The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get used to the latter.
EPISODE ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY FIVE: GET OFF THE GRID!!!
I can enjoy society in a room: but out of doors, nature is company enough for me.
– William Hazlitt
I remember when the Atari 2600 came out. Just like a lot of kids my age, I wanted it so bad. I talked about it, over and over, to my parents. I begged for it for Christmas.
The first Christmas that it came out, everybody I knew got it.
But I didn’t.
A year goes by and I begged for it again. I wanted it even more. I would go to my friends and they would have it and we would play and play. I couldn’t get enough. I wanted to spend hours in my room playing Space Invaders and Asteroids, racking up points and bragging rights to my friends.
And on that Christmas morning, I got it! I got my Atari 2600!!!
I was so happy. I hugged my mom and dad, gave a nod to the horizon to the direction toward The North Pole and to the big man in red, and ran for my room. After a few minutes of figuring out how to hook it up to my TV, I turned it on. I can still remember the sounds and the butterflies I got when I heard it. I plugged in Space Invaders, grabbed the joystick, and plopped down in my bean bag chair and got ready to play.
As I started, I figured I had put it on some hard level. I couldn’t see any of the space invaders hovering above my laser cannon. I checked the TV, fiddled around with the toner and vertical hold, every button or thumbwheel my TV had, I moved and changed. A sudden realization came to me.
My Atari was screwed up. The thing I had wanted for over a year was malfunctioning.
Now, even as a kid, I wanted to make sure I did everything I knew how to do to fix something before I asked for advice or help. I unplugged the Atari and took it downstairs to the TV in the den. I knew this TV was tip-top since it was the one I watched the most. I plugged it up and… the same thing. My fears were confirmed. My Atari was screwed up. I finally hung my head and went to my dad to tell him. He checked it out and adjusted all the controls on the TV in the den and then, taking back to my room and plugging it up, it adjusted all the controls on my TV.
I asked him if we could get another one but he refused. I had to play it as it was. Thinking back, I think he got it on sale or it was used. I didn’t understand it then but we honestly couldn’t afford an Atari. It was expensive, even then.
But, I didn’t know that then.
I didn’t get mad or upset. I just played it as best as I could. No matter what game I bought, only half of the things could be seen on the screen.
And the urge to play it decreased over time. I mean, it was hard to play Pac-Man when you couldn’t see the ghosts. At all.
Then, it started to collect dust and about three years later, I sold it in a yard sale. Fro how much, I don’t remember. I went back to playing outside or with my GI Joes or reading my books or comics.
And you know what?
Looking back, I’m so glad. SO GLAD!!!
If it had worked correctly, I would have got addicted to it. Trust me, I would have. And less time would have been used to read and imagine. And the idea that I could make up my own stories, my own WORLDS, might not have happened.
How do you know, you ask.
As time has wen ton, I have found myself with different video game consoles. A Nintendo, a Gameboy, a Playstation One, Two, and Three. I have played different games on them I enjoy it. I don’t think anything is wrong with playing video games.
But I have found myself playing and time has slipped away from me. A few minutes has turned into hours. And I find myself not wanting to stop, even when my eyes and my head hurts and I have to use the bathroom in a big, bad way.
I don’t want to stop.
But… that’s when I hit save and turn off the console, then, usually, running to the bathroom.
I have found that I have a gene that causes me to be addicted to things. It’s the same way with alcohol. I have had some scary moments with it and I tend not to drink but very sparingly. Last year (the year of 2019), I had about six beers… ALL YEAR. I limit myself because I know that it could be something I could latch onto and not stop.
Video games are in the same club when it comes to me.
I think back at when I accepted that my Atari was screwed up and there were moments I couldn’t even stand to look at it. I’m so glad that it happened. I found myself using my imagination much more than I think I would have if it had worked correctly.
Just like beer, video games only take up a few hours of my life every year. I get in the mood and I’ll play some. It’s usually going on an adventure with Lara Croft or swinging around Gotham with Batman but that’s it. And when I get tired, I save my game and turn it off. Maybe one day (or next year), I’ll continue it.
Until then, I’ll stay in the real world, my world, and see things that most don’t see.
-Loyd Elmore Jr
September 25th, 2020
I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else but it might help me.