Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Why read the book when you could play the video game?

Leave it to the internet to combine two of my favorite things: F. Scott Fitzgerald and video games.   That's right, it's The Great Gatsby for NES.  Who's excited?  I know I was.  In fact, I was so excited that I sat and dragged my poor little Nick Carraway through an untold number of "Game Over, Old Sport!"s in front of anyone who cared to see on the first floor of Miller.

I realized two things as I sat there, engrossed in my 8-bit adventure.  The first: I'm not all that great at video games.  Which is all right in any other setting, but I just wanted to find Gatsby in the garden!  Owl Eyes told me he would be there! 

The second: I gained such an odd sense of self-satisfaction, sitting there playing some silly NES game in front of my fellow library patrons.  At a table behind me, one guy was paging through an 8-book stack of history journals.  To my left, a girl was scanning hopelessly through her O-chem text.  And I'm sure somewhere else on the 1st floor, someone was writing a blog for this class with true academic and literary relevance.  But there I was, dodging waiters with martinis without a care in the world.

Maybe it's a little twisted, maybe it's not 100% accurate, but maybe that's what it feels like to be idle rich.  Not only did I have the luxury of a free evening amidst all the laborers and midterm-takers, but I was showing it.  I had it blatantly on my screen that I was done for the night, that I had time to waste and by God, I was going to waste it.  Looking back, I realize that I was actually pretty proud of it, pretty excited to show off my academic security.  All I wished for in the world at that point was to have a cut lawn, an uncut book, and a glass of scotch.  I guess that's part of being part of the idle rich-- with such a lack of real accomplishment, it must be brutally tempting to show off the only thing they do have: their lack.  What good is doing nothing if you don't have anyone to do nothing in front of?

(A side note to the fine patrons of Miller 1st floor: please accept my humblest apologies.  In all honesty, I had two lesson plans to type, half a book to read, a Moodle response due, and a paper to annotate.  Rest assured knowing that my show of academic security and confidence was nothing more than that: a show.  I'm just as doomed for that upcoming midterm as you, friend.  Or as they say, "Game Over, Old Sport!".)

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