War Heroes and Guitar Heroes

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(Div of Nuclear Physics)

The training session was intense. Go here, shoot, go there, throw a flash grenade. The Captain was yelling instructions and my mind was in full gear. But when I tried to run I jumped. When I tried to aim I ran. And when I tried to shoot I blew myself up.

Santa brought us a new XBOX 360, and I was at the controls. Now I was undergoing “training”, trying to show I was worthy.

I wasn’t. Apparently I was born with a rare malady that prevents your thumbs from obeying your brain. I blew myself up so many times that the machine voice began asking me to put down the controls before I really hurt myself.

Justin, a Marine, had already shown us how to take down a bunch of terrorists trying to smuggle an atom bomb on a merchant ship, and my dignity was at stake.

There comes a point in every player’s mind when it becomes obvious that a game isn’t for you. The tough part is telling a Marine that instead of blowing up insurgents, you would rather play the guitar.

Because we also got Guitar Hero, where you “play” a guitar (kind of like karaoke on a fake instrument, and you don’t have to sing).

Suddenly my hand-eye coordination reappeared. As the music hit a fever pitch, fire flew from my fingertips. The virtual crowd cheered me and virtual groupies rushed the stage. When I finished, I triumphantly looked around the living room, waiting for the accolades.

My eyes met the Marine’s.

He didn’t say anything. He didn’t have to.

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