Or do they consume you?
Tag Archives: thinking
“Hey Max,” said his mother, Kathy, “whatcha playin’?”
Max had his back turned to his mom. On screen, his character was firing a rocket launcher while dangling from the bottom of a hovering helicopter. The rockets whizzed and screeched out of the launcher and turned enemy choppers into massive fireballs.
“Huh?” he asked.
A couple of seconds later, Max’s character was touching the ground and was driving a Mercedes-like car. Kathy, still behind Max, sighed.
“Ah I hate this mission. I can never get there in time to drop the people off before the timer runs out,” said Max still staring at the screen.
Max could feel a pair of eyes, with laser-like focus, burning a hole in his back. He shot his mother a quick glance and saw she had folded her arms and was glowering at him. He put down the controller.
Max said, “Alright, alright I’ll go do it now. Sheesh! I never get any me time.”
When Max left, Kathy reached for the controller with a shaky hand. She stopped herself. First she looked left, right, under the couch. “Is anyone here?” she asked herself. After one could see all doubt was removed, she plopped herself down on the couch and started playing.
The current objective was to drive two kids to basketball practice on time. “Haha hmmm”, she thought, “well why not?”
She took off in the car, but the car lurched forward when she tried to stop at a red light.
A torrential downpour fell down her forehead because she saw a cop car on the opposite side of the intersection. Nothing happened. The cop car drove past. Kathy went on her merry way in the game world.
“Well that’s strange,” she thought as she sped up the car a little bit.
Kathy wiped the sweat from her brow and checked her left and right blind spots before she continued driving. She slumped down a little in her seat, as if she felt a little small for what she planned to do next, and she accelerated faster than any sane person would in this world.
She smiled when she heard no sirens and saw no kids. Kathy thought she could do whatever she wanted to accomplish her mission. After a while, she did not even see other people or drivers in the world. In fact, after a couple of minutes, she came to an intersection that only had tumbling tumbleweeds.
But as she revved her engines and slammed on the gas, a pedestrian rounded the corner, and she “bumped” into him. A slight delay on screen ensued between the bump and the pedestrian falling over.
Kathy put her hand over mouth and muttered something inaudible.
And she spoke up, “Oh dear, oh I’m so, so sorry!”, she said. She had her character roll down the car window and searched for a button to say something. All she could find was a button that made the character taunt the pedestrian with rude thrusting gestures.
“Oh no! This is even worse,” she said.
The pedestrian didn’t turn around. He just wiped the dirt off his shoulder and kept walking. No one stopped Kathy or said anything to her.
She moved her hand away from her mouth, and her demeanor changed. She thought, “Oh, what the hell; I’ll just keep going. No one seems to care in this world anyway.”
She smirked and lifted one corner of her mouth much higher than the other. She revved up her engine and was counting to three.
Suddenly, the expression on her face changed. She hit pause and put down the controller. Kathy pushed her hand under chin and lurched forward on the couch until she looked Rodin’s “The Thinker.”
“Wait!”, she thought, “should I be going faster? Should I keep doing this? How should I treat others and what am I even doing here?”
She concluded it was a good game, picked up the controller and kept playing.
“Hey Steve, I was playing this really great video game the other day. I slid down this pipe and entered a strange new world.”
“Yeah, yeah, I want to tell you about my day, man. I went to the market to get ripe tomatoes for my sauce, but can you believe they didn’t have any?! I wandered into the blazing heat, sweat pouring down my face until I nearly I drowned in it, to find provisions.”
“Ah-hem! Steve, can we please return to the subject? I was talking about games.”
“I searched five more stores but… Arrrgh!”
Suddenly — in mid-sentence — Steve started foaming at the mouth and fell over. He had babbled like a brook just fine, but the flow of words had increased and grown into a huge foamy, wave that crested and overpowered him.
“Oh, great! He’s barely conscious. I guess I’m alone with my thoughts again.”
A lone figure waddles down a dark and dangerous road. The figure, surrounded by slowly dissipating mist, inches closer to us and becomes visible. The figure’s tongue is lolling out, his eyes are bulging out of his skull, and his shredded shirt is covered by spittle. He is a zombie!
“Grrrrr. Brai– wait,” he says.
He scans the horizon and sees nothing but trees and utter darkness. Not even an owl could be heard in the distance because the darkness, like a true glutton, consumes everything that crosses its path. The zombie sits down on a tree stump next to the road. He leans forward, flexes his arm and rams it under what is left of his decomposing chin. He is the zombie thinker!
“What am I doing here?”, he asked. “Why am I alone? Siiiiigh!”
As he sits thinking, he shakes his head so hard that a rotten ear falls off and plops to the ground. In his state of boredom, he kicks a pebble and it hits a boulder before downing a dying tree. But no one is alive in the forest to hear it fall. The zombie sits on the stump growing roots when he feels his exposed, bony knees begin to shake.
“What is that sound?”
The ground now shakes so hard beneath him that the earthworms ascend into the air, and if they could fly, they surely would have gone on vacation. A whooshing sound rushes through the trees and enough leaves fall to the ground to make a giant woodland salad. A zombie herd, after running their fastest, now pops out of the woodwork.
One zombie from the herd pokes his head around a tree. He talks to the zombie on the stump, “Look alive, Dave! The video game’s about to start.”
“I have to tell you something crazy that happened to me today,” said Sarah.
“Alright,” said Zach.
What was Zach thinking? When we zoomed into his head, we saw a thick layer of fog that surrounded and obscured everything. Impressions were faint and clear thoughts were murky and illusive at best. Moving through the fog, after what felt like eons, we saw it dissipated and clear thinking was on the horizon. But first we had to wade through a cold and calm lake, with its musty cave smell, that served no purpose. The reason for the lifeless lake’s existence would only baffle us and get us annoyingly wet.
After overcoming these obstacles, we saw a wide and thick patchwork of grey cobwebs. They were so expertly sewn as to make forward-looking vision impossible for a brief time. That was discouraging.
But we pressed on and could heart the next part of Zach’s head before saw it. We heard metal clanking, suction tubes gurgling and steam hissing through pipes as it escaped into air. Next we saw sparks flying and gears grinding in circular motions. Near the end of this assembly line of contraptions, we could see stacks and stacks of unplayed video games.
Finally we saw electricity surged through a power line and zipped down a long coil. This raw power headed toward something. That something was a giant light bulb. The bulb lit up, and it seemed like everything was clear; perhaps something profound was about to happen.
“Huh?” said Zach.