he was funny and got off-putting girls.”

“That or a brilliant marketing strategy.” Rob replied. “I used to watch Histeria.”

“What”

“Histeria. History show.”

I had forgotten, but when we stumbled on it on YouTube, it came back.

I remember it as a late-coming show, probably the last one on before the weird sports-programming came on Saturday mornings. It wasn’t bad, another Animaniacs spin-off, though the rest were Spielberg related and this wasn’t.

“I think these shows might be the best things Spielberg ever did.” I said.

Saving Private Ryan? The Color Purple? Jaws?” Rob listed.

“Lame.” I said. “This had more effect on us than any of those shit-holes.”

A pause to reflect on our childhood.

“Now kids are watching Hannah Montana at their age.” Rob said, considering beardily.

“They must be getting very confused. Which one’s Hannah and which one’s Montana.”

“Word.” I replied.

“You know what really killed this shit.” I said. “Pokemon.”

“Yeah, it did.” Rob conceded. “Fucking Pokemon.”

Anime’s popularization did signal the end of great-humored shows by Warner Brothers, shifting the playing field to Japanese imports or to ahows which seemed like them, shows with a lot of action like Static Shock or The Batman.

“Must be why this generation’s so damn dumb.” I offerd, but by that time I fet old and codgery and it was time for Rob to start editing and any attempts at cajoling or beard-stroking were met with vicious swats and groans and finally I went back, back, the end of my day.

***

It’s a little ironic I named this post after video games.

In reality, I did spend more time playing them yesterday than talking with Rob or Career Development.

But there’s just less to talk about.

Video games are like a black hole for time; your creativity and energy shuts off; they eventually even pervade your dreams.

This is why they are great as a way to unwind and poor as a way to spend unstructured time; because it disappears before you know it.

But I’m not in it for the long haul; a shut-in like those people in Japan who become agoraphobic playing MMORPGs prefering the world of the interior to the metropolis without.

I’m just trying to find some other way to sink my time.

Or to not regress past 7.

That’s when I watched Power Rangers.

Ig.

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