Tuesday, May 23, 2006

If Old Is Just A State Of Mind, Why Is My Beard Turning Grey? 

Wil Wheaton is here. You are not.

So I'm flipping through the Onion AV Club, because it's Tuesday night and Tuesday night means new Onion material, and I hit the feature article, which is basically Wil Wheaton gushing about the E3 conference (The Electronic Entertainment Expo, which is a gamer's wet dream), wherein I come to the following passage:
The Guitar Hero craze has hit 33-year-olds like me with the same fervor and intensity of the Pokémon craze hitting our children five years ago.
And the part of my brain that was halfheartedly interested in the cultural ramifications of a video game that, essentially, combines air guitar and karaoke -- which is ultimately about as exciting as it sounds -- is suddenly obliterated by the realization that Wil Wheaton! The kid from Star Trek! The peasized hero of Stand By Me! Is 33!

Yes, Wil Wheaton, child actor turned blogosphere darling, is the same age as me. And there he is in one of the hippest satirespots on the Internet, gushing about the E3 conference and how he showed up without press credentials and now he's watching Tony Hawk skate a fifteen foot halfpipe.

Meanwhile, I met Tony Hawk in Egypt when we were both in high school. He was already slapping his name on sneakers and boards. I had my hair cut to look like Duran Duran.

Tony and Wil, Wil and Tony. They're my generation, them and Snoop Dog and a whole host of the other culturally ageless, and they're so much cooler than me. I mean, here I am nursing a pinched nerve after a long day at the workplace amidst high anxiety pinkslip rumors, typing this amidst the destroyed livingroom leavings of a traditional nuclear family. We don't even have TV, my wife is putting the kids to bed upstairs, I blog too much about my lawn and my kids, it's like I'm a stereotype of adulthood, and there's Wil Wheaton getting paid to write about video games. Or not getting paid, I suppose, which is worse.

Not that I actually want to be at E3 -- indie music-and-film fest SXSW is more my style. And I realize that it's my own choices, the ones I continue to make because they're right and good and amazingly worth it, that keeps me here releasing turtles into the wild with small children instead of on the road with String Cheese Incident. But you get the point.

The top five things I missed doing, and now it's too late: Bonnaroo, skydiving, driving from one coast to the other in a beat up old car with a good friend, two other things I'd mention here if my students didn't read this blog.

Someone will surely point out here that I can do these things (well, the first three) if I want, and nothing's stopping me. But something is.


See, here's the difference between me and the rich and famous: they can still take off for conferences, and I choose not to.

In the end, Wil tempers his own article with a similar point, though his features a phone call from his wife and plumbing repairs. He ends up making some inane point about how games (like the conference itself) are there to give release from the mundane world. His tagline bio, at article's end:

Wil Wheaton mows his lawn on Sunday mornings, and rocks out to Guitar Hero every night.

But Wil is laying it on thick, and he's not fooling anyone playing the "I'm old and married and boring" card at the E3 conference with Tony Hawk. My lawn looks like mange. My house is a mess. I'm not writing an article for the Onion. I would never leave my wife home while I went to a conference unless I was going to be home for supper. The rest of us don't get to go to the front of the line.

[Two caveats:

First, that I must not be that old, because I keep giggling when I look down at my life insurance form and seeing AD&D Benefits (Benefit 1: you know how to handle a mace-wielding Orc, should the need ever arise).

And second, I've been rereading High Fidelity, and I think both language and tone are getting to me. Does it show?]

posted by boyhowdy | 8:20 PM |

You want to be as cool as Wil Wheaton?

Um - since when was Willy Wheat squares ever cool?
The De-Hornbyfying process can be tricky. You either have to read something very, very interesting written by an actual grown-up (This is getting harder and harder to do since they don't seem to be making actual grown-ups anymore.) or, you have to read something just as stylized as Hornby, but in a different voice (Maybe some Neal Stephenson?).

In any event, I wish you luck amid the chaos.
I wasn't sure how else to contact you (also unsure how anonymous this blog is, hence lack of full name). I recall that a few months ago you posted that your ipod was MIA, including a recording of your baby's first cry. I don't know how much you ever recovered, but while kicking around one of the computers in the media center, I found some of your old recordings, including that one! If you still don't have it, I can send it to you. Drop me a line either way. The address is still sturdy_knight@nmhschool.org, but not for very much longer. Hasta la vista,
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