play it again, samantha

In any field, but especially academia, where the gap in job safety and success is relatively wide compared to one’s peers, who did not spend a minimum of seven years in Still More School before starting in on feeling fulfilled, and where thus a self-conscious unease begins to settle in right around 30, people are eager to tell you what mavericks they are at intellectual enlightenment. (This might be more evident than I would wish? Why, never!) Oftentimes it turns into a “Why I Don’t Do [insert pasttime it is socially acceptable to malign here]” speech.

Oftentimes, that pasttime is video games.

I am not going to play the girl gamer card, or point out all he historical/grammatical/scientific/sociological things you stand to learn—have learned—from video games. There are so many more and better arguments than I have the time or the patience to link to, written by people more eloquent by far on the topic than I.

I will say only that if your reasoning is tied to the preservation of time spent on the “real” things in life versus the fake; versus those in your mind, you will have a very difficult aging process, my friend. What makes things matter, or count, or whatever you want to call it, isn’t whether you have the youthful strength to climb it or fight it or drive it or fuck it. It’s not favoring the physical over the emotional, the mental, what’s in your head. It’s all in your head, you twat. Every childhood crush, every harsh lesson, every sepia-tinted memory turning blurry at the edges. What do you think you will have left when you are weak and shrivelled?

If a character in a novel makes you think; makes you change your way of being in the world, that “counts.” So does a character made of pixels, if they do the same. So does your sister, your teacher, your friend. When you walk away from that experience you had with them, they will no longer be with you. They’ll be in your head, like everything else. You know, one of those lesser, mental things you didn’t have time for when you were out “being real.” What’s real is what has touched you, and left enough of you remaining to remember it.

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