June 30th 2013 will be a day that will live in infamy. Unless I forget it. Wait...what I am writing about?
Lets set the scene. Close you eyes and you are almost there. Oh, close your eyes after you read these sentences and then you are almost there.
Living room. Leather Lazy Boy. Dog on the floor curled up like a funyuns (70s flashback) by the ac vent. The classic series Dora the Explorer episode is playing on the tv while two little adorable, with a sprinkle of "never know what they are going to do next" thrown in, children (in this case my granddaughters being 2 females one is in second grade and the other is in preschool), while they consume my world famous dish, and yes we have kept this receipe secret all these years, of 7 herbs and spices chicken with shells and cheese and coleslaw and biscuits and gravy. If you are thinking of the letters "K" then "F" then "C" even though you would be right shake your head left to right until you make believe I cooked this tasty dinner all by my lonesome.
After they ate dinner it was off to ride bicycles (yes Grandparents police we waited over 30 minutes after eating) until the humidity overtook us and everyone was as dry as those biscuits. The solution? AC + House + white paper+ crayons = enough time for me to clean the dishes. YES I am a man who does dishes (keep it between us please).
Before they completed working on their second pages of, what I thought would be, wonderful artwork they each showed me their completed artwork and it wasn't clouds, or rainbows but words written in large black marker.The oldest held hers up and it said we want ice cream" (by the second grader), with the second holding up her word (upside down but curiously similar to the handwriting of her older sister) that simply said "now". What? "Now". Demanding preschooler I thought. I thought about confronting this beautiful child but I backed down when she held up her written demand and pointed, with her index finger, to the NOW written in black maker. It was an OK Coral moment and I wasn't Wyatt Earp…she was and her eyes never flinched. To stand my ground I did what any self respecting man would do. I cheerfully, yet loudly, raised my voice from a tone similar to Minnie mouse to a baritone (think Barry White) and said "in cones or cups"?
After the ice cream covered faces, hands, arms, shirts, and even on still laying down dog (how does ice cream get into a dogs ears exactly?) we washed and dried I was treated to brief hugs followed by "can I play on your tablet Grandpa"? As I looked at her but her words came out in slo-mo as her eyes seemed to grown large like the digitally enhanced cute puppy pictures on the internet (Disclaimer - I was shown these type of photos and I did not search for them. If you don't believe that then ask the NSA or Google as they are watching us all 24/7). Response was YES with hugs all around.
She went to play her favorite tablet game aka: Subway Surfers while her younger sister went back to help Dora find the map. I know this because she uses her fingers, and her voice, to guide Dora throughout the episodes. After about 10 minutes the oldest said "Grandpa can I play Candy Crush". Since I am on the cutting edge of what's happening now, and what is cool and trending, I confidently said " I don't have that board game". No response. Hands to hips. Head cocked. Eyes rolled.
Before I would let her play I asked her to explain the game. Here is her response "Grandpa you just gather up the colored and then sometimes the same colored blow up the other colored and then you collect all the jelly". AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
What kind of pre civil-rights racist violent game is this? My Lord why is this game even known about and now Google and the NSA have linked me to this game. Visual images of the segregated south in the early 1900′s combined with jars of Welches (pick your own favorite - my mind went to Apple jelly) occupied by mind.
Without researching this game I said to her "no way this is a terrible game". She said "Grandpa you don't understand because you were born before colors". WHAT? Colors? What are they teaching in these schools these days?
To my grandaughter I responded by saying "what are you talking about"?. Did you eat too much ice cream? No response. Must be ice water in her veins unyielding to my superior intellect tactics. After a silence stand off she said "Grandpa its a fun game but you don't know anything about it because you were born before colors were invented"? To myself I thought that either this was going to be a very deep conversation or someone was going to be bribed with another cone.
I asked her to explain. She calmly changed the channel from Dora, which caused her younger sister to go airborne in a move to defend Dora and the monkey (another time and another story), to Turner classic movies where a John Garfield movie was on. Two thoughts. One was how did she know the channel for Turner classic movies and two was "am I getting this remote back"?
She pointed at the screen and then to me and said "see Grandpa?". See what? She said "there are no colors and this is when you got married to Grandma Jenn". I responded with "this movie was made about 50 years before we were married and about twenty years before I was born". The sound you are hearing similar to a swish is my words going over her second grade head.
I recovered and said "those are just movies and they were filmed in black and white". Told ya she said. No colors.
Tactic change. From the computer I went and goggled, using in private browsing (score one for me GOOGLE), searched "Candy Crush Saga". Millions of pages. Went through 2 of them and all seemed well.
I downloaded the game onto my tablet and told her it was all right to play but she had to use one of my headphones.
At every successful level she brought me the tablet to show me her success. She enjoyed the game.
Fast-forward an hour and it was time for their bed. After reading them a few stories they were out for the count. As I picked up around the room, set the night lights, I made a crucial mistake that would haunt me up until the writing of these words.
Looking back was it my removing the headphones? Was it the music calling me? Was it the brightly colored candies asking to be together as a digital family? Or was it the voice over reminiscent of a 1970s "innuendo/exploitation film". Keep it G rated folks. Thanks.
Whatever it was I started to play little knowing that I would rue the day.
The first 5 levels were a learning curve.
The next 5 levels brought on the urge to buy credits.
The next 5 levels were semi-rewarding and I convinced myself that I had mastered this game.
The next 5 levels, which took about a day, destroyed my previous statement and mindset that I had mastered anything. Thankfully I was a loser hidden from the shame that the world would bestow knowing that a grown man was stumped at -- -- -- (note: I didn't type the letters/words of this game because this story is just between you and me).
With each passing level brightly lit candies moved, exploded, changed into other candies, and even taunted me by their inability to go into groups of 3 (or 4 and even the joyous 5). Oh how I wanted the curved candies to join up with the multicolored disco ball (i.e. doughnut) and clear away all the candies. One can only dream of such things.
Level 30. Level 30. Level 30. It has been about 2 weeks since I first laid eyes on level 30. I am still on level 30. I think I could have 5000 "lives" (instead of the 5 you start out with) and then you have to wait - how cruel - to get new lives unless you pay money to continue the game and though it is tempting I will conquer these jelly's and move the fruits without spending one cent even if it means spending weeks to conquer.
Just last night I had cleared 5 of the 6 fruits and I had 24 moves (note: you start out with 60 on this "level 30″) and I felt like I was close to equaling Albert Einstein's contributions to science as this game was equally as complicated as E=MC squared. He came up with five simple symbols versus me combining shapes and colors of all kinds and getting them to the bottom of my 9 inch tablet or clearing all the jellies while wearing my "at home not cool but functional" reading glasses. How hard was E-MC squared to Level 30? Discuss amongst yourselves and the correct spelling of my last name is S C H R E M B S in case I get past Level 30 and you feel like nominating me for the Nobel Prize for my accomplishment.
Well folks I have to go for now as the draw of Candy Crush Saga is too strong (think of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and replace that ugly orange eye with Candy Crush Saga and replace Frodo/Bilbo with little ole me (think a combination of James Bond + Brad Pitt + James Dean + Tom Jones + Michelangelo + Elvis in 1969 + Ghandi + Martin Luther King Jr. + Jim Thorpe (I'll wait while you Google these names so that you have an accurate sense of who I am) and then take out Jim Thorpe, Martin Luther King Jr., Ghandi, Elvis in 1969, Michelangelo, Tom Jones, James Dean, Brad Pitt, and James Bond) and there you are left with me.
Later today, after psyching myself up, I will attempt again to slay the Candy Crush Saga. It will be a lonely quest. Full of anxiety, thrills, and frustration. I go this road alone. It may be dangerous but I will be guided by my inner truth that if my grand daughter can master this level before the first commercial of "Dog with a blog" that I can clear all the fruit on Level 29 before the end of this decade.
To be continued….