This is a tale of a young lad whose life was so mired in boredom that he was oft heard bemoaning to his parents that he had “nothing to do.” To their defense, the parents in question had provided the boy with several trips to Europe, summer camps, ski trips, sports galore and even purchased a Wii so that he wouldn’t feel inferior to the other children. Alas, to their dismay, apparently the only remedy to the boy’s malaise was something called a PS3 and a specific game called Call of Duty. Without the PS3 and Call of Duty combination the boy feared he would continue to “have nothing to do” and perhaps even be shunned by the other children, who now spent their time slagging the Wii, while playing Call of Duty on the PS3. (Evidently, the Wii owners in the boy’s class were no better than lepers with their stone age technology and uncoolness.) The boy’s father tried to be helpful by recounting that when he was a lad, all the other children had Atari and Coleco Vision, while he was stuck with a Radio Shack knock off that only played knock off games such as Pic Man. The boy declared that this information was not helpful because he was talking about games from this century.
Suffice it to say, on Christmas morning 2012, after a near divorce level argument between Santa and Mrs. Santa, the PS3 and accompanying Call of Duty arrived under the tree. The boy was, of course, elated. Every available hour was dutifully spent gunning down baddies, lobbing grenades and causing general mayhem for the other gamers. Bliss to an eleven year old boy. This pattern was only interrupted by school, sleeping, eating, and the occasional piece of homework dashed off in haste to get back to the massacre. Sporting events were attended under duress to the point where the parents thought that measures would have to be taken.
And then one day, out of the blue, measures seemed to materialize on their own free will. The boy came home from school and instead of rushing downstairs to the beloved PS3, he went to his iPod and began pecking away. His father, in disbelief and not wanting to disturb this strange occurrence, watched from nearby. Eventually, the boy’s mother came home.
“What’s going on boys?” she asked
“Shhhhhh!” said the father.
This elicited a raised eyebrow from the mother, which is a warning sign that if provoked any farther, matters could quickly spiral out of control to the death stare.
“Sorry.” The father whispered.
“But…look. He came right in and started doing something on the iPod. I think it’s like texting.”
The boy immediately snapped his head up.
“It’s iMessaging. Free between iPods.” He said, before resuming his activity.
“So…who are you texting?” The father asked.
“My friends,” Was the only information forthcoming.
And so endeth the conversation.
Day after day for nearly a week, the iMessaging persisted, becoming the favourite after school activity, while the PS3 collected dust. Texts were flying fast and furious and then one day a photo showed up as the background image of the iPod.
“If you’re wondering why there is a picture of a girl on my iPod, it’s because I said the first person to like my Instagram got their picture displayed for two weeks,” the boy said, as though the parents would understand what in the name of Steve Jobs he was talking about.
“We weren’t wondering.” The mother said, the archetype of calm.
As if this wasn’t enough, things were about to get stranger when the boy announced that he was interested in going roller skating on a Friday night. The parents, in full support of anything not video game related, were enthused.
“So…who’s going to be there?” they inquired.
“Oh…Randy, Zach, Terry….Nicole.”
The father’s brow furrowed as he glanced to the mother who was smirking as though this was funny.
“Okay…we’ll drive you.” Said the mother.
“I hope they’re not still playing Hall and Oates over there.” Said the father.
Later that evening, the parents conferred.
“Okay, when we drop them off we can corral them and sort this out. I’m going to get a look at this Jezebel,” said the father.
“We’ll do nothing of the sort,” said the mother.
“We’ll drop him off and sneak back early and then we can spy a bit.” She suggested with a wink.
And so, from fifty yards away in the dimness of the roller rink lit only by an ancient disco ball, several females were spotted cavorting with the boy and his group of friends. The girls were all elbows and knees, looking even ganglier with two inches of roller blades under them. The boys jostled with each other, pushing and shoving in various acts of bravado, none of them tall enough to look any of the girls in the eye. In the age old tradition of pre-pubescent courtship, the boy demonstrated a sure sign of affection by stealing an object from one of the girls, in this case a cel phone. He then raced around the rink at top speed, thereby demonstrating his athletic ability and vigor. The phone was returned after a lap, presented to the young lady as though it were a piece of game he had just hunted down on the Serengeti. Apparently the evening was a success.
The very next day, the boy announced he needed a haircut, the sweeping shag to be replaced by a sort of hybrid faux hawk.
“And I need some more Axe deodorant. The spray kind.” Said the boy.
“You know, spraying axe all over yourself doesn’t mean you don’t have to take a shower.” The boy’s father suggested.
“And if you’re going to be putting gunk in your hair, you actually have to use shampoo.” He added for good measure.
Soon after, the boy confessed to the mother that he did in fact have a girlfriend. This was sworn to secrecy from the father lest he either a) go berserk, or b) tease the boy mercilessly. The mother remained calm in the face of this revelation and stated the he was eleven after all, and girls were going to play a larger part of his life.
That is how, in the space of a week, the boy was magically transformed from a video gaming, couch potato, trapped in a darkened basement lair, to a suave, roller skating fellow with a haircut worthy of any English premier league soccer player. The parent’s only concern remains that he overcome the smell of axe deodorant mingling with body odour.