The Needles

The Needles
Boob Cards: An Adult Perspective

Andy Chalk | 11 Mar 2008 21:00
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It may relate to an idea that's been kicking around for awhile now about the increasing number of 20- and 30-somethings who are refusing to settle into a normal, grown-up life when they leave their teenage years behind: choosing a career, getting married, buying a house, having babies. Mostly commonly referred to as "delayed adulthood," the theory is that, for a number of reasons - social, economic, even psychological - people are taking much longer to embrace their destinies as adults. Whereas in the past, an almost obligatory entry into adulthood would take place at 20 or 21 years, both men and women in contemporary society are now far more likely to put off those commitments until much later in life. And the corollary of this behavior, of course, is an embrace of adolescence well past the adolescent years.

I'm not sure how much credence I'm willing to assign to the idea of shifts in societal norms as individual abdications of responsibility, but I suspect there's a trace of this in everyone who calls him or herself a gamer. Videogames are by no means kids stuff, but at least a small part of the complex and deep-rooted motivations for playing them has to be a childlike desire to escape into the realms of the fantastic and impossible. Why else would a grown man with an education, a job and all the responsibilities of life want to take on the persona of a magic-wielding, sword-swinging, free-lovin' monster killer for hire?

And what of it? Maybe it's a problem; maybe as more and more man-children stumble into middle age, wholly unprepared for real life and the demands of a society that's tired of waiting for them to grow up, Western civilization will drift down into an accelerating spiral of soft, flabby indolence. The unprecedented levels of affluence we currently enjoy, for which the previous generations worked so hard, may ultimately prove to be our undoing as we let it all slip away like an empty-headed hotel heiress whose greatest claim to fame is her stultifying worthlessness.

Or maybe it's just a different way of doing what we've always done. When someone can adequately explain to me the difference between getting together with friends for a few rounds of Team Fortress 2, and getting together with friends to swill beer and scream at a football game on the television, I may allow myself some concern. Because while individual brands of escapism may evolve, be they books, videogames or the endless parade of drivel emanating from the T.V. set, the forces that drive us to them do not. Setting aside our adult foibles every now and then so we can duck out back for a few minutes of fun is hardly a new concept.

A lot of people don't, and won't, get it. My girlfriend, for instance, who I suspect sees it all as amusingly deviant, has made it quite clear that any attempt to explain why I'm watching a computer game character get laid will only make things worse. And there's no question we could, should and eventually must elevate the "adult" content in our games to something beyond the current "Seymour Butts" level of cleverness. But what's really wrong with indulging the little teenage idiot inside each of us now and then? It's served us pretty well this far, giving rise to a multi-billion-dollar industry that's outstripping both television and movies as an entertainment medium. They say that youth is wasted on the young; I say that I'm old enough to know better but think boob cards are pretty cool anyway. And that's precisely the point: As the great Time Lord himself once said, "There's no point being grown-up if you can't be childish sometimes."

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