Friday, August 12, 2011

Because Outside is a big, scary place with stuff like wind and bugs!

1. "I thought you were playing with your friends." "I am."

Um, no you are NOT. You are sitting on your ass in front of a fricking computer screen, wasting your life with some stupid video game. You aren't playing- playing involves moving, and (when you do it right) sweating, heavy breathing, and getting dirty or wet while burning calories. And you aren't "with your friends"- that involves eye contact and the development of basic social skills.

2. Not only are Mom and Dad ok with this, but Mom usurps Son's place in front of this generation's Idiot Box to chat with Son's friend's mom. Way to model great behavior there, Mom. But dad is much, much worse- he's actually in the next room (they can't even be in the same room? It's come to THAT?), armed with one of those stupid headsets (used to convince the user that he's doing something of importance and not behaving like a clueless child,) wondering why he and his Son didn't carry out their plan to "storm the castle."

Gee, "storming the castle" seems like it could be kind of fun- if the castle were a tree house, or a snow fort. Because....

3. We can see that all this non-activity is taking place IN BROAD DAYLIGHT. Nothing new- in many of the "its fun to Do Xfinity" commercials, we see entire families sitting their well-fed rumps down to watch television as sunlight streams through the living room window. When I was a kid, my parents would NEVER allow us to be indoors on beautiful, sunny days (or cloudy, cool days. Or basically any time there wasn't a monsoon or blizzard raging.) That didn't mean that we kids were always active- sometimes I would grab a book off the shelf and head for the woods, where I'd sit under a tree all day, reading. But most of the time, being exiled from the house meant days of riding bicycles, playing hide and seek and tag, and basically using our imaginations to invent games to keep ourselves occupied. Sit inside? Not an option. And I don't recall having a big problem with that.

Nowadays, shutting yourself up in the house in the middle of a beautiful day seems an acceptable alternative to fresh air and sunshine, just as "gaming" (gag) seems an acceptable alternative to actual exercise (gee, I just can't figure out how Obesity became the Epidemic of the First World, can you?)

Ok, so Verizon's got this product that they want to sell us, and there's apparently a big market for their "service," because "the average home has more than four internet-connected devices" (and fewer and fewer socially-connected, functioning human beings, apparently.) But please tell me that "families" like this one are rare in real life. Please tell me that in the real world, it's not common for people to isolate themselves like this, substituting points and clicks for running and jumping. Please tell me that in the real world, we are NOT turning into a nation of fat, pale trolls afraid to emerge from our caves no matter HOW brightly that sun is shining.

I mean, if we are so glued to our houses, why did G-d invent cell phones?


  1. I sent you an email a while ago about that "Lightspan" video game program at my kids' elementary school. So you know how I feel about video games in general!


    I go to the renaissance faire with my 18 year old daughter. We dress up, we talk in awful accents and we have fun doing so. A couple weeks ago, some drunk guy was giving us some grief (he thought we worked there- which usually isn't a problem, but this guy expected us to put on a show or something) and after I explained that not everyone in garb is an employee, he started to walk away and made a comment to his not-as-drunk friends: "These people have no lives!" and the word "nerd" was thrown around.

    I turned around and said something to this effect: "Oh, we have no lives? But, you see, we're outside in the fresh air and sunshine, enjoying a day out with other like-minded people. We're talking to people and making new friends, and enhancing the experience for people who came to the faire to have fun. We've learned some history, we've watched some fantastic shows. And you're drunk at the ren faire. You're paying seven bucks a bottle for beer you can get in a six pack for the same price. If you were at home, you'd still be drunk. And we're the nerds with no life?"

    I did it all without swearing (which my daughter pointed out to me later).

    Also, in five weekends of going to the faire- I've lost twenty pounds and my pain issues are flaring up less.

    And I have no life. ;-)

  2. So- the people dressed up and having fun at the Ren Fest "have no lives" but the guy who paid $20 or more to get in to look at the people who have no lives does?

    I can't wait for the Maryland Ren Fest in a few weeks- have to wear my Plague Doctor costume and hope that I'm still the only one there. I just hope that I don't get more "hey aren't you one of those Spy v. Spy guys from Mad Magazine" comments- from the PAID ENTERTAINERS, no less. Very discouraging.

  3. I think the fine directors at Verizon paint this picture of people substituting a plastic LCD screen for actual proximity. The reality is - people do get out. But the insult is that this insular image from Idiocracy is what the company is hoping we will aim for as justification for making Verizon that much richer. Incidentally, Pahz, that was most impressive.

    The general sense, today, is that we must remain about 14 years old, in a sense: shorts, T-shirts, flip-flops, no daily shaving, using words like 'awesome' and 'cool' to describe almost everything, and a sense of entitlement and unaccountability to round it all off. Cool video game; Awesome.

  4. Nickelodeon used to play a great ad parody. It was for a video game called "actual reality."

    "Feel the wind as you move -- because you're actually outside."

    You can see it here starting at the 6:29 mark.

  5. John.

    I knew we were meant to be together.

    Someday, we will go to faire together and we will enjoy the sunlight and the wind and other like-minded folks. (our faire encourages people to dress up!)

    If you can, I'd appreciate photos of your ren faire, because the above scenario of us going to faire together isn't likely to happen in reality.

    But if it did, think of the grand time we'd have!

  6. As I will soon be saying to another girl I can't be with, sometimes we have to live in the real world.

    And man, does that ever suck!

  7. You know what would be an almost refreshing change to one of these things? Someone telling someone else that, no, we can't put a plasma screen in the washroom just because of our new gizmo. Granted, it'd be Tetchy Wife telling Idiot Dad that but it would be a nice change.