COD ghosts

Nate deftly navigated the video game war scenario in front of us, his reactions amazing to me as he ducked and dropped and outgunned the opponents that flew at him from their hiding places while he navigated the freight yard.  Not only is he skilled, but the ability my son possesses to make lightning quick decisions, smartly anticipated moves, show me a natural intelligence he often fails to show me, his teen indifference the buffer.  The kid is sharp.  If he showed the same kind of skills in other areas of his life besides playing video games like Call of Duty, his future is bright.  I ponder that for a moment as Nate maneuvers the game controller to shoot one soldier in front of him, the bullets from the opponent’s gun blazing past him, simultaneously rolling to shoot the opponent behind him, then shooting another would be destroyer perched in a window above.

I do not want to lecture Nate about life during these moments.  Maybe I could ask him to notice what he is able to do during those games, but for us it is about enjoying the games together, my normally very teenage son taking pride that his father is a gamer.  He actually tells his friends that.  The fact that it is only partially true does not matter.  I like playing the first person shooter games like Call of Duty, really the only game I play on a regular basis, keenly aware of why I enjoy the game — I am a boy.  Boys like guns.  They like playing army.  Call of Duty is playing army in the best way possibly imaginable.  When I was a boy, playing army was something my neighborhood friends did all summer, but we had to wait until everyone was able to come out or quit when it was dinnertime or time to come inside because it was dark.  Now, because the game can be played online it can be played any time, without knocking on doors to see if my friends can come outside.  Nate has his own version of that, however, his friends contacts on his online account.  He looks them up and invites them by instant message to a game.

Gun games.  Army.  The language of boys.  Competition at the touch of our fingertips.

I could quit writing this blog entry right here.

The girls don’t understand.  Those violent video games are disgusting.  Why do you guys want to play those games?  Aren’t they ruining your mind, making you more aggressive?

If that were the case Nate and I would have drawn and quartered Miriam many times as a reaction to her constant distracting critique as we play, asking those same questions over and over again out loud, ad nauseum.  Rarely does she get more of a reaction than a roll of the eyes and ‘Really?’.

The girls really don’t get it.  They criticize our disgusting, violent, competitive natures that crave those shoot ’em up, blow ’em up games.  I could say that they simply don’t understand the guys, but that really is not the main issue.  What they really don’t understand is the nature of competition, that competition is not a male trait.

It is a human trait.

Do I even need to make a case?  Girls compete.  I have a seventeen year old daughter.  Oh, they don’t beat each other up on the sports field, don’t play games with toy guns, although some do.  No.  They are worse, meaner than most boys, their competition mental and emotional.  Competition is made worse by standards set up in teen magazines, movies, books, even lyrics in Taylor Swift songs.

But you don’t see guys standing over their girls while they watch Mean Girls for the twentieth time, asking over and over again ‘Why do you want to do that?’……