A couple weeks ago I bought my kids the newest Legend of Zelda video game, because I was thinking how we just don't waste as much time as we should. Also, I was thinking how I want my kids to grow and develop into maladroits who struggle to form meaningful connections with anything that isn't made of television pixels. So, I thought, two birds, one stone. Bam. Easy call.
I am not going to paint a rosy picture for you, like we all just play Zelda and love each other and everything's fine. I mean, Zelda's hard. My son plays after school when I'm still at work, and my four year-old daughter watches him, then, later, when I sit down to play for a few minutes, my daughter is like, "Buy the slingshot," "Next you have to find the monkey," "Give that cat a fish and it leads you to a bunch of rupees," and I'm like, "Dude, I can figure it out for myself, okay? I'm 37 years old. Gosh." Then, later, after I can't figure it out, I'm like, "Violet. Where's the monkey. Tell me where the monkey is."
Probably the best times of my life have come while playing Zelda. For Christmas in 1986, I really wanted a Nintendo, but my parents were still stuck in the 70s they bought me an Atari and 8-track of the Bay City Rollers. I cried and broke things. My friend Curtis's parents, however, bought him a Nintendo AND the Legend of Zelda, because they were employed. I don't remember Curtis ever actually letting me hold the controller, but I watched him play Zelda for a solid six months, which, looking back, was super pathetic.
Later, my parents actually bought me a Nintendo after I punched a kid at school and blamed it on my violent Atari games, like Combat and Food Fight. The next Christmas, to prove that she had burned and buried the 1970s, my mom somehow secured a copy of Zelda II: the Adventures of Link, which was so sought-after that Christmas that Mom had to sell her kneecaps to get it, which was no big deal because Mom didn't use her kneecaps very much anyhow. Zelda II was really hard. I never did beat it, even though I often locked myself in the laundry room with our rotary phone and repeatedly called the Ninendo game cheats toll hotline. When my mom got the phone bill, she had some choice words for me, like "cannibalize" and "my offspring" and "if I still had kneecaps."
Once when we were playing Zelda, my friend Curtis's mom told us to "shut off that video game, NOW!" And we were like, "Dude, Curtis's Mom, just two more minutes! We've got to beat the triceratops boss!" And she was like, "If you don't turn it off I will turn it off for you!" And we were like, "Just, like, 45 more seconds! We've got triceratops boss on the ropes!" And then she stomped in and UNPLUGGED THE NINTENDO!! And me and Curtis were like, "You don't love us!" And Curtis told me between sobs, he told me, "It doesn't make sense when you say it, because she's not your mom so obviously she doesn't love you," and I was like, "Riiiiiiiight, that's true," so I just went home.
And now life has come full circle. A couple of days ago I told my son, I says, "Turn off Zelda, NOW!" And he was like, "Dad, bro! Two more minutes! I need to beat the troll boss!" And I was like, "I will unplug that stupid machine if you don't turn it OFF!" And he was like, "Just, like, give me a minute dad, this is important!" And I was like, "I'll SHOW you important!!" But then I remembered the pain and despair of losing all of that unsaved Zelda progress so many years ago, the waves of wanting to die, or get a Happy Meal, and I felt a rare pang of mercy. So I was like, "OK, fine, murder that stupid troll and then brush your stupid TEETH!!" because I like to capitalize one word of every sentence I speak. And that's how much Zelda means to me. Exactly one blog post.