Grown-Ass Man December 25, 2017
Today it is a quiet, snow-dusted Christmas in the Pacific Northwest. Last night a good friend came over and we sat in the hot tub as the snow fell on us, then ate a home-cooked meal and sat in front of the wood stove catching up and trading healing techniques and stories. Today I have off, so that’s good.
Yesterday, I went to an Alanon meeting because I like to fix people. I rarely want to leave them alone in their misery. Whether or not they ask for my help. So today I come to you with a problem I’ve never had before, although others have struggled with it for decades. There’s a man sitting ten feet away from me in the living room of this temporarily rented house , a grown man of six feet and probably 280 lbs with three kids and a can’t wait to be ex-wife, and he’s playing violent video games. Worse, he’s playing them out loud with a friend on the phone.
“Yeah, I’ve got an Uzi and a six-millimeter. Don’t worry, I had a few energy drinks.” When I tried to talk to him earlier, he chatted for a minute and then said, “I’m putting the headphones back on; I need to be able to listen for footsteps.”
Dude, your wife is leaving you, you’re unemployed and somewhat broke, and a good hundred pounds overweight. Is this really what you want to do with your time? Even if all of that is ok with you, the state of this country right now, and you can’t think of anything better to do than vape weed and play teenaged games of killing whoever you can? I walk over to that side of the room now and again and see the dead bodies laying on the screen, I see his avatar of the fit soldier standing over them. He looks nothing like that.
He is chuckling now about being killed. I guess that’s better than being upset. “Kill the fucker on the bike. “ The conversation is killing me. As a practicing reader and empath, I don’t really want to live with someone who is actively and for hours imagining himself mowing people down with Uzis. He is the textbook caricature of the man who eventually picks up an Uzi because he makes no money and the wife and kids are gone. Except that his wife lets him see the kids, in fact depends on him for childcare, so I feel confident I won’t be killed in my sleep between now and June. Still, the mental contructs of murder flying around the house are not entertaining. Nor am I amused that this is the most animated I’ve seen him.
Mind you, until recently, what I did for fun and escape was watch cop shows about murder and solving cases. I ask myself what’s different about that. Here’s my answer: I spend the hour of the show identifying with the District Attorney or the detective, who are ostensibly trying their very hardest to protect the innocent. Not with the fellow who is running around trying to kill everyone.
If your best response to the state the world or your life is in right now is to spend money you barely have to use electricity and take up spaced fantasizing about being a soldier when you couldn’t make a ten mile hike with 50 pounds on your back if your life depended on it, I have no respect for you. Get up out of the chair and do something befitting an adult, not a child, and maybe your wife will want you back.
Ok, off to Alanon where they will scold me in a properly oblique fashion about my judgementalness and detachment and minding my own business.
But I swear I’d be so happy if video games were just outlawed. I am old enough to remember when pinball machines were the ticket; I spent hours on them. For one thing, you had to stand. And there were physical little metal balls, we weren’t playing with widgets. I remember when Pong arrived; it was fun for a while and then I went back to pinball. I remember when Pac-Man arrived. I spent hours on it avoiding a crucial decision and crucial work in my life. As I recall, it taught me way less than the hours and years I spent avoiding that same work in the drug life of the streets. I am more ashamed of those hours on Pac-Man as being completely soul-deadening. Running the streets doing drugs at least has you interacting with actual people.