Game over! The diary of a crushed & broken man
It wasn’t always like this. Once, years ago, I had freedom, I had time, I had joy in my life! I had my own money, my own mancave to retreat to, I had my life in order. But it all changed with what I refer to as the “spawning” – the start of the dark times...
It’s our own fault. We let these little whirlwinds of destruction and chaos into our own home. We’re the ones that got ourselves mixed up in ritualistic sex practices – timed with the waxing and waning of the moon, or “ovulation”. Whatever that is. I only have myself to blame for what I have become.
I am nothing like I was in my prime – a “pro” gamer, pwning noobs on the battlefield, stalking through (virtual) broken cities and landscapes popping caps and taking names like Death himself – “360 NO SCOPE FTW U FKN NOOBS!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
I was voracious scholar, hungrily consuming books and movies and TV shows in the quest for knowledge and self-betterment. It was ME who studied the dark arts of cooking meth and delicious chicken (ala Los Pollos Hermanos) by binge watching 7 seasons of Breaking Bad over three weeks! It was ME who considered buying a Harley Davidson and wearing a leather jacket because I wasn’t just watching Sons of Anarchy – I WAS LIVING IT!
Even my mind is not my own these days – dulled by lack of sleep, inexplicably altered by the dark magics these little bundles of joy wield. Where is the hunger I had for my Xbox? Where is the desire I had to drink, and eat with my friends long into the night? They have changed the very being of me these little rotten crotch fruit of mine!
Now, even as I write this semi-autobiographical director’s cut, extended version obituary, I am nervous and shaking – how long before I hear the sliding door to the mancave open and a high-pitched voice call me by the mocking title they have bestowed upon me: “Daddy”.
It’s only a short leap from there to “Deaddy” I tell you.
The wind blows and a branch from the tree outside brushes up against the mancave wall – I flinch reflexively and after a tense moment I let out an exhale of breath. I’m wound tightly as a spring these days. From which direction will pooh be flung at me this time? Will it even be pooh? Will the angelic small one crawl up to me, hypnotising me with her beatific smile only to vomit on my shirt and pants once I’ve picked her up?
Or will she simply smear my work pants with peanut butter five minutes before I am due to leave and catch my bus to work? Or will it be banana this time? She is a most clever little cherub this one.
I am always on alert.
But I am tired!
I sleep clinging to a sliver of my super king size bed because the doppelganger (the oldest of the spawn who has assumed the looks of a much younger me in what I can only assume is an attempt to slowly usurp my position as head of the family) has staked a claim upon our bed. He sleeps with his little three-year-old feet planted firmly in the small of my back. When I roll over to sleep on my back, he flings his feet into the air, bringing his little flesh hammer heels down, precisely targeting the most vulnerable and sensitive parts of me in the middle of the night.
He claims it is because he doesn’t want the blankets over him and is only trying to kick them off, but I suspect it is because he wishes me impotent and incapable of reproducing – further cementing his position in the social ladder that is our demented little family.
Furthermore, the doppelganger studies me, hoping to simultaneously unlock the secrets of my past times and crush my spirits. When I’m in the mancave watching a show on my computer, or playing a game, he insinuates himself between me and the keyboard, settling himself up on to my knee so he can better see what I am doing.
I find this, at first, endearing that he would wish to spend time with me in such a way. Perhaps we can come to an understanding of sorts? Perhaps there can be peace between our two peoples?
But no sooner than my guard has been let down, he roars with childish delight and smears his hands across the keyboard – ruining my game at a critical moment! He lifts himself up, foot coming down upon my groin (yet again) and leans forward to pick up some trinket of mine (a treasured cricket ball from the past, a deluxe Walking Dead action figure I keep on my desk – things that little greasy fingers shouldn’t be touching!), or he demands to watch Paw Patrol or Fireman Sam on my computer while I’m trying to get some sort of important work task done.
Outdoors, I often spy the little doppelganger hanging out on the deck, watching me mow lawns. Sometimes he will bring me the rake, or a spade to assist in my duties and again, like a damned fool, I lower my guard and accept his offer of help, thinking perhaps shared labour will form some sort of bond between us. But this time he turns suddenly, acting as if he had been distracted and swings the end of the rake full into my groin – again!
I topple over. Beaten. Broken. Crying.
As I look up, tears streaming from my eyes, I see the shadow of my son’s face loom over me, silhouetted by the sun.
“What are you doing down there Daddy?”
Between gasps I respond; “Oh, Daddy’s just taking a rest buddy.”
He scampers off, yelling “Come on Dad, let’s get the hose out!”
And I know I’m in for a soaking…..
Yes. I used to have time to go and get the latest game and play to my hearts content.
Yes, I used to have time in the world to watch all the TV shows I could handle.
And yes, I used to sleep in until the wife would throw a pile of clothes on me at 10 or 11am on a Saturday morning.
But my priorities have changed since having kids. You do learn to adapt the past times you enjoy around the kids you love – because it is important to still make time for yourself.
For example, I do enjoy a little gaming here and there, but now it’s a much more casual, pick up and put down affair. And with Netflix and keeping up with the latest shows etc…TV is a much more “consume on demand” industry that I can easily catch up on two or three episodes at a time if I get behind.
Since I found Audible, I have a much easier, effective way of consuming books – something I have recently fell back in love with. Reconnecting with old stories you read on paper as a child, or discovering new fictional epics is a much easier prospect when it is as simple as putting headphones on and pressing play on your mobile phone while you ride the bus to work or whenever you have five minutes spare to yourself.
As for drinking – yes, things certainly have slowed down there. I recently attended a wedding and this kids stayed the night at the in laws. We didn’t get them back till after lunch and so I was deliciously hung over and enjoyed a rare sleep in till 10am. But I missed those little ratbags! It wasn’t really much fun sleeping in without having little Mr Doppleganger cuddle up close and talk to me about life as a three year old. So now, a late night might be staying out after work for a few hours and enjoying a few drinks with friends. That’s how having kids changes things, for me at least. I don’t even miss the things I used to spend my time on.
I guess the point of this post is this: it’s interesting to compare life pre and post kids. If you’re a gamer, avid watcher of movies and TV, like to go out late, or stay up doing your own thing and are wondering how on earth you would fit having kids into your life… I wouldn’t worry about it.
Having kids is a rewarding and challenging RPG in itself and fundamentally changes your priorities. It changes who you are in a way. So those things you really valued pre kids, just seem a lot less important.
Besides, those two little characters I created are more entertaining and tell a more compelling story than anything I ever encountered online.
TL;DR: Game over bitches.