by Joe Buonfiglio

Summertime.  The time when the warmth of the sun makes you yearn for sipping an ice-cold Hurricane at Pat O’Brien’s in New Orleans.  The time when you can’t wait to sit on a boat out in the middle of the bay, a cold one in one hand and a fishing pole in the other … and you can’t even remember if you put bait on the line … and you don’t really care whether you did or not.  But more importantly, it is the time when you incessantly scream at your teenager to get a fucking job!  Because if he spends one more day gaming for ten hours straight, you’re going to find the nearest stuffed animal depicting a beloved Disney character and shove it so far up his ass, he’ll never get the taste of 101 Dalmatians out of his mouth.

So there he is; taking up residence in the living room while exhibiting his skill at sitting glassy-eyed before the screen delivering his obsession for so long that he’s actually excavating an ass-sized pit in the sofa and … well … everyone knows that’s supposed to be my job from now until after the Super Bowl.  (In our family, it’s more of a division of vices than a division of labor.)

And so, as my son stares deeply into the dusty glass of the esteemed Samsung TV as he moves his thumbs about the gaming controller as if he’s wrestling them professionally in a one-man cage match, he notes in the most annoyingly droning monotone, “You just don’t get it, old man.”

Okay, first of all, “old man”?  OLD MAN!  Fuck you nicely, my obscene progeny.  But secondly, was he right?  I mean I like killing virtual things from the safety of a comfy couch as much as the next guy.  And while the gun laws at the time of this writing here in North Carolina probably give me the right to shoot a real gun at real things while relaxing in the threadbare pleasure of a La-Z-Boy recliner I’m almost certain has been in our family since the Civil War; I have to admit that there is something quite wonderful — even therapeutic — about the delicious violence experienced via the pseudo-reality of the gamer’s world.

However, ten hours straight?  In essence, virtually nonstop binge-gaming?  Is that really enjoyable?  Hell, there has to be some sort of health-code violation there, right?

Gaming for freakin’ ten hours?  Seriously?  If I was to even contemplate stepping into my teenager’s shoes in order to give fair consideration to the virtues and merits of marathon gaming, I’d have to paint it with a much broader brush before subjecting myself to the potential mental-health risks associated with such activity.

Therefore, I asked myself, “Is there anything — ANYTHING — I like to do for ten hours consecutively?”

I LOVE TO EAT, BUT ten hours straight of caloric mainlining seems as if more of a competition than a delightful meal plan.  I’m not sure if you can even find an all-you-can-eat joint that stays open for ten hours straight … you know … outside of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  Even the large Italian-family gatherings of my youth could only muster six or seven hours max of perpetual face-stuffing before everyone passed out until the next holiday.  Ten hours would be considered vulgar, even dangerous, by even those enamored with my grandmother’s superheated-kitchen extravaganzas of culinary overreach.  Graced with the vomitoriums of ancient Rome, Caligula himself would still not enjoy ten consecutive hours of feasting.  Orgies are one thing, but I must draw the line at “gorgies.”

And speaking of orgies…

I LOVE SEX, BUT ten straight hours seem more like an Ironman competition than a pleasurable intimacy shared with your significant other.  It wouldn’t be so much a fun little erogenous romp as a marine boot-camp exercise at Parris Island.  You and your partner don’t want to make yourself so sore as to necessitate sticking your private bits into Tupperware filled with crushed ice.

Ten hours of The Nasty would make an Olympian cry.  No, thank you!

I LOVE TELEVISION, BUT going for The Big Ten — even in binge-watching mode — would probably burn out my corneas.  Even if I watched all three Godfather movies in a row, that’s only 8 hours and 57 minutes in total. I mean, what the fuck?  I LOVE The Godfather, but I’d whack myself by the end of that night.

Ten hours of the boob tube?  I’ll pass.

I LOVE DRINKING, BUT putting back whiskey for a solid ten hours?  Even my Irish in-laws would frown upon that kind of drinking.  The last time I tried pulling a stunt even coming close to that, I wound up passed out in my ill-parked pickup with a squirrel eating the vomit off my dashboard and shitting all over my new fuzzy dice.  (The rodent did the shitting, not me…. … … I think.)  I haven’t had a Manhattan since.

One time, I found myself so absurdly inebriated that I was alternating between humping and hurling into a large knot in an oak tree down the street from my sister-in-laws’ place as a result of a colossally spirits-fueled act of self-abuse.  I had to have my wife drive me home over Florida’s Sunshine Skyway Bridge, my face shoved into a pot while she wrathfully explained to a tollbooth operator, “No, I don’t know if the halfwit son of a bitch is all right and, quite frankly, I don’t care.”

Ten hours of binge drinking?  Never again, my friend!

I LOVE A LOT OF THINGS, BUT I’m sure as hell not going to do them for ten hours!  Gambling, good cigars, reading, writing, movies, parties, napping, chocolate, coffee, flea markets and junk-store “antiquing,” Gator football, daydreaming, doughnuts, Carolina Reaper peppers, racing through speed-trap towns, farting, fart-lighting, fart competitions in public places, farting the theme-song to Monday Night Football, explaining to the children in the family why Uncle Joe is a bad man for unremittingly farting at the annual reunion while my wife looks on scowling, sneaking in one last “squeaker” fart to make the kids giggle, and on and on and on….  There are many “guilty pleasures,” desires, indulgences and vices in my life that bring me great joy to consume and/or engage in.  But TEN HOURS of them?  Not this guy, thank you very much.

Game on?!

I don’t think so.

Hardcore gamer?  Screw that noise, my armchair-ninja friend!  I can think of much more productive and considerably more fun ways of getting Carpal Tunnel Syndrome than endless gaming.  I’ll take my Team Fortress 2, Five Nights at Freddy’s and COD in “Nazi zombies mode” in small doses, if you please.  Because I’m sorry, but the only vice you should be “hardcore” about is porn.


© 2015 Joseph P. Buonfiglio     All Rights Reserved.

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