Thursday, December 5, 2013

"Obsession is the single most wasteful human activity, because with an obsession you keep coming back and back and back to the same question and never get an answer." OR "Without obsession, life is nothing."*

   Okay so I haven’t been writing on this here blog so much lately. And yes, a lot of that is school-related. But there’s another critical factor that I haven’t mentioned, due to addiction and its related shame: I’m obsessed with Sudoku.
   It started about a year ago when I began finding it too physically taxing to print out crosswords from the New York Times and found I could play Sudoku online. It escalated once I realized that there was a free Sudoku app. It reached critical mass when I found myself playing Sudoku during boring lectures, while watching TV, and while using the bathroom (even just to go pee). I’ve probably played 300 games of Sudoku on my phone this week while “watching” Chopped and Family Ties reruns on Netflix. It’s taken over my life, like so many other things have in the past. I guess I’m an official addictive personality. But such a sad, lame one.
   When we were kids, we weren’t allowed video games at home. But I would spend the night at Em’s every week or so, and while she and James played Nintendo, I played on their sweet-ass, vintage Pinball machine. Video games have always scared me because I hate being chased. Every time I picked up a controller, I started to panic and sweat, thinking a mushroom or a turtle would attack me or I’d fall in a hole. So I didn’t really try, and let myself go down in the first moments, because the stress was too much to handle. I think that’s how I’d behave in real life if I were being chased by a bear or a mugger: I’d run really hard until the panic started to get overwhelming, and then I’d lie down in the fetal position and cry. (This might not be a horrible strategy for the bear scenario.) Solitary games that had little to do with dexterity have always worked best for me: Pinball, Solitaire, Oregon Trail, and crossword puzzles. And now, Sudoku. 
   It’s a disease, though, really, because I devote so much time to it. Nights when I should be writing or drawing, instead I’m trying to beat my Expert Level score while countless episodes of Family Ties play in the background. It’s mind numbing. Initially I thought: hey, I’ll never get dementia! I’m playing a brain game! But now I think that once again I’m just really bored
All the things I might be doing if not for Sudoku.
   It gets worse: sometimes I see that I’ve gotten three answers wrong. If you get four answers wrong, you’ve essentially “lost the game” and you’ve ruined your track record. So when I continue playing after already getting 3 x’s, I feel like I’m really living life on the edge. Just writing that sentence is so profoundly sad.
   Tell me about your addictions so I feel better about myselves. (Freudian? I meant to write “myself” but wrote “myselves.” Hmmm…)

*Okay, so I have two quotes up there. The first is Norman Mailer. The second is John Waters. I will always lean toward John Waters, WHATEVER THE ISSUE, but Mailer has a slight point as well. Eh?