Picking Up the Pieces

For some stupid reason, every morning before I go to work, I watch the news. It’s the local news, so all they talk about is who got murdered, what accidents happened and the stupid weather. But today, they were so excited because they discovered and overnight four-alarm apartment fire to feature as breaking news. They got the doofus that covers the local fun spots to report at the golf club shelter housing (probably because he wanted to golf afterwards) the now homeless people were staying. The “on-the-street-reporter” found the most awkward on camera people to ask really dumb questions to. Such gems like, “So, now that your apartment building burned down, what is next?” to which he gave the riveting answer of “I don’t know.”

“Now that your house burned down, what is next?”

I had a lot of questions too. Like “What is the difference between a four-alarm fire and a five-alarm fire?” But then I would probably look as stupid as the reporter because the answer is something like, “One more alarm.” Another question might be, “Is there anything else on the news we can talk about?”

The fun spot reporter talked to a girl at the golf club shelter and asked her if she had a place to stay while the apartment was being rebuilt. She said she had some friends or maybe her boss would let her stay with them. She was also giggling a little, because she said she couldn’t go to work that day, “because my computer was destroyed in the fire.” She sounded a little too excited about her building burning down because she had the excuse to not got to work. It almost made me think that she went Joker on the building just so she didn’t have to go to work. Come to think of it, she was cackling like the Joker and said stuff like, “It’s not about the money. It’s about sending a message. Everything burns!”

Everything burns.

It’s going to be really hard for these people to pick up the pieces. I just hope they don’t ask my son to help, because well, he isn’t even really good at picking up after himself. He will come home after a practice or school or church and leave a trail of clothes, bags, uniforms, water bottles, food wrappers and sports equipment all the way up to his room. If you were Sherlock Holmes and your case was to find the missing boy, he would have the case closed as soon as he showed up to our house. He wouldn’t even have to piece together clues. He would immediately to find him. The hard part for Holmes would be trying to dig him out from underneath the mountain of clothes, water bottles and food wrappers.

Can’t find the boy anywhere.

Not that I’m a big fan of picking up after myself. I play this video game called Gears of War. As you can imagine there are few guns and a bit of killing, because of title of the game. In one of the modes called Horde mode, you are tasked to hold the fort against 12 or 50 waves of progressively stronger bad guys. In order to take on stronger guys you need to level up yourself, and your fortifications. In previous games, you would earn money in order to buy the fortifications you needed to stop or slow them down. Since logic says that the bad guys weren’t just going to give you money after you killed them and it never showed you searching their pockets, they had a hard time explaining how this money just appeared in your bank account.

In the newer games your currency isn’t money, but power. If politicians have taught us anything, it’s that there are only two things worth pursuing in the world: Money and power. Since they didn’t want to use money, they went with power. Not political power, but actual power. Apparently when these bad guys died, power just pops right out of them and you can take that power and deposit it into a fabricator, which is a powerful 3D printer. It can make more powerful 3D printed guns, electric fences, turrets and even decoys that dumb bad guys will attack instead of you. Here’s the problem with the power.

You have to pick it up yourself. Say you have a longshot with a scope, and you are a really good shot. If you hit a guy from a thousand yards right between the eyes, you got him. But then he leaves his power right where he dies. That means you have to run a thousand yards just to go pick the power up. If you know anything about me, I’m lazy. Do you think that laziness doesn’t translate to my video game characters? Now, I have to trudge 1,000 digital yards across the screen to pick that power up. I’m not sure all the energy I used up to get across the screen is worth the little bit of power I earned from that guy. All of a sudden, the energy I used minus power received is a net negative. Especially when I have to run through a gauntlet of bad guys just to get there. It’s the same concept as running a marathon just so I can earn a participation ribbon.

How I get ready for marathons.

The effort I put into picking up all that power is similar to the effort my son places into picking up after himself.

That is not to say I don’t love this game. I’ve been playing it for 3 years now. I’m just saying that picking up after yourself sucks. My wife finally got one of those Roomba’s that is basically a circular robot that vacuums for you. She loves it except for the fact that we don’t really have any carpet, and she has to move all the furniture and close all the doors. If she doesn’t, Roomba might wander off and fall down the stairs into the basement or go outside for a long hike. And it doesn’t pick up clothes, shoes, helmets, or backpacks and hang them up. Or suck up candy bar wrappers and water bottles. I’m pretty sure Roomba will be the best-selling company in the world as soon as it teaches that thing to start picking up stuff and putting it away or hanging it up.

If we can have a Roomba vacuuming in our homes, I’m pretty sure that the Gears of War developers can create a Roomba-like robot digitally to fetch some energy for me, so I don’t have to face the gauntlet every time I need some 20 energy bucks to make better guns. I’ll even pay a few extra energy bucks to save my character a little running, developers.

Anything so I don’t have to pick up the pieces all the time. I would also appreciate the robot picking up all the pieces of the bitter messes I keep making in my life. Like those messy relationships I keep making. If it could start carrying some of my emotional baggage, and some of my shattered expectations, that would be great too.

Roomba’s would be much better if they could pick up my shattered expectations.


Bitter Picking Up the Pieces Ben

22 thoughts on “Picking Up the Pieces

  1. I watch the news for the weather which is always wrong and to verify that the Giants, Yankees & Rangers lost again because actually watching the games is too depressing. Roomba is nothing more than a kitty ride; it bumps into furniture like it’s drunk and gets stuck under the couch 75% of the time. I need Rosie from the Jetsons; at least she’ll clean my bathrooms and windows. Roomba goes around in circles on the floor like Curly from the Three Stooges. Nyuk nyuk nyuk.


  2. Meh. Expectations are overrated. Never expect anything from anyone but yourself, and life is merrier. 😊 But it would be awfully nice if the Roomba could scoop the cat litter boxes and sweep up these never-ending acorns out back.


Your Bitter Comments

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.