Video games or drugs? Drugs or video games? I currently live in a house with two kids, one of which is a 13 year old boy that loves his Xbox. His room is situated very closely to mine. There are many times where I daydream about killing myself because that’s the only way to get the noise of the Xbox out of my head. No, the games don’t make too much noise. No. It’s the boy. The boy has a “headset” that allows him to talk to people inside the game. Other friends, random people from around the world.
For whatever reason, Xbox-players don’t speak like us. As far as I can tell, in Xboxland, it’s all about the anal raping of the other players’ mothers. “You fucking bitch, I’m gonna detonate a pipe bomb inside your dog’s asshole!” This is how the boy talks to people when he’s playing these goddamn games. Quietly, you ask? Fuck no. He screams at the top of his lungs. Sometimes it sounds like he’s crying. As if he’s being beaten and humiliated by a special team of tactical Nazi psychologists. “Oh you motherfucker! Owwwwww! I fucking hate you, you cocksucking faggot!” This is how the boy talks to the television screen. In his room, by himself, at 11pm.
When I was 13, I was in the woods. Smoking weed and drinking beer and lighting shit on fire with my friends. And you know what? Even that seems healthier than locking myself in a room to yell at the TV. Yelling at the TV because a small Mexican boy, that I have never met and will never meet, sabotaged my attempted embassy bombing (or whatever the fuck they blow up in video games nowadays). It’s fucking weird. I know this makes me sound old as shit, but I really just don’t get it.
At least when I was 13 and stoned, I only cursed at my friends in Pg-13 language. “You bastard! Stop bogarting the joint, man.” The worst it ever got was, “Fuck you, dude. I wanna listen to Dark Side first and then The Wall later on.” There was never any of this, “pass me that lighter or I’m gonna go sodomize your whole family with this six-pack of Bud Lite.”
And when we were violent as teenagers, it was usually just fighting each other with sticks. At worst, we’d go to a jock’s house and tell him we were gonna beat him up. But we never did it. We stayed in the woods or at the beaches or in the streets or in abandoned houses. We got high and broke chandeliers and talked about the futility of it all.
But there was real, human-to-human time. We couldn’t wait to leave our houses, even if we were just gonna go sit on the corner with friends. Whatever, it didn’t matter. There was an underlying spirit of adventure to everything we did.
Now, there’s just room-dwelling. Only getting up for three minutes for every four hours of gameplay. To piss (all over the bathroom, for some people), and grab snacks to bring back to the TV. Hour after hour after hour. My fucking lord, it’s gonna be a looooong summer.