Games on the Mind

Yesterday, a friend who fixes computers stopped by the house to pick up a tower that has been causing us problems. That’s small-town living for you! … friends willing to help.

He brought with him his 11-year-old, just going into sixth grade, a cute kid, open, communicative, always in movement. He engaged me in conversation right away.

But what did he talk about–exclusively?

Computer games.

“Do you know super-Mario and…” and off he went, explaining the games, singing me the songs even.

I told him I don’t have much interest in computer games. I tried to tell him about stuff I was interested in, including the drums in my living room, a big djun-djun and a nice handmade djembe. I brought out some boondoggle cord to give to him. I showed him an origami book sitting out on the coffee table.

Polite, yes. Responsive, no, except for a few moments when he practiced on the djun-djun.

All he wanted to talk about was his computer games.

These games live vividly in his mind (and the minds of a majority of the kids we teach). Summertime probably is worse, because parents let the kids game instead of having to deal with them (I get that, I really do).

Still, it’s a little horrifying to think that the imaginations and inner lives of most of a generation’s young people are inhabited by computer game imagery and concepts, especially since you win the majority of the games by killing … animals, robots, soldiers, people…

When they left, the kid almost forgot the boondoggle kit.

“If you are interested in the boondoggle, don’t forget it,” I said. He flashed in and picked it up and left. “Bring me a couple to see, when your dad brings back our computer.”

He promised he would.

We teachers never give up, do we?

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