I know you have them in your classes: video game addicts.
When I was eight, my father got us our first (and only) video game console. Still a new phenomenon back 1978, it was so mind-altering and fascinating in its novelty that a game like Pong, with ¼-inch pixels, was considered the apex of excitement and technology, and would transfix me for hours. Now video games are a whole different story. The video games are so technical, so entrancing, so deep in their narratives, so highly produced, that a massive wave of our youth is getting swept away to la la land, addicted to a wholly pathetic fantasy world of escapism just like a bunch of greasy Heroin junkies.
It seems like a certain set of young people are predisposed to video game addiction, and I see a cross section of them in my classes. More often than not, they live with their parents, probably in the basement, even though they’re over 18. They dress like crap, apparently dragging themselves out of their dark, fetid lairs just long enough to make an appearance in class. They think they’re incredibly brilliant. They have whiny geek voices. They all have an absurd fantasy of starting their own “gaming companies.” They have no jobs, no friends, no social skills, virtually no real-life experience, yet they have invested huge amounts of time and effort to learn immense amounts of esoteric video game trivia—all of it nearly 100% inapplicable to real life.
They are, frankly, complete and utter losers.
One student of mine even wrote a narrative essay about his addiction, and let me tell you, it was damn serious. I could tell that he was coping without his stupid games, but barely, as he’d sit in my class, zombie-like, with his greasy dyed hair and ragged clothes. Another of my students, last semester, had virtually no friends, no social life, and was also a game addict. Creepy. This semester, I have two more. One, a plump female who also likes horseback riding (God, please, please just go ride your fucking horse and get out of the house!) and the other, an impossibly nerdy and pathetic game addict, who contradicts and challenges me in front of my entire Basic Comp class nearly every opportunity he gets, in all of his pseudo-intellectual, freshman-in-community-college wisdom.
Nerds. All of them. Inveterate, pathetic, disturbingly nerdy nerds.
These games are a substitute for social contact, but a substitute that can never satisfy human instincts. And every second, every miserable hour, that they spend looking at these fucking flickering lights on a screen, they will never get back. They are gone forever, and were spent in a completely unproductive pursuit that yielded nothing but an intensification of their pathetic solitude and a reinforcement of their shockingly dysfunctional social skills. What a fucking waste.
The other day, as I sat in my car, relaxing between classes, I peered over the gap in the sun shade on my windshield and spied the pseudo-intellectual wretch who challenges me constantly in class. Apparently, he was waiting for the bus home to his mommy’s and daddy’s house. Recently, when I mentioned during a class discussion that not everything that’s natural, like cyanide, is good, he felt the need to demonstrate his ignorance, with conviction, and told the whole class that “Actually, cyanide is not natural.”
Well, too bad for him, but he was wrong, as he has been every time he challenged me this semester. Fuck him. I was and am furious with him for being such a goddamn pest. But what I saw him doing out in the parking lot actually made me feel some compassion for him (along with a dominant dose of repulsion): he was walking along a median in the parking lot, skillfully practicing a variety of sword techniques with nothing in his hands, muttering to himself (or his invisible foe?) and expressing a variety of emotions on his pathetic, nerdy face, all in broad daylight.
He’s lost. Where the hell are these fucking people going to end up, when they have no social skills and no marketable technical skills and when they just can’t or won’t integrate into our society?
How many of these losers are on your class roster? Just look for the oily hair, the rumpled clothing, and the sickly, pale skin. Do they need professional help? Should video game addiction be in the DSM? Should we give a fuck whatsoever? Or should we just let them self-destruct? Personally, any sympathy I have for them is razed flat by their awful personalities. So here’s what I say…
No cookies for them. No cookies for ANY of them…