Various Happenstances of Seth

March 5, 2006

   I'm sure you've heard the old saying "When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.*" I'd like to postulate that even if you don't have a hammer, if you spend 10 hours with a hammer simulator, everything still looks like a nail. And this is why I tend to view life as very similar to X, where X is whatever game I've played far too much of recently. Puerto Rico, D&D, Ham and Cheese -- these are all good analogies for life. So given that I accidentally played a dozen hours of Magic: The Gathering this weekend, you might guess what game I've most recently compared life to.

   And you'd be wrong.

   I have certainly compared life to MtG in the past**, but my latest mental connection was none other than the popular video game Katamari Damacy. For the two of you unfamiliar with this delightfully addictive little game, you control a tiny creature pushing around a sticky-ball that picks up everything smaller than it is. As the size of the ball expands due to the items it has collected, it can pick up bigger and bigger objects, and the scale of the game changes entirely although the experience stays very similar. And I think this is a lot like life.

   To wit, when we are toddlers, our problems are very small -- we are out of juice or want a cookie or dropped the teddy bear. When we become young kids, our problems get bigger -- a science test, a party we want to go to. And we look back at the previous problems as trivial. As we continue to age, the problems continue to grow in size, with housing and debts and seeking a career. And at each step of the way, our problems of the present loom large, while the problems of yesteryear seem small. And they are small now, but back then, they were the same relative size.

   I'm not sure what the lesson is to be learned here, unless I can increase my katamari size*** to make all my problems small in comparison. But I feel that somehow, it's an important insight nonetheless.

   Lest you worry that I've become too serious, I am glad (or possibly nervous) to announce my stand-up comedy debut in just two and a half weeks. I will be performing in Dayton, OH, for seven minutes as part of the annual Erma Bombeck Memorial Humor Writers Conference. If I survive, I'll tell you how it went.

   If you'd like to see a show with a little more planning behind it, an old friend of mine has a new musical out, based on Milton's Paradise Lost. The two of us wrote a musical together while we were still in college, but even though I didn't help with this one, I can confirm that it is worth your while. In addition to powerful original music, complex lyrical harmonies, strong singing voices, and sexy costuming, this musical has that special extra something that makes it truly compelling: Beelzebub played by a guy who looks exactly like Steve Buscemi. You have until March 18th to get to New York and see Paradise Lost: The Musical.

   Trust me, like Katamari Damacy, you'll have a ball.



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*Even if you hadn't heard it before, you've heard it now.

**There's far too much diseased detail to go into here, but presume that mana sounds like money and you need them both to do things. And then start daydreaming about casting terror or unsummon on life's obstacles...

***Which really sounds like a spam email: "Increase your K@t@mari size! All natural!"

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