I’m worried about my brain. My body? Not so much. Sure, it’s chubby and spongey and my joints sound like bubble wrap in the a.m., but the women in my family tend to chug on and on and on like paunchy little Energizer bunnies that last for freaking ever so yay, right?
Their brains, however? Not so much.
To stem my future foray as a living, breathing fruit noodle, I’ve embraced a plan I like to call the Better Brain for Robby Plan. If you occasionally read health articles at one in the morning because your aging bladder confuses the toilet for your bedroom too then you also know the best way to keep that brain alive and kicking is to challenge it, the harder, the better.
More specifically, Call of Duty BlackOps Four.
Actually, this plan also checks off a box in my Better Relationship with My Baby Plan too, as my sexy, studly life partner, Daren, is a level-four-million apex predator who can often be found stalking fresh meat in the Alcatraz game portal. Learning to play – and play with him – was a no brainer.
Oh, BTW, did I mention I haven’t touched a controller in, like, a decade? H’mmm…what could possibly go wrong?
I’ve read that, for some, the appeal of these games lies in the ability to leave reality behind and be a different person. Like Steve Austin from the Six Million Dollar Man, better, faster, stronger.
My level one newbie avatar can barely run a straight line, much less simultaneously punch and jump through a window while also fragging three other dudes. I can look right or I can look left, but I can’t look left and also up while running in a straight line and don’t even get me started on shooting and who put that freaking fence in my way, son of a bitch!!!???
Daren can not only bust out that window while jumping through it, he can also take out a squadron, loot their bags, launch a sensor dart, cover his buddies’ backs, and skirt the white line of death while also occasionally rocking an ammo belt/kilt combo that highlights his electronically muscle-bound thighs to perfection.
Give me a sec…I’m picturing it…
Meanwhile, my online twin is aimlessly plodding back and forth into a non-existent wall because I still can’t jump through this imaginary freaking window without getting shot in the back by an eight-year-old with poor grammar and an impressive potty mouth.
The little shit…
In the world of Xbox, I’m the fresh meat people like Daren and the eight-year-old take out in two minutes flat. My online avatar has fallen off roofs, flailed into my own friendly fire, been run over by multiple online vehicles, shot while UNDER water, tried to escape a zombie – that’s right, there are zombies – only to run into an ENTIRE zombie horde, and my poor little simulated bitch even got sliced by another guy’s razor wire – which, BTW, doesn’t even move. Seriously, stationary objects are ripping me a new one and often. And, if the white line of death even flits in my general direction, I panic to the point of voluntarily running into someone else’s cluster grenades. Not to mention more zombies.
I’m an online disaster.
For Daren, it can be a real patience tester. Bless his pea-picking heart. But I think our relationship is stronger now, partly because of all the practice we’ve gotten from shouting things at each other like, “Which floor are you on again?” and “Your mic is off…no off…okay muted……it’s muted…UNMUTE your freaking mic!!!…and “I AM trying to get into the f*cking car!” and “You took my controller batteries, are you kidding me???”
And, the other thing is, where my brain is concerned, I think it’s working there too. This game is HARD, unbelievably hard. The multi-tasking involved is off the charts. And it’s so freaking fun when we’re not screaming at each other! Plus, slowly but surely, I’m getting a wee bit better.
I once accidentally landed on another dude while parachuting into the map and – get this – I KILLED HIM WITH MY FANTASY FISTS OF FURY! I confused him with my level one chaos! I didn’t even know what I was doing or how it even happened – I was frantically hitting levers and moving the joystick while screaming in tongues – but I did it! I got my first kill.
I swell’eth with pride.
Sure, I have a long way to go and many more levels to master, but it’s all downhill from here, right?