Schooling the nine-year-olds

Pac-Man You guys, I’m not trying to brag, but it’s true that I totally rock at Ms. Pac-Man. And that’s saying something, because I rock not a bit and never will at any other videogame in the entire world. Except maybe for Tetris, at which I am passable.

I rock at Ms. Pac-Man because I spent four days solid playing it on a bender during my cousin Jason’s bar mitzvah in 1983. My aunt and uncle rented the game as part of the kids’ party in the basement, and I holed up down there like an addict, like my kids and the iPods, just me and the game, working the mazes and eating the pellets until it became muscle memory, the joystick an extension of my mind.

I mention this now because we held Rowan’s birthday party (birthday letter to come at some point soon) recently at a local bowling alley, and lo and behold they had a functional Ms. Pac-Man game. Maybe it was even the same one as my original 1983 model. We had handed all the kids a few quarters when I spied the machine. Two of Rowan’s friends were playing (like total amateurs, it has to be said), when I sidled up to them and said, “If you really want to see someone play that game right, you should watch me.”

And they did. And it was awesome — not only because I still have it, which I do, even if the joystick was creaky. It was awesome not because I passed through about five mazes before conceding defeat, cockily devouring four ghosts on a single power pellet at a time.

It was awesome because I was surrounded by a gaggle of admiring nine-year-old boys, who kept saying things like, “You’re so good!” And “She’s amazing!”

And I can tell you that that is probably going to be the only time in my life that a group of nine-year-old boys is going to gather admiringly around me to admire my skill at anything else, ever.

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NaBloPoMo Day 24!