My son got a Wii for Christmas this past year. It was the only thing he wanted and thank goodness for that, because a Wii is an investment. He’s been playing it nonstop since Christmas vacation and has practically worn out the nunchuck controllers.
He just had a birthday and announced prior to turning nine that he wanted Guitar Hero III. Not Guitar Hero I or II…it has to be III. I don’t know why, but it just did. Fortunately, my husband, who follows the world of electronics much more closely than I do, knew exactly what he was talking about, went out and bought it and had it wrapped before his actual birthday.
My son was elated when he opened it up and immediately went up to the playroom to set it up. Even my daughter went, too. And I haven’t seen either of them since. And that was over a month ago.
Because you know those goofy Wii commercials where the whole family is playing the Wii? Apparently, it’s pretty realistic. After watching the kids play “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns ‘n Roses for three hours straight, I had to see how this was done. They were dubious. My son asked me if I even knew who Guns n’ Roses were. I do. He then asked me if I knew who Slash was. Not only do I know who Slash is, I know his real name. (It’s Saul Hudson.) And I know that he plays on a Les Paul. I also know that Axl Rose, the lead singer, had a long and tumultuous relationship with Victoria’s Secret model Stephanie Seymour. (I have a head full of useless information like this; this is why I always forget to buy milk at the grocery store, even though it’s on the list. My brain is just too full.)
Then, in an attempt to really convince them of my electronic wizardry and hipness, I also informed them that we were the first family on our block to have Pong, the first video game in existence. I told them that it wasn’t easy trying to hit that giant circle with the square blocks on either end; it got faster as the game went along.
The kids looked at me as if to say, “who are you and what have you done with our mother?”
Why do kids think that their parents are one-dimensional figures whose main jobs including cooking, cleaning, and nagging? We are well-rounded people who have back stories, who were once (maybe) hip, who danced at Xenon and Danceteria before there was no longer a market for 80s-style dance clubs or shoulder pads.
They still didn’t think I had anything approaching street cred, let alone Guitar Hero III cred, but my daughter reluctantly gave up the controls and handed them to me. I strapped on the faux guitar, chose their favorite song, and attempted to play. It went something like this:
Me: I used to be pretty cool, you know. (I said, putting on my glasses so I could see the buttons on the guitar.)
Daughter: Yeah, right.
Son: You’re not cool, Mom. Sorry to break it to you.
Me: (ignoring their disdain and disbelief) How do you do this? (voice raised over the pulsing bass beat)
Daughter: You have to push the buttons and strum the strummer.
Son: Not like that! (pointing at the guitar strapped across my chest)
Daughter: Hit the red button!
Daughter: Now green!
Daughter: Hit green!
Son: Hit green and strum at the same time!
I was now worked up and had beads of sweat coming down my face. I looked like one of the senior citizens that I’ve seen on every news program talking about how the Wii is being used to get the elderly moving. And I still hadn’t made it through one song. The electronically-created crowd in Guitar Hero III started to boo vigorously.
I begged for another chance. The kids looked dubious.
Daughter/Son: Ok. One more chance. And then we get it back.
Son: Give her an easy one.
I asked them if they had “Tiny Bubbles” by Don Ho. They looked at me as if I had been taken over the body snatchers.
They put on a song that I didn’t know and chaos ensued once again.
Daughter: Hit the green button! The GREEN button! Not the red one…you’re not very good at this.
My son approached me and like Jack Nicholson in “A Few Good Men” put out his hand and said, “Hand it over. You can’t handle Guitar Hero III.”
I left the area, dejected. I went downstairs, put a roast in the oven, nagged them to pick their clothes up, and put a load of laundry in the washing machine. Just to remind myself of the old days, I jumped up on top of the washer and sang “Rio” by Duran Duran. Or at least the words I could remember.
Maybe they have a point.