Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I am a prisoner of ... mindless idling

Today, we kick back. Or, at least, we kick back here. There's plenty to keep me busy. I have a myriad of things to do ... work on the novel I've been trying to write forever ... work on establishing this blog ... clean the kitchen after breakfast ... go out for a walk ... somehow manage to fit work into all of this ...

But I think I'll put all that stuff off for a few minutes and check out what's happening on Facebook. Or maybe I'll go onto the other internet sites I peruse -- and play on -- daily.

Maybe I'll find some friends to chat with. Perhaps someone will have posted pictures that either amuse me, or jog my memory about things I've long ago forgotten.

Could be that I get on one of those Pathwords jags that just won't let go of me. Somehow, I think Pathwords is an addiction worse than nicotine. You could probably same the same about all these internet games. You can hop on the internet after supper and easily waste an entire evening playing Bejeweled, or some other mindless game. Next thing you know, it's 1 a.m. and your eyes feel like someone poured a bucket of sand in them.

I vowed I'd never get too wrapped up in Facebook. I'm 57 (or will be later this summer). I'm mature. I missed the whole MySpace thing, even though people sang its praises for years before I'd even heard of it.

About the only thing I ever knew about MySpace was that every time some stupid kid -- almost always an athlete -- went to a party, and decided he was going to drink, someone snapped a picture of him with a beer in his hand and put it up on MySpace.

Next thing you knew, the principal of his school -- who just happened to be perusing the site himself, apparently -- found out about it and whacked the kid with the mandatory state-required suspension from all things jock.

And I had to end up writing about it. Which, by the way, is something I truly hate to do. But fair is fair. If teenagers are going to accept the eclats, then they have to accept the brickbats with equal grace. Life isn't a one-way street, and along with the glory comes responsibility.

But back to mindless idling, which is what this is really about.

Last night, for example, I wanted to write this blog item and get it done, because I have an early game to cover today. I also have to do my weekly expense report for work. But I blew it off. Why? Pathwords.

I developed an addiction to Pathwords over a year ago, fueled by friendly (?) competition with two Facebook friends -- Nancy Jones from work and Karen McConnell, who lives in Alberta, and who is my absolute favorite Hockey Talk Woman.

Now, just relax, everyone. Karen is a fine, upstanding woman who loves Canada, the McKenzie Brothers and hockey. She once sent me, as a Christmas present, a coffee mug decorated with the type of outrageous outfits that Don Cherry (erstwhile coach of the Boston Bruins and current Hockey Night in Canada color(ful) analyst) usually wears on the air.

I should interrupt here to say that I had more fun covering "Grapes," (as he was called), and his Bruins, than I've had covering any other professional sports coach, or team, in Boston -- and that includes Larry Bird's Celtics and the Red Sox team that finally broke the "Curse of the Bambino."

Said mug got me through the weeks after my gastric bypass surgery when all I could do was drink bullion broth, decaf coffee with the skimmest of the skim milk, and water laced with Crystal Lite. So when I say Karen is my favorite Hockey Talk Woman, I am channeling my gratitude for her thoughtfulness as much as I'm channeling my inner Mick and Keith.

Anyway, Karen got me started on Pathwords (remind me to thank her), and she may as well have taught me to smoke (I did that all on my own, though ... though not in years). She challenged me to a game (or five, or 10), and whipped my ass every time.

I'm sorry to say I'm not one to accept losing gracefully. I am very old school in that regard. I grew up with a kid named Dickie Mariano, who used to stomp around the house making strange, almost guttural, noises when someone would even beat him in Monopoly. For lack of a better term for it, my other friend back then, Eddie McDonald, used to call it "bimping."

Sad to say, I bimp too. Especially when the Red Sox lose. In fact, I disgust my family when I do it. I also amuse my friends, who only see that deranged side of me when the Sox are losing -- and especially if they're losing spectacularly (and by that I don't mean 10-2 as much when they do something monumentally stupid, or the blow a lead).

I bimped plenty when Karen would beat my ass in Pathwords. But then I figured out that you could play Pathwords by yourself (I'll refrain from using any more double entendres here, lest you take your undivided focus off the topic of mindless idling) and, boy, did I go to town.

And boy, did SHE, go to town. For a while, we'd leapfrog over each other as we both got better and better at it. Then, she stopped playing it ... going on to bigger and better things, I'd imagine (such as posting pictures of the Moose that invade her property ... beautiful pictures, by the way).

Ahh, but then, Nancy Jones got into the act (proving, for those who remember him, that Jimmy Durante was right). In the beginning, Nancy was absolutely no competition. But then SHE got the hang of it, and all of a sudden, it was the three of us -- Karen, Nancy and myself, leapfrogging over each other. Karen and Nancy do not know the other exists. They are on MY list of friends and, at the moment, I'm wedged between them in the pecking order. Nancy is first, with 1,520 points. I'm second, with 1,330; Karen is next with 1,250 and my cousin Ruth Bobzin is right behind with 1,240.

I have no idea how Nancy jumped all the way up to the top like that. But she decided, probably for her own mental health, to retire as the champion. Karen doesn't play anymore either. In fact, as I started getting really competitive with the game, she emailed me and told me to "give it a rest."

I took that to mean she was pissed off that I was getting as good at the game as she was. (Just kidding, Hockey Talk Woman).

For a while, I stopped playing too. Facebook keeps reinventing itself (not always for the better ... well, hardly EVER for the better), and, for a while, it took longer and longer to load the game. Then, my mouse started showing signs of wear and tear, and could no longer navigate the game board as nimbly as it once could.

Since I'm the type of guy who will wait until there are two holes (let alone one) on the bottoms of my sneakers before I'll break down and get a new pair, you can probably deduce that I dealt with the mouse, warts and all, long after I should have traded it in for a newer model (this should surprise people at work, because there, since it has to be used to facilitate all sorts of desktop publishing functions, I am very impatient when the mouse gets sluggish).

But then, for Father's Day last year, my son bought me a wireless mouse and a keyboard. And in no time at all, I got back into playing it.

So there I was last night, Pathwording when I should have been blogging ... or, at least, budgeting. Which is why I got up at the crack of dawn today to fulfill my commitment of doing one of these a day.

Thankfully, it's done. Now ... onto filing expense reports.

How exciting.

1 comment:

Karen said...

You have no idea how many hours I spent (with double espressos in my Don Cherry mug) trying to beat you before I told you to give it a rest. Now *that's* what I call bimping! ;-)

Great blog BTW.