Before my time, but I inherited all this stuff from my older brother and sister. I had the microscope, the chemistry set, and oh man, did I have Erector sets. These are commercials strung together, so they’re full of marketing pitches. Let me clue you in. They didn’t begin to describe the awesomeness of these toys.
Don’t even get me started on the lamentations of the women.
If you were really poor, and really Old Skool, you played Battleship with graph paper and a pencil. We did when we were kids. I remember when we got the actual item, the cheap plastic clamshells with a zillion pegs to lose inside. It was glorious.
Play is the school of rules. Games should teach you something. If nothing else, how to be a gracious victor, or an affable loser. But Battleship was a lot more than that. Battleship was a logic game. It taught you to test, verify, and test again. On defense, it taught you to be cagey. It encouraged a kind of understanding of another person’s mind. What would your little brother do with his ships, if he were in your place? My little brother would eat them, but he’s a bad example. You’d put yourself in another person’s mind, to imagine how they would guess at your ship placement. Then you’d put them somewhere else. Your opponent would do the same. It was fun, and frustrating, which is often the same thing when you’re truly engaged in a game or sport.
Then there was the neighbor kid that stuck all his ships in the middle of the board, all touching each other. He didn’t have any strategy, and didn’t care what yours was. He’d just guess, and his guessing was better than your strategy. Once he had you, you were done, because subterfuge doesn’t work on people that don’t use it on their end.
Napoleon would make that guy a general, and you a clerk. Lucky is better than smart. Luck is a kind of smart.
Even nerds become dads at some point. After a while they have to put down the vidya games and anime long enough to procreate. It’s rare, I know, but it happens. They have the same emotions and needs as functioning humans, so try to be nice. We all have dreams of saving the princess from an awful fate at the hands of a warty, disfigured villain, taking her back to our castle and jumping her bones ad infinitum. I just prefer to do it in real life and with less Latin.
But when nerd love does happen it’s a beautiful thing. The sight of two sweaty, nervous, zitty basement dwellers fawning over each other while reading Klingon poetry brings a tear to my eye. It causes such an explosion of emotions inside me I feel obliged to go kick sand in their faces. It’s the natural order of things.
(Many thanks to Gerard at American Digest for shooting this our way)
In our mind’s eye, it was always like this. We’d mouth the pew pew sounds and cries of happy agony as the little green fellows fell over. We’d advance and retreat over the carpeted ground, or perhaps over the hardwood steppes. Snipers using rubber bands would take out the unwary lieutenant, always motioning: Onward!