Thursday, May 16, 2013

Love and Video Games

It's that time of year again. Spring is in the air, and sixth graders are turning into seventh graders, and then it is that their thoughts turn to thoughts of love. It also happens to be the time of year when I teach the elements of poetry.

Each year, I force (er, challenge) my sixth graders to participate in a contest wherein they must come up with the most original, never-before-used simile for love. The project begins with moans and groans, but in general the kids are completely immersed in the task within a few minutes, and I've had some truly glorious similes in the past.

My personal favorite remains:

That's a sixth grader for you.

They have to provide ten supporting arguments for how the two things are similar, and I've learned a good deal about love by reading some of their arguments. (It also makes me speculate, sometimes, on the nature of their parents' love lives.)

I always provide my own example, which is video games, because, well, video games are cool and so is love, and I know some kid would choose it if I didn't, and frankly, it's not original because Lana Del Rey's already used it.

So here it is, and it may cause you to speculate on my own love life, but nonetheless:
  1. In both love and video games, there are rules, but you generally have to play to figure out what they are and sometimes you never do.
  2. In either case, you can win even if you don't know the rules, and you can lose even if you know them very well.
  3. Whether playing video games or playing the field, you don't have to follow the rules to play, but if you break the rules too often, you might run out of people to play with.
  4. Some people become so obsessed with video games, it's all they think about. I don't think I need to explain that: stalker.  
  5. If you don't go outside and get a breath of fresh air every once in a while, both can give you a headache.   
  6. Video games have epic wins and epic fails. Love can be pretty epic, too. 
  7. You can buy video games new or used, they come in all kinds of conditions, but you can play them in most any condition (unless they've been used so roughly that they don't work anymore). First love is new, but usually people have other loves that follow that aren't new but still work out anyway. And some people have been hurt so badly that they don't know how to love anymore. 
  8. There's always another challenge in video games (but you keep playing because it's worth it when you win). Ditto, love. 
  9. Video games are built by other people before the player can use them, and those builders were influenced by video games that they've played. Of all the things that have changed about humans throughout our history, love has tended to stay pretty much the same; we've learned it by watching those who've loved before us. 
  10. There are many different types of video games: some are for thinkers, some are for adventurers, some are for fighters, but the best probably have many different facets. The greatest loves, the ones that you come back to over and over, are those that challenge and engage all of the parts of who you are.

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