I may have unwittingly ruined an 18 year relationship.

We used to be so close. We would be together almost every day. He helped me get through adolescence, car trips, waiting rooms. He was always there for me. He is still there for me, but now I’m the one who is being distant. I try to pretend like everything is still the same, even though I know it is not. It can never be the same. Not now that I have her.

She is everything that he was not. She is beautiful, colorful, fun to be with, sociable, and so cute. All my friends love her.

Since I’ve gotten older, he has become a kind of embarrassment. A dirty little secret that I was somewhat ashamed of. He never did change with the times. He was stuck in the 80’s. Out of touch with my twenty-something self, who openly embraced the 90’s (and then the 00’s) as my own. He refused to change. He slowly lost touch with what was cool. And because of that, we have grown apart.

And she is just so fun to be with in bed. It’s been even more interesting since my wife found one for herself, too. Sometimes, the two of them play together and let us join in.

Hers is pink.

And now, my vintage 1989 Game Boy sits on the back of the toilet. Forgotten. A relic of an age now passed.

We bought our first Nintendo DS in October, as an anniversary gift to each other. I was also hoping to get my wife into video games. It worked. By the time Christmas rolled around, I couldn’t pry it out of her hands long enough to play a few rounds of Tetris. So we bought another one. Or rather, we bought a pink one for her, and I claimed rights to our red and black one as my own.

I have been really impressed with the DS. The games are really quite fun and the touch screen makes the control of most games quite intuitive. It has a great battery life, and the wifi works really well.

My wife and I love playing Tetris against each other. Wirelessly. Using only one game cartridge. Take that, Game Boy. I play Rummy, Darts, and Bowling over the Internet with my DS, while my wife plays Frisbee with her Nintendog, Charlie.

It’s like we’ve joined a world of pre-teen geekism. All over again. But with color screens and better graphics.

Don’t get me wrong. I still occasionally play with my old buddy. During a particularly egregious bowel movement, for example.

I don’t want her to see me like that.

And as far as confessing all of this publicly on the Internet, I fairly certain it will never get back to him.

He doesn’t have Internet capabilities like she does.

I’m so excited. In February, I wrote about a game called Disaster Report. A couple years ago, I read about a possible sequel to it. And it’s finally here. I bought it used for $10.

Raw Danger!

How can you look at that exciting box art and not be blown away with excitement and anticipation?!? You get to run away from a flood and hold hands with a girl! Look at that Biohazard logo down there! You can’t mess with biohazards without a protective bandanna and necktie! I bet there will be all kinds of action and excitement and awesomeness in this game. Even the game’s title contains an exclamation point! I can’t wait to play it. Box art has always been a great way to tell a lot about a game:

Pac Man Box Art

After all, Pac-Man* always was my favorite medieval-jogging/yarmulke-eating game of all time.

While browsing around Amazon, I came across this horrible ad for Courtyard by Marriott:

Courtyard by Marriot Ad

I realize he’s supposed to be jumping on the bed, but to me it looks like he hung himself. His bed was so uncomfortable, the people in the next room were so loud and unbearable, the air conditioner wouldn’t cool below 85 degrees, and to top it all off, the remote is attached to the nightstand. The wife looks up at him, thinking, “that man is always over-reacting.”

* * *

Over 6 years ago, when I was living with the roommate from hell, he woke me up by barging into my room and telling me that the next door neighbor was threatening suicide. Now, we didn’t really know the next door neighbors at all. They only things that I knew about them were as follows: 1) the father, John, was very quiet and reserved, 2) the wife was from a foreign country, 3) the children were scared to death of us, and 4) none of them ever left the apartment for any reason whatsoever.

 

I left my bedroom and stepped into the hallway, seeing the wife from next door standing in our foyer talking to my roommate.

 

“Please come,” she was saying with a heavy eastern-European accent. “Hees tried to keel heemself before. Hees locked in de bedroom and von’t open thee door. Please come.” She begins motioning with her hands and walked out our door onto our shared landing.

 

My roommate and I both walked into the neighbor’s apartment, fully expecting to be shot at. There was nothing on the walls except a huge poster of Jesus. One of the kids was sitting on the floor, happily watching cartoons, oblivious to everything that was happening in the apartment. I noticed they had a ceiling fan. Jealous, I made a mental note to ask the landlord about installing one for us.

 

“Hees in de bedroom. I vant you to see dat de door is locked.” She tried to turn the knob. There was a loud bang from behind the door. I stepped further away from the bedroom, back down the hall. My roommate started the negotiation.

 

“Hey, buddy! Why don’t you just open the door?” he blurted out.

 

Another thump from inside the room. I took another step away. John always hated my roommate.

 

“John?” I yelled, tentatively. “It’s me from next door. Look, I don’t really know what’s going on here, but your wife woke me up after two hours of sleep to come over here because she’s worried. So, could you just unlock the door and talk to her for me?”

 

No sound for what seemed like a minute. The door unlocked, and a second later, it swung open to reveal John standing there with no expression on his face. The room was torn to pieces. He looked at his wife, then turned his eyes towards my roommate, who could only offer a weak smile and a corny wave. John then looked at me. A chill shot down my spine.

 

“I was just trying to get some peace and quiet,” John said slowly. “She’s been ranting and raving all morning.” He looked over his shoulder, and closed the door a few inches. “So, thank you boys. But you can leave now.” His eyes narrowed.

 

That’s all it took for me. Roommate and I quickly shuffled back to our apartment next door. I latched the deadbolt on the front door, and then we both walked silently down the hallway to the back bedroom; the furthest we could get away from the wall we shared with the neighbors. We shut the bedroom door and barricaded ourselves in the bathroom, nervously smoking cigarettes and blowing the smoke out the window.

 

When the other two roommates got back from class a few hours later, they found us playing cards in the master bathroom, which by then reeked of cigarettes. We related that morning’s adventure to them, still freaked out.

 

The four of us spent the rest of the afternoon locked in the master bathroom playing poker for Q-tips.

Overheard at The Store today:

Kid (in cart, being pushed by Mom): “Ice cream!”

Mom: “You want ice cream? Well, we can get ice cream. But we have to get a flavor that daddy will eat, too. What kind of ice cream does daddy like?”

Kid: “Daddy likes beer!”

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Public Discourse

The Humans in the Wa… on Detached
Jonathan Woolbright on Preparing For War
Jonathan Woolbright on Amateur Hour
Jonathan Woolbright on Suicide in the Morning
Craig on Unfaithful