A Lesson for Life

Trips to the arcade are frequent in my life. As a matter of fact they are legion. Ok. I am a game addict and proud of it. But you have to have a sense of humor about it or it becomes a dangerous obsession like anything else you crave all the time. Gaming is social when you are out; at home it is a pleasure. I like the whimsy of it, of course, and the clever and creative continual innovations that appear with regularity. I think, however, that the process of playing games is deeply rooted in my psyche and not just a particular group of them.

When all is said and done, the art of gaming is a gift. You have to use it or lose it. It’s your attitude going in and coming out (win or lose). It could be at the adolescent level or gambling for real money stakes. I love the unknown, the temptation of risk, and the joy of conquest.

There are other joys to behold. One is friendship. I have a story that revolves around this subject and a common backpack. Sounds mundane, but it isn’t. I loaned my brand new laptop backpack to a close friend who lost it within days. This can happen, but oddly enough I didn’t get a replacement. It was someone pricey and very little used, so I was peeved. In spite of my nature, I didn’t want to play games and told him outright about it. Not much of a reaction, however.

A few weeks later, nothing. The friendship was on shaky ground. If it weren’t for a gaming tournament, I probably wouldn’t have seen him at all (by my choice). It really wasn’t about the money but the thoughtlessness. Guys aren’t that sensitive, but this wasn’t an old pair of sneakers or a borrowed DVD. It was a nice out-of-the-package item I was really looking forward to using to tote my laptop in style and indulge in my favorite games at will. I did have an old one, worn and tired, that had felt the strain of my hobby (or avocation) for years.
Right before my birthday some months later, my friend invited me out for a drink. We used to do this every so often so I didn’t give it much thought. We tossed back a few beers, discussed a new interactive game, and in general were having a pretty good time. Around 11:00 pm, he pulled out a paper bag from beneath his chair and handed it to me with a grin. I opened it with enthusiasm but didn’t really know its contents until a brand spanking new backpack emerged from the tissue paper covering.

I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was. I had assumed that he had forgotten and that he was even darn rude. He explained that this special model was one that he’d backed on Kickstarter and had just arrived in time for my big day. I was nonplussed…and thrilled. I truly gained back my friend with a new standing in my estimation, a replacement top-of-the-line backpack, and a lesson for life.