Car! . . . Game on!


Five bucks to the first person who can name the movie quote.

I'm here today, folks, to talk about an addiction. My usual methods of coping with an addiction are two-fold:
  1. Keep all resources and enablement as far away from me as possible; or
  2. Indulge it.
The first is what I do with cookies and ice cream. Most of the time. The second is what I do with things like theatre, circus, etc., which, though legal, are often more difficult to attain than certain controlled substances. I practice "TYPE 1" coping with a number of things, not the least of which is television. I have no cable service, and a roommate who is okay with that. I've never attached an antenna to my TV. The only thing attached to it is my DVD player, and I'm seriously considering locking my DVDs in a time-sensitive safe that only opens on weekend evenings. This may seem excessive to you, but I assure you, it comes of self-awareness. And it always surprises me when I am praised for my discipline; for anything, really. Because it ain't discipline.

Nosce te ipsum. That's my only "discipline." If I am successful in working out regularly, it has more to do with circumstances that I can manipulate to make it easier for me than it does with any great, internal control. If I am at all impressive in my dedication to pursuing acting, it is as much because I have made my life so it's harder without the theatre, as it is because I feel theatre on a deeper level than some. It's choices, hopefully wise ones. I suppose maybe that's all discipline really is--a series of helpful choices.

My point? I have no point. (Haven't you been reading my 'blog long enough to know that?) But my purpose is to reveal that I have accidentally tripped over TYPE 1 into TYPE 2 on an old addiction. My circumstance became less helpful, I wasn't vigilant enough, and one thing led to another. Thus, I am indulging, once again, in that most insidious addiction:

Games.

More specifically:

Video games.

I know. I know. Therein does not lie the most productive use of my time! In point of fact, it is an astonishingly effective time-sucker. If you play, you know what I mean. You sit to play, maybe an hour, and when you look blearily up from your electronic pursuit, it's dawn. Someone is poking you in the head, making sure you aren't in a reflexive coma. Your survival instinct has been channeled into a screen for half a day, in which time your Mom has called saying she's fallen and she can't get up, and you didn't hear it because you thought it was the aliens firing plasma at your sidekick. The last time I was this plugged-in to the gaming world was when I was about 14, playing a D&D game in the basement (you flew dragons; it was really cool) while listening to Nirvana on my grandfather's single-speaker cassette player.

How did I come to this prepubescent nexus? A variety of factors are involved:
  1. Friend D. Younce started emailing me about a year ago about game theory.
  2. I gave unto myself a chemical epiditymitus (see 12/31/06), rendering me unable to exercise with purpose for months.
  3. Friend Heather loaned me "Catch-22" to read.
  4. Friend Adam got an XBox 360.
  5. Friend Mark started playing "City of Heroes" again, and had my account reactivated so we could play together.
  6. Friend D. Younce got his own "CoH" account and created a character to sidekick my own.
Perhaps you're wondering what Joseph Heller's immortal classic of war-time bureaucracy "Catch-22" has to do with my current plight. Well, I hate it. I am not enjoying it at all. This must be my problem, for it is widely acknowledged as hysterically funny. My feeling is that it excels with great vigor at telling the same joke ad nauseum. War doesn't make sense, and neither do people, and we'll never, ever, stop. I know: It doesn't even have a fart in it. Nevertheless, I am compelled to finish it. I only have 100 more pages to go. One hundred unrelenting pages, just sitting there, getting read four or five pages at a time. But oh, here's that GameBoy Advance dear Megan got me two years ago. So portable. So full of colored light patterns bent on my destruction...

So here I am, visiting Adam way up in Washington Heights to play "Gears of War," coming back home to sit at my laptop to play "City of Heroes," and during the subway ride I make Luke Skywalker my avatar for our journey through the only three Star Wars movies that matter. I am the addicted. I am the damned.

But it will pass (God, please make it pass). Because when all's said and done, I'd much rather be rehearsing a play or bettering my handstand, which is why the guilt. If I were "normal," and had a 9-5 job, and after I paid the bills could afford sections of time to save the virtual world, I doubt I would have this complex. But mine is not the "normal" life, and my "free" time is needed for a variety of pursuits, such as mailing resumes/headshots/cover letters, rehearsing audition pieces, networking and learning at long last how to do a kip-up. Hence: guilt.

But it's not rewardless. Sure, it's easy and artificial and time-consuming, but the game(s) has changed since I started wondering what it would be like to kiss a girl. Last night, for example, I signed on to "CoH" and discovered Youncey online. He lives in NoVa, and I see him maybe twice a year, if I'm lucky. And last night our heroic personae, Peppah (yours truly) and Salt Shakah (his, truly) got their asses whupped together for a couple of hours. Having a reason to see Adam more frequently than whenever the latest kung fu movie comes out is also great, and we end up talking about his stand-up comedy and my commedia dell'arte more than we might otherwise.

So all that remains (when my "discipline" kicks back in) is to sell my GameBoy on eBay. Maybe with the funds I can afford the Cliffs Notes on "Catch-22" . . .
 
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