Sunday, May 07, 2017

Everything's Eventual

I don't play nearly the number of video games that I used to. Back in the mid-nineties I wore out my Sega Genesis console. I spent hours, no days, staring at Sonic the Hedgehog as he and his pal Tails zipped from left to right on my Cathode Ray Tube, trying to grab as many gold rings as possible without being bounced by the evil Doctor Robotnik. This compulsion eventually spread to the adventures of Vectorman, whose main objective was to move from left to right, trying to grab as many starry powerups as he could grab without being bounced by the evil Warhead. It all seems hopelessly simple-minded now, of course, since growing up and raising a kid and and starting a career in teaching was so intensely more complex.
Which was part of the charm, of course. There was a calm and reassuring quality to those video game interactions. My skills were such that I could sit down and launch myself into that linear world for a break from all that three-dimensional thinking for the time it took to forget about some of it. And if the going got really tough, there was always the reset button.
All of these memories are what came rushing back to me as I considered the idea of a "good shutdown" of the U.S. government. What if there was such a thing? "President" Trump issued this edict, as most of his pronouncements come, from his Twitter account. Then it was the job of his minions to scurry about, screeching, "What he meant was..."
I know what he meant. When things are going bad, and you're about to be bounced by some evil adversary who means to take your rings or your powerpoints, push the reset button. What's the worst that could happen? Sure, you'll have to start over again at the beginning. You'll have to endure all those boring initial levels of training and preparation for that eventual confrontation. The difference here, as I see it, is the collateral damage that would be done by hitting the government reset button. All those little bunnies and mushrooms that depend on Sonic to free them from robot bondage are sixteen-bit figments of someone's imagination. They are not employees and their very real families depending on a paycheck to keep food on their table and a roof over their heads. Congress can take a week or two back in their home districts to soak up some of the abuse that would most likely be heaped upon them for not doing their job: keeping the government running.
What kind of president do we have currently? He's the kind of guy who would toss his controller across the room and blame the equipment.

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