By Shya Gibbons
It’s another day in America, and we are reeling from the latest mass murder (side note: hopefully someday this topic and concept are no longer pertinent because right now it feels evergreen.) In a press conference from President Donald Trump, he named violent video games as one of the factors in what leads to these murderous rampages. Personally, I spent the better part of my youth playing Doom, and the only way it affected me was the utter disappointment in the lack of secret rooms. Seriously. In that game every level was stuffed full of secret, hidden doors that led to treasure.
He named a few other factors that contribute to violence, like too much Internet usage and mental health disorders. In an attempt to combat it, President Trump announced universal healthcare so everyone can get the help they need. Just kidding. Wouldn’t that be cool, though? But I digress. Doom was the only VIDEO game I played, but my childhood was chalk full of other types of games. These games are probably why I’m desensitized to violent movies now. These games are why we are the way we are.
Let me clarify: my experiences and memories do not necessarily reflect everyone else’s views. We are all messed up in our own way and it’s up to you and a licensed therapist (or friends drunk at a bar on dollar margaritas) to get to the root of the problem.
I’m kicking it off with a big one: Red Rover, Red Rover. A group separates into two teams. Everyone on a team locks arms, and someone calls out, “red rover, red rover, let (name) come over.” The person on the opposing team who is called out must sprint across the space and try desperately to break through linked arms. This game is probably about to make its way back to our nation via border control. Until the wall is built, or even started, maybe we can try out this approach. It would cost less to man a team of people than it would to build a wall. However, rules are rules, and if someone makes it through the guard’s linked arms, they get to stay. What’s fair is fair!
Mother May I? With this one, one person plays “Mother,” a character who holds everyone’s fate in their hands. This game was a real treat unless the person playing Mother hated you; in that situation, forget about it because you’re never going to win. The concept is simple: ask permission on ways to move toward the goal line. Mother, may I take two steps? Mother, may I make one leap? Mother can, and does, say no for whatever reason they want. You can’t argue with Mother’s choices. Now our nation is stuck in a game of Mother May I. Mother, may I have a surgery to save my life? No, you may not. Mother, may I let me 93-year-old mother move from Cuba to here to save her life? No, you may not. Fun things like that.
Jump rope. Two people, or sometimes one and the other end is tied to a pole, take turns swinging a rope. The jumper has to dodge the rope. People get tangled up and fall. Some people make it through an entire whimsical jump rope song about Cinderella dressed in yellow who went upstairs to kiss her fella before they lose concentration and mess up. Now we all get to spend our day playing jump rope, except instead of a rope, it’s bureaucratic red tape, and instead of getting tangled up, you’re imprisoned.
Follow the Leader. As a child, this was my favorite game. Being chosen as the leader meant everyone had to blindly follow what I said. No more making fun of me and my quirks because now I hold all the cards. Also, you can’t say no and you have to participate or else (no one ever told us what the or else was, but we were all too afraid to find out for ourselves.) This tactic is followed every second of every day, except now people are finding out that the ‘or else’ is jail or a public verbal lashing from someone in power. Fun stuff!
It would be easy to name more games, such as playing tag with minority groups to find out who the next ‘it’ is this week for everyone to blame problems on, but I think you see where I’m going with this.
Everything we do and say will somehow come back to bite us in the ass in the end. If it’s not violent video games or “innocent” children’s games, then it will be something else. I don’t know. Maybe people weren’t hugged enough as kids. Maybe they were hugged too much. Either way, I’m excited to see how the next round of truth or dare turns out when our country dares those corrupted officials to tell the truth. Go on. We double-dog dare you.
About The Author
Shya Gibbons is a full-time CEO (also called a stay-at-home-mom) to a precocious, blue-eyed five-year-old, and runs the blog Vintage Dreams With A Modern Twist. She is happily married to a gorgeous man who doubles as her best friend, and who loves her even on her worst days. She was born, raised and still lives in a picturesque small town where she has stacked up hundreds of bylines at the local newspaper. When she is not writing for fun, she likes to cook big dinners and bake. Her work was recently featured in the anthologies I Just Want To Be Perfect and You Do You. You can find more of her work at VintageDreamsWithAModernTwist