It wasn’t my fault. I’d merely been trying to improve my intelligence by playing Words with Friends and Scrabble on Facebook when this pesky video clip kept popping up, previewing a particularly inane game called Bubble Safari.
The little clip showed a monkey jumping around hysterically and the boys, who cling to my side like velcro whenever I so much as look at the computer, were desperate to play it. ‘Play the monkey game,’ they begged me. And I kept saying no because the last thing anyone in this house needs is an excuse to spend more time in front of a computer.
But one afternoon, three weeks ago, I caved and let the boys play. And then I played a game just to show them how it was done. And……three week later, it’s safe to say I might have written a novel or at least a decent short story with all the time I’ve logged playing Bubble Safari.
Moderation (in anything except exercise) is not my strong suit. I can’t eat ‘just one’ cookie. And I can’t play ‘just one’ game of Bubble Safari. Or Bejeweled Blitz.
It has gotten so bad that the boys, upon hearing the tell-tale monkey laughter signaling the start of a game, run to the computer immediately from wherever they happen to be. Abandoning whatever task they may have busied themselves with up to that point.
Today the boys were playing outside, and I – naively – thought I it was safe to play a game [or five]. But as soon as that monkey giggled, the screen door opened and slammed shut and three boys raced to my side. ‘Mom’s playing Bubble Monkey!’ they yelled to each other.
If it weren’t such a pathetic waste of time, it would be rather adorable. Because they sit as close as humanly possible to me and take turns offering feedback. ‘Shoot here,’ the Gort yells impatiently – pointing to the row of bubbles on the screen. ‘Don’t shoot the coin bubbles!’ Percy, the two year old, barks with a pacifier in his mouth. Because he’s heard his brothers use that phrase a thousand times. Along with ‘Spin! Spin!’ When it’s time to spin for my special reward bubble. ‘Good job!’ the Hen might crow enthusiastically, alternated with his oft-uttered phrase: ‘I don’t think you’re going to win.’
‘You’re probably right,’ I sigh. Defeated, again, by an overabundance of colored bubbles and the conspicuous absence of ammunition. ‘That’s okay, you can try again,’ the Gort attempts to placate my bruised ego. An effort I find both sweet and highly condescending.
I have visions of him using the same syrupy voice whilst telling me to ‘take one more bite’ of my applesauce when I’m in a nursing home somewhere.
My addiction reached the point where I’d expend all my monkey’s energy and then log on to the professor’s account so I could play a little longer. The boys caught on to this trick right away. ‘Log onto dad’s account!’ they began shouting as soon as my 15 units of energy were expended.
And just when I thought the game situation couldn’t get any worse, the professor started playing too. I knew it was a bad situation when we holed up in the basement late one night, playing Bubble Safari on our respective computers. Fueled by the element of spousal competition.
Though he may be killing me in the much-more-cerebral-Scrabble, I am proud to say that I am the superior Bubble Safari player.
Perhaps I should add it to my resume.
But all ‘good’ things must come to an end and so, it seems, must my Bubble Safari days. Starting….tomorrow…..I’m deactivating the application.