Thank Grog It’s Firday!
Wow…so much has happened since last Friday! And…yet…so little has changed.
Today is Friday the 13th!!! Eeeek! But, I’m not superstitious. I mean…what else could possibly go wrong this year? Wait…don’t answer that.
A New Act started in our games. There was a ton of election news that made some people happy, then sad, then mad, then sad…and it didn’t really matter which “team” you were on.
I think they actually played a “World Series” somewhere in the middle of this mess, and Pac-12 football, FINALLY started…kinda mostly. The Ducks beat the Cardinal…for anyone watching who actually cares about college team sports right now. The Vegas odds on which games will get cancelled, are almost as high as who will win. But, I digress…
Can we all just agree on one thing? These are some damn strange times we are living in…and almost nothing is satisfying. But, is the Universe trying to tell us something? Are the SIMPSONS trying to tell us something? Are we supposed to be divining our contentment and happiness in settling for “Less Than?” as we hand our futures over to “the leaders?”
This all came to a head for me, as I watched two parades collide in my game…and realized that it was a metaphor for the way life is playing out in real time.
As I’ve said on many occasions, my wife and I are a perfect balance. She is usually the perpetual “glass half full” person who almost always finds a bright spot in almost everything. That has changed a bit since losing her Dad over the summer, returning in the fall to teaching/counseling in the “Covid-Era” and working her way emotionally through this fustercluck of an election cycle.
I am usually the CrankyOldGuy, who works mostly off of experience and pragmatism, so I expect the worst, plan for the solution, and just keep my head down, while things work themselves out (with as much nudging from the sidelines as possible). The election, Covid, and the impending “last days” of my own mother, along with all of the ‘jam-packed-insanity-and-family-fun” that goes with moving her from a rehab center back to her home, so she can have her last days around family and a familiar place, are predictably challenging.
I have two sisters in the mix. Both with varying degrees of “how we need to do this.” Both strong willed. Both prone to shoving their views gently, but persistently, until devolving into hysterics when something goes wrong. But, hey…nobody said this was easy. Life is messy. Death is messier.
But, back to the parades…
In our games, back when the programmers were still being creative, during the “BIG THEME PARK MIGRATION” of May, 2018, when KrustyLand migrated from it’s own virtual reality, to our Springfields, and brought Itchy & Scratchy Land with it…we got new/creative stuff.
At first, it seemed like the two most random additions/prizes, were the “Parade Roller” and the “Parade Train.” Certainly an homage/mockery of the Disney parades, these both featured lethal weapons as their “floats,” along with almost identical buildings, that looked mostly like automated car washes.
When you select the “Start the Parade” option on either, the fun begins. And it is weirdly hilarious…one of the best, but most easily forgotten, bits of programming in our games. Wherever the various parade participants are roaming…and they can roam virtually anywhere across the vast landscape of our Springfield’s, they all come running to line up, and march behind their “leaders.”
Once together, the leaders of each “parade team” march around the roads in the general vicinity of the amusement park, in a fashion that seems organized, and at the same time, random and chaotic.
When you have them close together, they frequently “mix it up,” and real chaos, and the appearance of war, ensues. But, then again…this should be predictable, when the leadership is as random, chaotic, and seemingly without a useful directions, and the “followers” are all lethal weapons, ready to “GO OFF!” when challenged.
When they MIX TOGETHER and RUMBLE…the actual participants fade into nothingness…and all that is left is the “Leaders,” peddling their version of reality.
It is hilarious to watch…but pretty terrifying if you are in the middle of the mess when the chaos and potential for explosions seem imminent.
There is something tragically similar happening in our country these days. Politics has devolved into a very dangerous version of “team sports,” where both sides are armed, ready to create chaos, and all of us are mostly just standing on the sidelines, hoping that it doesn’t escalate into one of the bombs going off.
What is even more disheartening, is that most of us have gotten sucked into the role of “Spectators,” and have handed all of the power to find a direction that we can all agree to through consensus.
It occurred to me that like our games, there is kind of a “reset button” that happens with each cycle, but instead of saying “Hold On…STOP FIGHTING and DO SOMETHING PRODUCTIVE,” we seem to get sucked into deciding whose “team” is best, what colors we should wear, and how much we are willing to spend to actually do more than just start the whole cycle over again.
At least in TSTO, we can just turn it off…
The weird and “funny” Parade Roller and Parade Train are great metaphors for life in general. If you let someone else take the lead, and forget that YOU (and the rest of the people who make up “We the People,” actually have some control over how we react to their “leadership,” then nobody is to blame for the outcome, or lack of solutions, than “We.”
Buying into the chaos…strapping up…and going to look for a fight over an idea or a “team” has never really worked out well in human history. People tend to get killed. Lots and lots of people.
So maybe…let the leaders head off in their own direction, and the rest of us can find some sense of ORDER IN THE MIDDLE.
I guess all I am asking of our “leaders,” is that before you “armor up,” and decide to go on some deadly crusade, think about the alternative. Try a bit of compromise. Try actually working together to GET SOMEWHERE PRODUCTIVE…instead of circling the block, year after year, rattling your weapons.
OK. That’s it for this week. It’s Emergency Food Box Delivery Day today. I need to go and do something that helps those who don’t have the luxury of worrying about the next round of content, or where we are going to place it, or if it is up to the standards that we as TSTO Players deserve.
Don’t join a parade. BE the parade.