Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Lessons From A Blue Hedgehog

I used to play more video games. Before I became a father and began to feel the evil time-suck that robs all who fall under their spell of their free will and self-determination. Back then I really liked sitting on the couch with my jaw slightly agape, flinching when the movements generated by my thumbs brought unexpected results on the screen. I spent many happy hours trying to beat a particular level or competing for bonus points in a virtual world in which I was a puppetmaster. I knew that at the end of the day, when my eyes were tired and the console was overheated, I knew that tomorrow was another day and the lives I had lost could be mine again just by turning the machine on one more time.
The video game that occupied a great chunk of my life in the early nineties was Sonic The Hedgehog. I  learned a lot of important life lessons from that whirling blue speed demon. Most importantly, he reinforced a foundation principle in my life: Going from right to left as fast as you can is important while picking up as many golden rings as possible. Sonic and I share this work ethic. Depending on your perspective, I am always going from left to right and picking up the odd gold ring and loose change from the street. Sometimes I feel stuck in the rut of one particular level or set of circumstances, which gives me the opportunity to go back and find that one spring or trap door that I may have missed somewhere along the line. In all those runs, I don't know if I ever managed to grab every single one of the rings in front of me. I don't know if anyone ever really gets all the rings in front of them.
I also learned the importance of friends. Going from left to right as fast as you can picking up as many gold rings as possible is a whole lot easier when you have more hands. Having Tails by your side really helps maximize the rings and increases your chances of success. Having a partner in your left to right adventures is invaluable.
And no matter how difficult the boss at the end of the episode is, you will always be able to bounce back if you've got at least one golden ring. Don't go into a fight empty handed. And if you get squashed, remember the reset button.

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