So the Obama administration is presently hemorrhaging classified information courtesy of WikiLeaks, the Bush administration is doing so posthumously, the earth’s crust is hemorrhaging oil, and Tom Vilsack is simply battling an embarrassing case of hemorrhoids after/during the stress of the Shirley Sherrod debacle. Those are the big stories at the moment, but in true form for a real live Twenty-First Century Narcissist, I’m not really thinking about all that right now.
Something terrible happened on Sunday at Dave & Buster’s… I lost.
In and of itself, losing is not a rarity in my life though I am, in general, more accustomed to winning. But on Sunday evening, I lost in a big way. I lost at everything. Even now, my ego hasn’t restored itself, nor will the chasm be sated or filled by gobbling up Scrabble wins and cheap, trivial victories. The merciless drubbings I received left me pithed like a dissected frog against a lab mat, immobile and dumb, twitching violently, wanting for an elusive victory at something, anything.
First, I absorbed two straight losses at what was essentially a free throw competition — something I don’t believe I’d ever lost until two nights ago — and then a demoralizing defeat at the Super Shot basketball game. I was put away handily on the air hockey table by a score of 7-2, at the trivia board three straight times in a row, and I managed to die before my partner in two co-op campaigns on Terminator: Salvation and House of the Dead 4. I am still surprised I avoided making a hellish scene and tearing some poor child’s arms off in a rabid, ego-fueled frenzy. There is nothing that incites a petulant rage quite like the perturbation of the competitive spirit, and in my twenty-six years of competing at various events, I have never taken the prospect lightly, which has cost me more than one enjoyable evening playing Taboo or Risk with friends. (The two remaining teams in a game of risk cannot enter into an alliance with the intention of ending the game in a truce when other armies have been exhausted. The game must be played to the death. The incident that spawned this aside happened nearly two years ago and serves as a cautionary tale to all Risk players that treaty restrictions must be stipulated before the game, and in the interest of competition, alliances should generally be disallowed.) I did manage to win the Daytona racing game, but there isn’t much satisfaction in placing first when the difficulty is set to Easy, the transmission to Automatic, and the game itself is a subpar racer made by SEGA in 1994.
Whether this rage is the justifiable product of primate evolution or a pathetic shard of the male ego still buried in my amygdala (probably both), I almost never see the point in playing “for fun”. Playing for fun is playing to win, and the fun comes as a by-product of real competition, not half-assed lollygagging through a novel activity. I don’t want any mealy-mouthed “the fun is in the journey” platitudes either. The journey isn’t fun unless you care about the destination, and if you don’t care about the destination, why take the journey? This isn’t to say that I’m always an unreasonable loser, but most people who know will probably tell you that I’m certainly not a tranquil one. I’d be loath to disagree with them publicly and at the risk of self-delusion.
But that’s just one asshole’s opinion, a maligned philosophy that emanates from a severely wounded ego, and if you must know, while I’d been planning to post on the site for a few days now, the only reason I got around to it this afternoon is because Master Gorman needled me this morning and pointed out that he was beating me easily in the post ratio.
Trust me, I’m bordering on illiterate right now as I’ve been staring dumbly at this computer screen for going on six hours with very little to do but ponder the slow waste of the world, the burden of being a vile loser, and the long-term implications of muscle atrophy. I am in no condition to be blogging, and if you were looking for, you know, information, you’ve caught me on the wrong day. If you catch me on the right day, you might get to read some better dressed gibberish, more eloquent bullshit. You might not be subjected to such public conceit. (Neil, there will be actual content next time. I promise.)
So for now, it’s time to suck down my private devastation and try to see the bigger picture. Stare into the Hubble Deep Field image I’ve now made my desktop wallpaper and contemplate smallness for awhile. Make this nightmare seem mercifully silly.
This article is cross-posted at Foolish Human.