Friday, October 28, 2005
You’re not sure whether the happiest day of your life was when you received your first glimmer of positive feedback at work (be it but a mildly approving grunt) for well-aligned PowerPoint boxes, or when you found out you had Brick Breaker on your Blackberry—it’s probably the latter. The 34 levels of Arkanoid-style fun make an otherwise excruciating existence almost livable, each ricochet a mini-morphine injection that anesthetizes you from the seemingly endless onslaught of deadlines and profanity-laced orders.
You play it on the 4-5-6, sandwiched between two Hurley-size African-American Jews for Jesus that spray spit on you every time they say “Y’shua.” But you’re oblivious to them; you’re on level 34 for the 3rd time, and you’ve just absorbed the block that gives you guns. You jerk the paddle left and right while tapping away furiously, smiling wickedly as you madly mow down rows of blocks. The level is almost complete, but then, the subway lurches, causing the guy in front of you to lose his balance and knock your head with his hideous, earth-toned canvas messenger bag. You lose a life.
You glare at the perpetrator as if he’s just stolen your first-born. “I WILL TEAR YOUR EYES OUT OF YOUR SKULL,” you want to explode, fantasies of impressing your MD (who actively advertises the fact that he has beat the game 4 times in a row) disintegrating like broken brick. But despite all your rage, all the timid, suburban badass in you can muster is a “Jeez man, I was playing a game.” Your nemesis looks at you, feigning momentary empathy, and then scoffs and returns to discussing the “amazing acoustic encore” at the Death Cab for Cutie concert last night (you’ll look them up on iTunes later).
“Who the hell wears a going-out shirt to work anyway?” you fume. You want to rip off the magic eye patterned button-down and hold it hostage until he recognizes the magnitude of Brick Breaker. You want him to understand the beauty and complexity, the importance of even the slightest angles. “Advertising intern bitch,” you think to yourself, comforted by the thought of him awkwardly balancing a tray of coffee for a roomful of high-strung, over-the-hill nouveau riche yuppies. “Wannabe baller. Probably lives off his parents,” you assure yourself, forgetting that this was you up until about 2 months ago when the bonus check came in.
But more vexing than anything is that you realize that the pansy actually looks happy to be going to work. “What the heck? Who likes going to work?” you contemplate, confused. “Did I make the wrong decision going into finance?” You pause and ponder, glad Brick Breaker gives you a short respite between lives. After a moment of deep reflection, you nearly burst out loud laughing at your idiocy, tickled silly by the image of yourself living on $35,000 a year in some outer borough with minorities. You collect yourself, reasserted, brush off your pants and fondly pinch-sharpen the creases, and make a mental note to send your impeccable resume to Ogilvy & Mather (just so you can reject them).
You play the beloved Break Bricker throughout the day whenever the opportunity arises. You play it during conference calls, half-listening for the right moments to grunt in-between dexterous thumb movements. You play it in the company of peers and the few green enough to be below you, deftly pulling the device from its cozy nook in the small of your back, brandishing it to clarify that you would never deign to give them your undivided attention. And you, of course, play it in the bathroom, often taking unneeded shit breaks and extending the quick ones just to relish in sweet mix of cool porcelain, The Game, and the smell of your own byproduct.
After work, you and your colleagues play it at Sutton Place, intermittently glancing up to check out hot girls. You go home and play it when you’re talking to your parents, friends, and girlfriend. You conduct standard bullshit conversation: “Yeah, work’s fine.” “I’m really jammed up this week.” “My boss is an ass (but I really respect him).” You make noises as if you acknowledge their comments, but you don’t hear their cries of frustration with your stale conversation, poor social skills, and increasingly uninteresting overall personality. You don’t hear your parents asking you to visit sometime. You don’t hear your girlfriend saying she needs more attention. You don’t even hear yourself anymore because all you can focus on is calculating the perfect trajectory to destroy that last bastard block so you can move on to the next level. To hell with them, anyway. You wonder if the version on the black Blackberries is even harder. You’ll find out soon.