nOObs and Boobs

I’ve never been good with video games. To me, a guitar hero is someone who stops a 17-year-old from playing “Stairway to Heaven” in a music store. My limited expertise with electronic entertainment ended right after they quit making the Commodore 64 and the Infocom text games. How I loved those! No graphics, no buttons, just a long night of attempting to figure out puzzles and type in the right sentences so you can advance. You could have conversations with the computer that made absolutely no sense, and enjoy doing it for hours on end. It was a lot like Twitter, actually.

Computer: You see a man on a floor buffer in the hallway.

Me: I do? Am I drunk?

Computer: He’s getting closer.

Me: Is he married? How much does he make a year? How’s my breath?

Computer: He was a follower of Cthulhu. He just killed you.

Me: Rats. And he seemed like ‘the one.’

When Mario Kart came along, my friend Mike assured me it was an easy game to learn.

“You can’t mess this up,” he said with a confident smile. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that my powers of messing up are truly cataclysmic in nature. There are rumors that the Tunguska Event happened because I tried to toast some marshmallows on a campfire.

Nevertheless, he turned the game on and handed me a controller, after slowly explaining how it worked. After I picked Mario to be my driver, we were off. It only took him a few seconds to realize that something was amiss.

“Where are you going?” he asked. “I’ve never even seen that part of the course.”

“Don’t ask me,” I shouted, twisting and grabbing the controller like I was trying to bathe a cat. “It’s not me, I think it’s Mario. Did anyone check to see if he had a valid driver’s license in this game?”

My kart zipped across the track and off into the dirt.

“You’re going backwards! Turn around!”

“I did turn around!”

“No, the other way!”

I passed the START flag, did a little four-wheeling through the desert, crashed into a monkey, and landed in a tunnel facing the wall.

“What’s that hand signal Mario’s flashing at me?”

Mike stared at the TV screen. “Huh, I didn’t know he had fingers. Guess he only needed one, really.”

I had played Dungeons & Dragons a few times in high school. I was a chaotic good elf, and when my unicorn was killed in battle (darn troll) I wrote a touching poem in its memory. The other players, all guys, listened intently. I suspect no one complained because I had boobs. At least, I was the only one who was supposed to have boobs. So when EverQuest came out, I felt right at home up until the minute I logged in. I was hopelessly lost, and typing in all caps “I HAVE BOOBS” gained no attention, unless I wanted to play To Catch A Predator: The Home Game.

It seemed that games were simply out of my reach; recently I watched kids playing the Playstation 3 demo unit at Walmart, and wondered when the new generation started mutating and growing extra thumbs. I’m pretty sure I saw one kid using a tail, too. But then I moved on to the Wii console. Simple. Elegant. I could imagine myself playing tennis or golf, gracefully swinging into high scores and better fitness. Before I plunked down several hundred dollars, I borrowed a unit from a friend. The grace factor went out the window in approximately the same time it took to piss off Mario.

I was working up a good sweat with Wii tennis when Mom called, and I was still breathing hard when I picked up.

“Hey Mom. I was just trying to Wii.”

“Honey, you shouldn’t strain yourself. Get some cranberry juice.”

I sighed and hung up. I thought the Wii would save me a gym membership, but after replacing two lamps and a vase plus donating to PETA because the cat was traumatized, I realized that the Wii wasn’t that big a value. Besides, if I’m going to sweat that much, I want someone to see me doing it so I can get some workout cred.

Ah well. I did see an old C64 for sale on eBay. Anyone got a copy of “Leather Goddesses of Phobos?”


  1. Loves. Solid, Beth.

    My husband is a ridiculous gamer. As a result, my son wants to play all that Daddy does. When he isn't home, I have no clue how to hook all this stuff up and deemed "useless."

    This is great. Thanks.

  2. Beth, this is a fantastic column that effortlessly goes from start to finish. VERy well done, funny and worthy.

    I still play video games and recently wish I had more thumbs and a tail. ;)

  3. Hilarious! I, er, have the same problem with the Wii, I think it needs a "Mom" setting.

  4. "It was a lot like Twitter, actually." That's funny!

  5. Very good. Very funneh, too. Well done!

  6. Beth - hilarious as always. My husband is an xbox 360 fanatic. He aced Fallout III and has been living in Red Dead Redemption for weeks. Hey, I know where he is and since he can't smoke in the house, it's been the success factor in the great "I'm quitting" program.

    I, on the other hand, am vid deficient. When we were dating, he'd take me to arcades and try and explain how simple it was. Then I'd cheer him on while he played! Love the Twitter analogy as well. That's a game I can play!

  7. Thanks, everyone! This one was a blast to write. I think I dodged a bullet in not succeeding at video games; otherwise, I'd never leave the couch to write, LOL. Terri, Harley, Jason, it does seem that guys have a talent for this that I don't possess. Maybe it has something to do with grabbing a joystick. ;)

  8. Ack! I have to follow this! This is hilarious! *trashes blog post and rolls blank page into monitor*

  9. LMAO! I'm still catching my breath!!!!


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