Video games

Guitar Hero guitar.

My sons often ask me what video games I played when I was growing up. They cannot conceive of a world or a childhood without video games. So the next question is something along the lines of, “Were you bored?” or “What did you do all day?”  For fun, I told them, we played board games, but they heard “bored” games. They never play games like Monopoly because they think they’re boring. That’s because they’ve gotten so used to video games.

On the other hand, they can’t understand why I don’t play video games with them. I just can’t get into video games. I never played them when I was little. The only video game I ever played was Pong! And that was in high school. Pong was so boring. I preferred to play chess, another board game (not bored game!). But my sons also like to play an occasional game of chess with me.

Some people think that video games are bad because they make the players lazy and they don’t get enough exercise, but they do develop a different kind of intelligence as recent research has proven. Grand Theft Auto is supposedly bad for children because of all the violence. People criticize me because I allow my sons to play every video game that they like regardless of the content. Well, two of my three sons played GTA and the one who didn’t play the game had the lowest grades in school. The two sons who played it eventually lost interest in the game. Perhaps because I allowed them to play and didn’t criticize them for it.

I like the auto thief (in real life) who attempted to use GTA as a defense for his having stolen multiple automobiles. GTA made him steal the cars. Verdict? He was found guilty of auto theft! What a poor excuse for lack of self-control.

When my sons played GTA, they never asked to drive a car, much less attempted to steal one. My sons also like to play World of Warcraft, which they first discovered from watching South Park. I like WoW because it occasionally involves reading and writing. I haven’t played it all, but I like to look on.

The players can IM each other about the game or anything else they like. I like when they dance like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever even though they’re supposed to me in the Middle Ages. What I like best about WoW is that the game hardly has any bugs or glitches. In fact, I have a very, old obsolete Pentium III computer that I have upgraded several times with a bigger hard drive, more memory, and a better graphics card, but it’s too slow to even check my e-mail. However, WoW runs quickly and smoothly on this computer. They must do all the graphics and computer processing on their servers. These people really know how to deliver a product!

Let’s all go to class

Morton College

That sounds like a very good idea, in theory anyway. The first day of the semester, I always give The Speech about how to excel in my Spanish class. Number One on the list is coming to class each and every day. Why? Well, class, you should come to class because attendance is 15% of your overall grade, I like seeing my students in class, and if you come to class, you might actually learn something. Most students do come to class just because it’s required. Others, however, think attendance should be optional and nothing I say will persuade them to come to class more frequently.

A few years back, a student enrolled in my class who took skipping class to a new level. He showed up the first day of class and then I didn’t see him again for two weeks. I couldn’t figure out why he would miss so many classes. One day, as I was reading the university newspaper, I noticed a guest opinion piece in the editorial section titled, “Let’s all go to class,” in which the author stresses the importance of attending class. In fact, he keeps harping on it even though he missed a lot of classes the previous semester to sleep, play video games, and almost finish writing late papers for his English class. In principle, I agreed with the idea that all students should attend class, but something about this piece made me suspicious. The author was named Patrick. So I immediately remembered him. That’s one thing you should know about me. I don’t often remember names unless your name is David, Catherine, Adam, Yolanda, Patrick, Poindexter, or Allouissius. So I suddenly realized that the author Patrick was the student whom I had only seen on the first day of class and then never again. About two weeks later, he showed up to class again and I asked him if he was the author of the guest opinion. He blushed and admitted that he was, in fact, the author. I asked him if he had ever considered following his own advice. He looked at me as if it had never occured to him! I didn’t see him in class again for another two weeks. His attendance the rest of the semester was very sporadic and somehow he managed to pass the course!

Let's all go to class! Come on! At least once in a while.