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At Least It's Not Another Woman...
Walt C. Snedeker

The roots of my affliction go all the way back to the fifties. Back in the days when I was just a collection of raging hormones in mutual conflict, the lure of those nickel pin-ball machines was profound.
I didn't fully realize it at the time, but hypnotic as it was, I know now that there was something missing amid all the flashing, clanging, bong-a bong-a bong-a and dinging. Even the occasional near-Biblical thok! that importantly announced the awarding of a free game didn't quite do it all.
Not to minimize the impact, however. Long hours of glassy-eyed enjoyment were stretched from the few nickels I could cobble together. Despite the horror of my teachers and other ignorant grownups at the thought of an otherwise semi-personable young man wasting away his life at the altar of flashing lights and sonorously rolling ball bearings, I was developing a fabulous hand-eye coordination. This remarkable coordination was something that would serve me well if I ever had to defend America (using only a push-button and lots of body English) from unending streams of steel balls rolling down a gentle slope.
Patriotic, you see.
But, then it all changed. I met a fluffy darling of a redhead that just happened to be built like Anita Ekberg, with a sparky intellect which could be used for lighting cities. And great DNA. I was lost immediately as all those raging hormones suddenly looked up from their intramural battles and said in unison, "Hey! Lookit that!"
So things sort of eased off a little in the pinball business. The troglodytic nerds that assembled their arcane machines only took a few hundred thousand coins from me over the next twenty years or so.
But, just like me and the fluffy redhead (whom I somehow find extraordinarily attractive for a beautiful woman with a fantastic body), these avatar nerds somehow found mates and procreated.
And their double-nerdy children invented video games.
Pucky (my #2 son) and I were probably the first two people on earth to suffer from "Galaxian Finger". This malady was the result of gripping that precursor-to-a-joystick which one found atop the quarter-eating Galaxian games.
Today, the world has caught on, and they've given Galaxian Finger an officious medical name something like "carpool in the tunnel syndrome". Peh. We were first.
But worse was yet to come. I bought a computer. Nay, a whole series of them -- culminating in the one I sit at even now.
In computer language, it is a 486 DX4 100mhz Hyderdiddlic Honey with 12-inch stereophonic FM-balanced speakers coupled to SoundBlaster hardware. In layman's terms, it is the meanest thing on the planet. It can play DOOM at full speed and full resolution.
In short, I've reset to 1955.
The Fabled PC now comes home to the sound of monsters shrieking in their death-throes as I slay them in their hundreds.
Diligently, I pursue with glassy eyes the difficult trails to conquer the hordes of the netherworld.
It makes me wonder what I ever saw in pinball machines.
Or Galaxian Quarter-Munchers.
Of course, I can swap off, and go noisily shoot down the Luftwaffe, using my double-speed integral CD-ROM.
It gets so that the Fabled PC has to close the door to my computer room, and raise the volume of the TV in the living room in order to hear it.
Pucky recently asked, "Daddy, was there life before computers?"
So Pucky and Your Humble Obedient will be blasting and dodging away for hours. Although eventually Pucky claims that he's tired, and says he's had enough, and it's time for him to go back to his wife. (Where did I go wrong in my upbringing of the lad?)
After only two months of at least four hours a night of DOOM (I set a new world record, I think), the Fabled PC came storming into my sanctum to shriek daintily that I'd better pay some attention to her, and that the sound of gunfire and dying demons was driving her bonkers.
And just when I had finally gotten the BFG 9000 to massacre the Arachnotrons! (*sigh*).
So we went out... to Computer MegaCity where I bought Myst. (They say it's a lot quieter.)
While we were there, I saw an advertisement for this neat-o headset-----armbrace thingy that you put on and actually wear the computer in what they call "virtual reality".
That's when I began to realize that there was really something missing in my computer.
My redhead sighs and says, "Oh, well, at least it's not another woman."

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