Revenge Fantasy via Atari

8 Sep

atari

 

I can’t remember where we acquired our Atari system when I was a kid.  Probably from a garage sale or someone at the church who felt sorry for the deprived preacher’s kids.  We didn’t have many games.  Just your standards.  Pong, Asteroids, Centipede.  The game that became the vehicle for my pent up adolescent rage was Asteroids.

If you ticked me off at school….BAM.  You were a flying saucer and I was your master.  No mercy.  None at all.  And god forbid the saucer hit me.  Should that have happened, the rage-inducer would be smacked in the back of the head at next sighting.  Even if he was five years old….smack.

My piano teacher was frequently on the receiving end of my rage.  I’d imagine her sitting on top of an asteroid with her creepy chihuahua, Tinkerbell…yelling and pointing her stick at me…screeching, “Quit stealing all my candy and get your wrists up!”  I’d let her scream for a minute…maybe more.  Then BAM.  Obliterated.  I didn’t care if she was elderly.  It mattered not to me.

Sometimes I wouldn’t even need a game.  I’d sit on the burnt orange Naugahyde sofa, joystick in my hand…my pointer finger hovering over the red button.  In my mind, I was in the secret bunker of the White House,  poised to take out an entire country….for as to teach them a lesson.  It was all suspicious  and nail-biting in my head.  Will she or won’t she?  Oh dear LORD I can’t take the suspense!  I would then commence to pounding the red button…rata-tat-tat…over and over….doing my best bomb impression.  Tsfhpfft!  Tsfhpfft!

Now. From the OUTSIDE, I was a weird kid sitting in the dark with an Atari joystick, my eyes closed, beating the crap out of a red button and obviously enjoying every minute of it.  So it shouldn’t have surprised me when my mom picked me up early from school (7th grade) and drove me directly to the psychiatrist’s office for evaluation, anointing and prayer.

Why, if it weren’t for the prayer chain, I’d no doubt be living in a mucky culvert, smoking crack, eating potted meat and Pork ‘n Beans out of a can…with my fingers.

These days, I’m too lazy for revenge fantasies.  I might flip the bird now and then.  Insult someone indirectly on Facebook.  Your basic passive-aggressive stuff.  Nothing exciting like in the Atari days.  Now when I see my daughter playing that sword fighting game on Wii, I imagine who her opponent might be.  Me?  Daddy?  The cat?  The neighbor’s cat?

Perhaps it’s best I don’t know what’s going on inside her head as she wields her mighty sword.  Then I might have to pick her up early from 4th grade and take her straight to the psychiatrist for a mandatory 5150.

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