Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I'm A Lot Younger Than I Talk

I often forget my age. It's true. I pride myself on my age forgetfulness. It doesn't mean that much to me because I rarely act my age. My kids love it and my wife often says that she has three kids to take care of - me being the third kid. It's a luxury and I'm lucky to have a wife that puts up with it.

But this morning all that went out the window. I traded in my kids shoes for some crusty, old wingtips.

I was finishing up my workout this morning and I was in the locker room of the YMCA. I point out that it's the YMCA, because the clientel there usually skews a lot older - not that there's anything wrong with that. But an older gentleman was in a conversation with another about kids and video games. Specifically a story about a kid who killed his parents because they cut him off of his video games. I have no idea if this story is true or not, but it was interesting enough to me for me to butt myself in and give my two cents. And here they are. I told them that my problem with kids and video games is that it stifles creativity. That it does everything for them. Because of video games, kids don't make anything up anymore. Okay, if I would have left the conversation right there and been on my merry way, that would have been fine. But I didn't. I'm not one for subtlety. I continued about a story where I used to visit my Grandmother in Avoca, Iowa. She lived in a small house on a small little stamp of land. She didn't have TV. She didn't have board games. All I remember her having was a box full of random things. A door knob. And a plug. And a fuse. And a battery. And nuts and bolts. And when I would visit, I would dump that box out and create entire worlds with all that stuff. I made it fun by being creative.

I told that story and suddenly I was the oldest man in the locker room. I was the guy who crawled up hill both ways in seven feet of snow to get to school. As I was telling the story, my inner child was trying to pull all the words back into my mouth as they vomited out of my head. But it was too late. I had won the one-upmanship old guy award and I feel shameful. And what's worse, it's all kind of bullshit. Not the story, but it doesn't necessarily describe me.

Here's the truth.

Truth #1: I played a lot of video games in my childhood. A lot. Channel F (if you know anything about this console, you're obscure as hell). Atari. Coleco. Intellivision. I loved them. All of them. And I'm now a Creative Director in an advertising agency. So one might argue that the video games obviously didn't hurt my creative side. Or maybe it did and I'm still fooling everyone.

Truth #2: I still love video games. I play them often. On my computer. My iPhone. PS3. Wii. You got it, I'll play it.

Truth #3. My son loves video games. But my son also loves soccer. And baseball. And basketball. And riding his scooter. And collecting baseball cards. He plays a lot of video games, but he also does a lot of other things, too.

So why am I writing all this? I guess to confess. To cleanse myself of my old ways which were shamefully on display this morning.

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