Tuesday, January 17, 2006

things you never expected to see in a church kitchen

Every Monday night, I play volleyball in a work recreation league, in an old-school church gym halfway between the office and the bunker. Talent-wise, we're somewhere between Arts House Team Bob and mediocrity, but it's a fun way to burn a few calories off. My team mostly consists of French translators, so 70% of the banter on-court is en francais...mostly "Merde!"

Last night, I was in the kitchen behind the gym, changing into my game gear, when an odd sight caught my eye. Plugged into the wall was a Coleco tabletop Pac-Man game, exactly like the one Dad and I wore out.

Cue flashbacks.

Our model lasted 5-6 years. Dad and I played so often, and went through so many C batteries, it's amazing it lasted that long. Friends came over just to play Pac-Man, starting me down my cynical path (mind you, I was just as bad with anyone who owned an Atari, Colecovision or Commodore 64). Lying on the floor in my room or in the basement, I was transfixed for hours, with all my powers of concentration devoted to making it to the next level. As I grew better on the tabletop, playing the real deal poolside in hotels in Toledo or Ann Arbor and losing badly proved frustrating.

Since the unit was plugged in, it had to work. Flipped on skill level 1. Everything went smoothly until I tried to move the joystick down. Pac-Man sat there with only a death wish on his mind.

Sniff. - JB

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