So I am over at Tommy’s house the other night enjoying the company of what I thought were old friends. A bowl of gumbo, a delicious beet salad, a couple of High Lifes- the world felt right as rain.
Then- after dinner, but before the andouille could find a place to settle, Tommy suggests we play some video games, Skateboarding on the Nintendo Wii to be specific. “Sure” I say, trying to be a good sport even though I find video games tedious. It’s all about enjoying the company of friends really.
Tommy directs me to the center of the living room and instructs me to stand on a platform, “the Wii balance board,” he calls it. I mount the platform with the slightest sense of unease creeping up on me. I would rather play a sitting down video game I think to myself. Still, I am comfortable with board sports and assume I will be carving the halfpipe in no time.
I did not carve the halfpipe in no time. That is because the Nintendo Wii is not a video game at all, but a lifestyle modification device designed to destroy your self-esteem and rebuild you in the preferred image of its makers.
The Wii evaluates your BMI (body mass index) based on the standards of the average small asian people where it was designed. The Wii knows nothing of the Viking.
So- after evaluating my height, weight, balance, and posture post gumbo; the Wii adjusts the physical form of my avatar until I look like fat Charlie Brown. The Wii suggests my healthy target weight is 145 lbs. I used to wrestle at 145 lbs actually. I was in the seventh grade. So now I am 60 lbs away from the perfect me? And here I thought it was 10 lbs away, where it has always been.
Now I am allowed to skateboard, which believe me, I have lost interest in doing. After attempting to master the nuances of pretend skateboarding in the living room, the Wii assigns me a “fitness age.” My fitness age you ask? 55. My actual age? 39.
Now completely shaken and demoralized, I seek nothing but a toilet in which I can deposit the gumbo. Is the Wii done with me? No it is not. It asks if I would like to set some fitness goal for our next “play session.” I decline. It then asks if I will make a commitment to at least “not lose any ground.”
I would have answered “too late” but that was not an option.