Smile and Nod

Smile and Nod: I'm No Rosa Parks

Russ Pitts | 7 Jul 2008 21:00
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Thinking about it, I suppose, I owe Bobby more than I realize. My acting led to filmmaking which led to my current career. I wouldn't be where I am if it weren't for glasses-breaking Bobby. I would also, in some ways, be happier.

***

After brunch, my wife and I headed to Blockbuster, where things got even more intense. The sales clerk asked the dreaded question, the question I don't even ask myself: "Are you guys gamers?" he asked. He just spat it right out there. Not "Do you play games?" but "are you gamers?" I didn't know quite what to say. I went looking for something to hide behind.

We were there renting movies. A lot of movies. Perhaps that was what tipped him off to the fact that we didn't get out much. I wanted to say: "Gamer? Me? No, sir. Not really. I do...dabble... a bit, but I'm not a 'gamer' per se..." Backpedal, backpedal. Instead, I said nothing.

Turns out the clerk was trying to turn us on to Blockbuster's new rental policies and game pre-order services, both of which would, in fact, have been of use to us if we didn't mainline the damn things, getting most of our games direct from the publisher. We smiled, nodded and tried to be encouraging. You don't get that kind of service often, and the next person may appreciate it. Perfectly harmless, but I was aghast. How many times in one day must one face one's own hidden vulnerabilities?

More than twice, apparently. It came up again at the Best Buy. I was shopping for a new controller for my Xbox 360. My hope when shopping for things of that nature is to wander into one of the larger stores where no one will really pay attention to me; just another old dude looking for game stuff. I purposefully avoid the smaller store where my wife is frequently recognized, and where I may be as well. I just don't need the hassle.

Best Buy, I think, is safe. Think again. They have apparently begun hiring people persons at Best Buy. The guy in the game section was especially friendly. He wanted to help us find everything, so I left him and my wife to discuss the pros and cons of the PS3 remote control device while I wandered over to peruse the 360 controllers. I picked up a Halo-branded controller, just to look at it, and around the corner comes Mr. Dude.

"I can give you 30 percent off on that," he said, and I froze. Being considered a gamer is bad enough. Being considered a Halo fanboy would be deadly to my ego. And yet, at 30 percent off, the Halo controller was well under the cost of the normal version. Dammit, he'd found my weak spot. I sheepishly handed it over and he dragged yet another person into the chain of shame to acquire the discount code. Then we marched up to the counter, where still another person was invited into my horror. This time, a young lady.

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