Fast forward four years. I’m playing games with my girls—who are capable toddlers by now. I can’t remember if it was checkers or basketball on the Li’l Tikes hoop—but my oldest gets mad, “‘Cause Daddy won’t lemme win!”
“Just bring your ‘A’ game—girl!”
Fast forward a little. They’re not toddlers and it’s not checkers anymore. It’s Mario Kart—and I’m feeling good. I am the generation who grew up on what has evolved into “The Gaming Industry.” I remember pinball, the arcade, Pong, Atari, Pac-Man, Nintendo, Donkey Kong, the Sega Genesis, and the Play Station. You, Mr. Wii, are merely a dumbed-down—albeit more glamorous—version of all your oft-conquered predecessors. You will be no match for the digital coordination I honed as a child of the eighties and nineties—and I still have the thumb-callouses to prove it.
Let me begin by saying Mario Kart is a lot harder than it looks, and those girls are smarter and meaner than they look. They giggle, toss their hair, and smile a lot—but underneath the perfume and ponytails lie caged animals ready to pounce on their next victim. We tried track, after track, after track. The results were always the same: Katelynn and Kirsten—first and second, and Dad—12th. Twelfth really isn’t that bad, until the sassy senoritas point out that twelfth is last and you can “finish twelfth without even holding the Wii remote.”
I’m a man—and these are girls. I won’t stand for that disrespectful and sarcastic tone. Obviously, they learned this type of trash-talking from their mother. I vowed to speak to her later—much later. It’s time to man-up. And I did what any man who just lost to the Olsen Twins would do—I went primitive and opted for raw violence. “Who wants to box on the Wii? What—no takers?” I felt rather confident that my role as the leader of this pride would go uncontested.
“I’ll box you!” The quiet, middle daughter mocked.
“Bring it!” I thundered.
“You’re goin’ down!” she returned.
“You want some of this?” I baited.
“Oh yeah—I do!” she saw and raised.
I was merciless. I beat that Wii-likeness of Kirsten with wild abandon. But she kept getting up. The first round ended with the calm assurance that the second round was ill-fated for a similar conclusion. My prediction came true—in an ironic sort of way.
I beat down an 8 year-old girl in the first round. I sent Polly Pocket to the mat twice. But when the bell for the second round started, Muhammed Ali came out of the corner. I landed two punches and took the next thirty in both eyes, on the chin, and right in the nose. I was down but not out.
“It’s time to play for real!” I warned her.
“Good!” she assured me.
After a left-right-right-left—followed by an ungodly uppercut—I was down and out. When the referee counted to ten, four girls were screaming. I was not a happy camper.
“You girls are mean—beating up on an old man like that! Do you think Jesus likes all of this violence and hatred?” I pressed and appealed to their gentler side.
“Just bring your ‘A’ game next time!” they mocked.
Touché my young padawans.