I confess: I am but one week away from commemorating my 40th year on this planet, and I have yet to ever play The Game of Life. This is not due to some ethical or existential objection to simulating the course of one’s existence upon a square slab of cardboard, but rather due to my friends and I having spent our youthful recreation time with Star Wars toys and kindly ol’ Super Mario. I never got around to playing Candyland either.
As beloved as this board game may be, with its plastic minivans, its cruel cash-drains and generous paydays, buried deep within its roots is a transformative story. The original version of the game, concocted by Mr. Milton Bradley himself, elevated the concept of gaming from prescriptive quests for moral elevation to a more practical and modernized measure of success. More importantly, it came packaged with choice.
The Game of Life as we know it (well, as you probably know it, since I’ve never played the thing) features one early decision: go to school or get a job. After that, each soul is subjected to the whim of the spiteful spinner, suggesting that life is but a cavalcade of random collisions, and that we are always at the mercy of the fickle flick of fate. Mr. Bradley’s outlook on destiny was far more empowering.
Tracing the Bradley lineage would suggest that a rather dreary definition of “life” could have taken center-stage in his outlook. The family tree was planted in America in 1635, and since then its bark shows the hatchet-marks of murder, Indian attack, kidnapping, and at one point hot embers being poured into an infant’s mouth. When Milton finally squeezed his way onto the planet in 1836, the Bradleys were a little less prone to being butchered, but far from being economic titans. Read more…
I have always been an ardent embracer of technology. And technology, for the most part, has reciprocated the hug. I own a device the size of a cassette tape that not only stores thousands of songs, but also enables me to play games, tweet photos of Anthony Weiner’s genetalia to my friends, and receive hilarious texts from GrateJokez every day for the low, low price of only 99 cents per message (today’s entry: “What’s stucco? It’s what happens when you step in bubblegummo.”).
But this morning technology slipped a tiny little dagger of betrayal into my spinal juices. The magnificent article that was meant for today’s web-waves inexplicably disappeared from my USB flash drive, as did everything else on it. This is not the first time one of these storage sticks has executed the Make-Myself-Useless command, but it’s the first such incident to have cost me a well-crafted article.
So the fascinating subject of the Tanganyika laughter epidemic of 1962 will have to wait until I’m once again willing to do the extensive research and make a day-trip to Africa to interview the involved parties. Maybe later today when I’m prepping Day #630. But for now, I’m going to devise a few ways to torture the ever-loving fuck out of this USB stick.
Keep in mind I just want to scare this little bastard. I’m going to get ahold of 16 ½ stories of fishing line and tie it around his pudgy little forgetful frame and toss him out my office window. Then, just a few feet from the pavement (and I’m hoping that there are no exceptionally tall pedestrians on the sidewalk below), he will be spared his grizzly demise.
The chubby jerk is just a little too full-figured to squeeze between the bars on my high-powered fan. A few Jack Bauer-esque minutes with a file and I bet I can get him so close to those whirling blades it’ll make his memory return in a flash (pun regrettable, but intended). If that doesn’t work, I still have a number of evil machinations to machinate. Read more…