Life is one big game of Super Mario Brothers

My brother-in-law pointed it out.

We were talking about how to drive a hybrid car in the most efficient way possible, and noting that even though our efforts didn’t make much of a difference, we couldn’t help but try our best.

I thought it was just an ecological ethos, but I think he had the right of it.

“We were raised on video games; we want the top score.”

Your World Will Never Be The Same!My video game credentials are pretty poor. The last system I played on a regular basis was Sega Genesis, which dates me to about 1992. “Look! Three buttons!”

I’ve played a little playstation 2, and found being a Spartan warrior with swords flying off one’s forearms to be eminently enjoyable, but most modern video games make me yearn for a game of freecell and/or a good book.

In ’92 I liked Mortal Kombat, with 8 characters and half a dozen moves. I tried Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance around 2005 and lasted about five minutes. 22 characters, each with three different fighting styles, 3D movement…I was already nauseous.

I just want to hit C rapidly. Sega hockey was in my wheelhouse.

But that fundamental video game frame of reference persists, and combines well with my OCD tendencies until I have a particular method for most everyday tasks. I don’t have to follow them, I’m not that neurotic, but I prefer to rinse dishes over the other soapy ones so the falling water does half my job for me, and if left to my own devices I will pre-sort the groceries before putting them away so that everything that goes in the refrigerator is laid out within arm’s reach.

The less time the refrigerator door is open, the better score I get.

But one of the cardinal joys of video gaming is harder to find in real life: the level up.

I am in the intermediate stages of teaching myself to juggle, I count that as a level up, but yesterday I received a more tangible example.

My mega-passport and K's normal oneThe customs stamp for Iceland joined one for Morocco on the penultimate page of my passport. The rest are an artwork of ink fading faster than their corresponding memories. With Asia on the horizon, I was out of room.


Three hours of torture in the waiting room of the US Embassy in Brussels, where CNN blared its relentless assault of profane idiocy at us (arguing about Michael Jackson’s doctor? Really? Really?), an $82 fee(!), and I now have a Level 3 passport.


Stamps in my passport.(It was the same price to add 24 pages as 48, so I skipped right over Level 2.)


All those pristine pages…I can’t wait to start putting stamps in there. Think of the XP I will earn!