26 and Already Reminiscing…

I had a thought today. Two, actually: the first was that I should start a blog. The second was “Damn how awesome is it to be a kid?” I mean, kids have limitless energy, limitless enthusiasm for basically everything, and they can find anything funny. Add to that the fact that a lot of times, there’s just no rhyme or reason to what kids find funny, and that’s funny in itself. It’s OK to be afraid of Christmas Trees and laugh hysterically at the Night Court opening theme – you don’t know from whence these things come, but you live the hell out of the moment and you don’t gotta explain yourself to anyone, as a kid.

Now, I’m still relatively young (don’t even try talking about getting old when you’re a 20-something, it’s just not gonna fly). I don’t know why the thought even popped in my head- it was probably part of some Scrubs-esque daydreamy train of thought. However, it brought back, clear as a bell, just one of those irrational childhood fixations that was just inexplicably awesome at the time, one which also had a deep life-lesson subversively mixed in to it. One involving Nuns; I’ll get to that in a minute.

So we used to have this old Mac, and one day we got a racing computer game called Vette (this was probably back in ’92 or ’93, way way back). For months, maybe years afterwords, I devoted hours and hours to tearing ass all over a virtual San Francisco, in a Corvette rendered all in 8-bit 3D glory. I was dodging cops, getting serious air time, and just crashing all over the place. Oh yes, and flattening (literally flattening) hapless pedestrians, laughing maniacally the whole time. My brother can confirm this. Sound familiar? This game had all the Grand Theft Auto mayhem that could be packed in to 3 floppy disks, many many years before it got big. And I enjoyed it to no end, irrationally and only as a kid can do.

This is significant to me because A. GTA games, and mayhem games like that, are almost nauseating to me now and totally unplayable; and (this is where the Nuns come in) B. I learned that impossible things existed- specifically, the impossibility of flattening an 8-bit Nun. Yes, there were Nuns walking around in that virtual San Franciso, and they were every bit as implacable as they are in real life. I would rev my Vette, bring it screamingly into the same bit of space occupied by a San Francisco Sister, and I’d see in my rearview mirror the impossible – the Nun, unflattened. I tried, believe me- I tried. I would go out of my way to collide with them, forfeit street races in progress, give the cops an edge in an in-progress pursuit, spend hours prowling the streets, looking for them; all to no avail. My attempts at flattening, they would have “nun” of it (couldn’t resist!). I have no doubt that some of the game’s programmers had a thoroughly and old-school Catholic upbringing, and I’m pretty sure they expected the literal Wrath of God to befall them should they include mortal nuns. And now that I think about it, misfortune did seem to follow any flattening attempt. But why include them in the first place? Now that’s a question for another day.

And so I absorbed a very important life lesson, the core of the Serenity prayer – there are things that just cannot be changed. I can’t say I understood it till much later though. So all throughout life, as we tear ass in our Vettes through the San Francisco of life, we encounter our own indomitable Nuns: understanding the Federal Budget, pondering the existence of God, trying to warn horror-movie protagonists of their impending doom, breaching the light speed barrier, etc. And, at least for me, it helps to deal with and make light of such things by lumping them all into the same category as faceless, immortal, pixellated Nuns.


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