I think I find certain comforts in nostalgia.
Why? Hell, I don’t know. It just kind of happens, I guess (refer to previous blog post).
For me, it’s not living in the past, it’s remembering it fondly, especially since the world around us today is a much different one than the world I recall so fondly.
When I was a kid, video games were something we did after the sun went down on Friday or Saturday night. They didn’t dominate the socio-economical landscape. They weren’t connected to the internet, weren’t graphically configured for realism, and most importantly, didn’t have controllers with more than six buttons and a directional pad.
Ah, the good ol’ days.
I look back on the things I did when I was young, in a way, hoping my son will do the same — granted, without the recurring emergency room trips. We spent recess on blacktop courts, shooting 3-balls behind faded white lines, listening to the ball shimmy through a chain-link net. We weren’t LeBron James, Kevin Durant, or Kobe Bryant, but were Penny Hardaway, Gary Payton, and Steve Kerr, for none of us had the audacity to be Michael Jordan. We sent each other to the Nurses Office with Red Rover and “two-hand touch” football — which of course, meant in lieu of tackling, just shove the guy as hard as you could.
Nowadays, I watch parents fight to have stuff like that banned. It’s sad, really.
I also fondly look back on my days as a professional entertainer. It didn’t matter where I was performing, I gave it everything I had, from the corner of Fry and Hickory at UNT to Johnny Random’s basement in Randomville, each performance got 100% of me. I had actually managed to accrue a significant amount of currency, but had it all squandered, whether it be from myself or someone else (the latter of which is more accurate).
We played hard, and ultimately, partied hard. While I was working on a personal essay I had recently scrapped, I came up with a line that best sums that year-and-a-half up:
“Post-gig nights were always more of a gig than the show was, everything from walking into the place like we owned it, fucking college girls in dingy bathrooms, and doing body shots off a man named ‘Ramona’.”
Well, allow me to amend my previous statement — I fondly look back on most of my days as a professional entertainer. However, I will admit, I’m glad I indulged myself in that Machiavellian debauchery of sex, drugs, and rock-n’-roll. I feel like I learned a lot from the mistakes I made, which I may get into at a later date.
The point is that nostalgia and reminiscing through past events serves me to better see what’s in front of me. My experiences have made me who I am today, and as such, I want my son to learn from his experiences as I did mine. I want him to know that life, in all of it’s fractured glory, will flip a 180 on you so damn fast, you’ll be forced to re-evaluate who you are and what you’re doing. Life is also full of disappointments, walking hand-in-hand with achievement.
Also, within this game called “life”, some things just never come to fruition.
A loose example:
For those of you who don’t remember 1994, you can either disregard this section or learn something. Your choice.
Back in that year, I received a new game for my Sega Genesis called Ecco: The Tides of Time. Plot in a nutshell? Save the world from creepy alien cicadas… as a fucking dolphin. Yes, a dolphin, that had crazy Marvel Comic-esque abilities, but had them taken, but about 3/4 of the way through the game, he gets them back.
This game is ridiculously hard. Shit jumps out at you from off the screen, puzzles rank among the most complicated in gaming history, and I’ll be damned if you don’t lose your fucking companions because they’re too dumb to follow. Oh, and let’s not forget that when you think the game’s over — it’s not. You have the hardest levels yet, that is, after you’ve beaten the Vortex Queen (i.e. the bitchiest of all the alien cicadas), who everyone perceived as the final boss. Oh no, the final boss of the game is some blue swirling sea-pipe cleaner who you can’t hurt — you just swim away from it.
Sorry for the off-topic tangent. That game really pisses me off.
Anyway, the reason why this game is being brought up to prove a point about life. Sometimes, things just don’t happen. Like me beating this game, for example. Seventeen fucking years and I still haven’t beaten this game!
To quote the condescending voice-over guy from Super Smash Bros. —
Life can deliver the most wicked curveball sometimes. It’s just part of living. Life’s an adventure. It’s the things we do and how we conform to the outcomes that makes everyone, everywhere, who they are today.
There are a lot of ways to do this, but they are for you to discover and implement. Of course, there is always the obvious way to keep your life from being depressing. Buy a Slap-Chop!