Okay. I don’t usually write about this sort of thing. Not sure how good I am at it, really. Also, I don’t have anything new to add to the topic. I’ve read four articles about misogyny today, though — three in regards to the SpecFic community and one to the video game community — and I felt the need to say something.
Also, if you haven’t seen my Twitter userpic, then let it be known that I’m a white man. So, this is an outsider’s perspective.
Last bit of preamble: probably some triggering stuff coming up. I’ll put it under a cut just to be safe.
Yes. I’ve had enough. I can’t do it anymore. I’m giving up…
…sugar and video games.
The title was so vague and worrisome, I had to go along with it. Sorry.
So, yeah, I’m giving up two things which have been with me for as long as I can remember. I will miss them both, but they have to go.
Why, you ask? Why give up things that I claim to enjoy so? What am I, some kind of ascetic? Do I even know what that means? Why am I asking so many questions? If I’m not going to order anything, can you ask me to step out of line, sir?
Shoot, sorry. Got into a loop there. Also, I’ll have a small fry, thanks.
So where do I begin? Eh, let’s start with games.
I’ve played games since the Atari, my friends. A joystick with one button, that’s right. That’s all we needed, you spoiled little punks, with your wireless gamepads and more buttons than you have chest hairs. Once holodecks are invented, I’ll be shouting “Back in my day, you had to stare at a screen to play with yourself.”
Wait, that sounds wrong. Pretend you didn’t read that.
This is my game story. Atari made way for Nintendo. Nintendo stayed, but took on Game Boy as a sidekick. Nintendo retired, leaving me in the capable hands of Super Nintendo. I bid adieu to Nintendo during my rebellious phase, hanging out with Playstation and Playstation 2 and getting into all sorts of shenanigans. I had a brief fling with Gamecube, then Wii. Throughout all this, I had a thing on the side with PC gaming. So yes, I’ve been doing this for some time.
I’m a video game addict.
Not even kidding right there. No hyperbole, no joke. I have a psychological addiction to video games. This is something I’ve come to realize in the last few years. In this time, I’ve weaned myself off of consoles entirely (dumping all your games and consoles at Gamestop is good for that). True, I bought the Nintendo DS in the interim, and also developed a stronger PC gaming habit to fill the void, but at least I was away from the consoles!
Do you know how I realized I have an addiction? When I was playing games and not having fun, yet kept playing anyway because that’s what I always did.
Let me be clear: while I do believe I have a real addiction, I also know it is not as strong as it could be. I don’t go without eating or grooming. I don’t call into work sick just to play games. I go to bed at a respectable hour and sleep for a decent amount of time (when work permits). The worst effect my addiction has is making me neglectful of social interaction. My wife has been very patient with me in this regard. I know she’s suffered. Sorry, my princess.
So knowing I have an addiction, and knowing how it affects my life, is a big reason for choosing to give it all up. Saving money is part of it, too. Reclaiming time is another huge benefit, especially with me rekindling my creativity like I have.
Now, sugar. Sugar is harder. Giving up gaming seems easier, but probably because I’ve given in and fed the addiction from time to time. Since I vowed to give up sugar, though, I’ve only indulged once, and that was a special weekend breakfast treat in the form of a cinnamon bun. Besides that, not even fruit has passed my lips on a quest into my tummy. I’ve declared yogurt my one exception because it is an important source of protein, and I always get the kind with the least sugar.
And trust me, I’ve been tempted. There have been no less than two cakes at work since the sugar fast began (a goodbye, then two weddings celebrated at the same time). I’ve seen boxes of donuts come and go, and I have to shut the boxes just so I can’t smell them. Candy. Cookies. FRUIT PIZZA, YOU GUYS. This is stuff I would have gorged upon not that long ago, and it seems like it comes at me in never-ending waves.
But give it up I must because my teeth are rotten little assholes.
Well, okay, obviously I can’t blame the teeth. They’re just sitting in my mouth, doing their job, grinding up food for further nutrient extraction. It’s not their fault I constantly supplied them with harmful materials and didn’t give them hazmat suits. I’m a terrible boss, I guess.
Pretty much every tooth is going bad. I’ve already had thousands of dollars in dental work, and I only foresee thousands more before I’m done. If I’m ever done. It feels Sisyphean.
So the big reason I’m giving up sugar is because I’d rather not give up my teeth. They’re useful little buggers. Saving myself from more expensive dental procedures is also something I hope for.
Damn, if you stuck with me through that long post, I congratulate you on your perseverance. Your reward is a cat with a hat.