Last night, my father played the Wii for the first time. It was like watching my grandmother work a VCR. Or a baby giraffe learning how to walk. Or George W. Bush trying to run a country. Either way, it was a hilarious and – at times – frightening experience.
I need to preface the story with a bit of context. My dad isn’t even that old. He’s 57 and he’s a broadcasting professor at a college, so it’s not like he’s a stranger to electronics either. When I was younger, I was amazed by his ability to turn six remotes into one that magically controlled almost everything in the house. I really thought if anyone could pick up the simple, intuitive nature of the Wii – it was my dad.
I was so wrong.
We started him off with golf on Wii Sports, which in retrospect, was the worst idea ever. My Dad is a big golfer in real life, so he was trying to swing the Wii remote a little too realistically. I tried countless times to get him to use his wrist a little bit more but to no avail. Then we had to explain how to switch from the practice swing to the real swing – simply holding or not holding the ‘A’ button. Catastrophe. He was slicing his drives and smacking the shit out of his putts, all while refusing to put down his beer.
So we switched to bowling, the most basic Wii game there is. I mean…they play this shit in nursing homes. He picked this one up a lot quicker….until he smacked one of our poor yellow Labs square in the face.
So we switched to baseball. Back in the day, my Dad played softball at a pretty competitive level, but this far into the experience I realized that this is in no way indicative of his Wii abilities. This hunch of mine was confirmed when my father swung at a pitch with such enthusiasm he did a full 360, slipped on the rug and fell into the living room table, narrowly missing the glass top.
By this time, my brother and I are in tears. There’s such a generational gap between those who grew up with video games and those who didn’t, that it’s almost as if the latter is missing a critical set of motor skills that prevents them from picking it up. It got me thinking about things that I am innately inclined to suck at because of my age:
- Balancing a chequebook.
- Playing bridge.
- Successfully concentrating on anything without flashy lights and gratuitous violence for more than 20 minutes.
- Driving 30 in a 60 zone.
- Drinking coffee no matter what hour of the day it is and then still going to bed at 8:00 PM.
- Keeping a bowl of candy in my home that doesn’t get eaten in its entirety one lonely and broke Friday night for “dinner.”